New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Ranked: First-year residence halls

Rats and roaches and hospital lighting, oh my! It’s about time we dove into the good, the bad and the ugly of NYU’s first-year dorms.

First-year dorming at NYU is an experience. When you are just starting college and the entire city is deemed your campus, living in a building filled with hundreds of fellow NYU students can be comforting. Unfortunately, it is also far from glamorous. 

Though our experiences may be universal, unfortunately, our living arrangements are not. Be it their close proximity to campus, modern appliances or lively residential life, some dorms are simply better than others. So, it’s time we set the record straight on which first-year dorms are the best. 


11. Rubin Hall

The exterior of Rubin Hall from across the street.
(Sara Miranda for WSN)

NYU may finally be renovating Rubin Hall, but I am ranking it on its pre-renovation conditions. Let’s just say, it’s clear why it’s getting renovated. Rubin Hall pre-renovation can be described in only two words: no AC. I cannot imagine the horror of being a Rubin Hall resident on a scorching September day. Even though Rubin is only a few minutes away from Washington Square Park, one of the most cost-effective dorm options and known for its positive dorm culture, the lack of AC is a deal breaker. Thankfully, students will no longer have to endure what our Rubin Hall forefathers once did. 


10. Clark Street

Students doing work in a common area in Clark Street.
(Polina Buchak for WSN)

Getting a room at Clark Street is comparable to playing roulette. You could be placed in a single, double or triple, but you are more likely to be placed in a cramped triple. For this reason, Clark Street always seems to be second place to Othmer Hall, the other Brooklyn residence hall. The rooms themselves are middle of the road and classic suite style, which means no kitchen, and the neighborhood is lively, but somewhat out of the way. It also houses non-NYU students, and though some might see this as a negative, I’d say it is a welcomed change, because, let’s be honest, we NYU students can be annoying sometimes. 


9. Third Avenue North

The exterior of Third Avenue North.
(Manasa Gudavalli for WSN)

If you enjoy roaches, rats and random intruders you probably will love Third North. As a Third North resident, I honestly think this pest-infested dorm gets a bad rap. With apartment-style rooms, Third North tends to attract critters due to its kitchen space, but that hasn’t stopped it from being the party dorm. It has a dining hall, which makes a mean grilled cheese and has chocolate chip cookies, and there’s some of the nicest employees to brighten your day. It also gets some extra points for being home to the WSN office. 


8. Othmer Hall

A single dorm room with one bed, one couch, a chair and a dresser.
(Polina Buchak for WSN)

Othmer Hall is the ideal Brooklyn dorm. It is only a few hundred feet from campus, recently updated and offers spacious apartment-style rooms, with a kitchen and decent common area alongside some traditional suites. To be honest, I do not understand how first-year students in Brooklyn function without what seems like the millions of dining options available on the Manhattan campus, so a kitchen should be a must in every Brooklyn dorm. Overall, Othmer is not anything special, but definitely gets the job done being the only option for the Brooklyn campus.


7. Weinstein Hall

The exterior of Weinstein from across the street.
(Rachel Wu for WSN)

Equipped with not only one but two dining halls, as well as a stocked market, Weinstein Hall is easily the most convenient dorm on campus. Plus, it is only a few steps away from Washington Square Park. The trade-off to such a convenient location, though, is of course the rooms. Though spacious, the dorms are literally one sterile room and bathroom with cinderblock walls and very yellow lighting. If you can get past the hospital vibes though, Weinstein is not that bad. Every resident seems to know each other and the building is close to some well-known college bars, but that definitely doesn’t matter since you’re not 21, right?   


6. Palladium residence hall

The exterior of Palladium Hall, pictured next to Trader Joe’s.
(Max Lerner for WSN)

Palladium has it all: a great dining hall, delicious Sunday brunch, a gym and easy access to Trader Joe’s. What more could a person need? The rooms are apartment style and studio apartments are available, though you probably won’t be lucky enough to get one. The downside to this all-inclusive hall, though, would have to be the culture. 


5. Brittany Hall

The exterior of Brittany Hall from across the street.
(Qianshan Weng for WSN)

Brittany Hall is a dependable and classic college dorm. I would compare it to your unproblematic fave — it just exists and does its own thing. The bedrooms are spacious, especially the triples, though the common areas within the units are rather small. The hall is also recently renovated, meaning no atrocious popcorn ceilings or mold. The rooms, however, lack a full kitchen, which would be fine if it were not far from all the dining halls, which Brittany Hall unfortunately is. After a long day of mindlessly scrolling through TikTok in my bed, the idea of trekking to Weinstein or Third North in my pajama pants for a meal does not sound ideal. 


4. Lipton Hall

The exterior of Lipton Hall from across the street.
(Joshua Becker for WSN)

Living in Lipton Hall can be a toss-up, as you never know what rooming option you may end up with, but this dorm never falters when it comes to accessibility. Lipton has a dining hall, which as a first-year feels like a luxury, and is across the street from Washington Square Park, making class commutes a breeze. The rooms at Lipton are also surprisingly clean and huge, but the lack of a common area makes it almost impossible to have any personal space. But, maybe that forced proximity is why there is such a strong sense of community.


3. University Hall

A dorm room with two beds in University Hall.
(Viola Mai for WSN)

I would argue that UHall is the more loved and successful sibling of Third North. The rooms are apartment style and have been recently updated — plus the threat of critters is minimal. It also has True Burger, a dining location located in UHall itself, and its neighbor Palladium is home to one of NYU’s best dining halls. Though the buildings are about half a mile from Washington Square Park, UHall residents have to walk only a few hundred feet to access Chipotle, Trader Joe’s, Dunkin’, Joe’s Pizza and Target. I have no choice but to declare myself a UHall fan. 


2. Paulson Center residence hall

The exterior of the Paulson Center at night.
(Kevin Wu for WSN)

I doubt anyone would be surprised at the high placement of Paulson on this list. The residence hall was recently constructed and boasts huge rooms with tons of windows, letting in lots of natural light. Paulson residents can roll out of bed to get to their classes, lots of which are held in the building itself, or grab a quick meal. Still, this modern facility has some problems. When I first entered the hall, the lack of decor, color and overall personality made it feel drab. Paulson is also isolated from other dorms, sitting on the edge of campus with just about 400 first-year residents. Lastly, forget the gym — with the elevators’ snail-like paces, especially between classes, you’ll always have to take the stairs.


1. Founders Hall

The exterior of Founders Hall and the Founders Castle.
(Courtesy photo by Tayler MacMillan)

Though this may be a surprising take, I am convinced that Founders Hall has long been the best dorm, and now Paulson is attempting to steal its throne. But, we all know you can’t outdo the doer. Founders is modern, recently built and has very spacious bedrooms with natural light. Though it may be a 10-minute walk from Washington Square Park, the building is only a minute walk away from the Third North dining hall and close to both UHall and Palladium. What puts Founders Hall above Paulson for me, though, is vibes. Though modern, Founders still has personality and a fantastic dorm culture. I would love to live in a homey dorm with an entrance framed by a cool old-timey church, rather than a building that is sterile and prison-like. 

At the end of the day, all of the first-year dorming options have something unique and special to offer, and wherever you end up, you will certainly find a way to make it feel like home. Just limit the crumbs, lock your doors and you’ll be fine.

Contact Annie Emans at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Qianshan Weng
Qianshan Weng, Multimedia Editor
Qianshan Weng is a junior studying Media, Culture and Communication and Journalism. You may pronounce his name as "chi''en-shan", or, if it makes your life easier, just call him "Ben." He grew up in Shenzhen, China, and has spent the last five years or so saying that he wants to learn Cantonese. The answers to the questions "when will he finally start?" and "why is this taking him so long?" remain mysteries, even to himself. You can reach out to him at [email protected]
Viola Mai
Viola Mai, Video Editor
Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker, Under The Arch Editor
Joshua Plutchik is a junior at Gallatin pursuing the intersection of psychology and media, culture, and communication. He intends to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. Joshua is passionate about portrait and landscape photography and videography. In his free time, he also enjoys reading non-fiction, writing, being with friends, and watching movies. You can find him on Instagram @JoshuaPlutchik or view his website.
Kevin Wu
Kevin Wu, Digital Director
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu is a senior double-majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and Journalism. He directs everything digital at WSN. You can directly reach him digitally at [email protected].
Polina Buchak, Senior Multimedia Editor
Polina Buchak is the Senior Multimedia Editor at the Washington Square News. She is in Tandon and Tisch, following her passion in Filmmaking and Integrated Design Media. Born in Ukraine, raised in Nigeria, and educated in United Kingdom, she will never be able to answer exactly where she is from. If you are looking for her, she is either running around NYC finding stories that she can turn into short movies or simply enjoying a coffee catching up with her fashion bible Vogue. Follow her projects at
Manasa Gudavalli
Manasa Gudavalli, Editor-in-Chief
Manasa Gudavalli is a super senior studying a super strange combination of psychology, mathematics, journalism, and chemistry. When they are not editing the Washington Square News, they are probably reading Freud, watching college football, or developing film photos. You can find them on Instagram @manasa.gudavalli and
Sara Miranda
Sara Miranda, Under the Arch Multimedia Editor
Sara is a senior studying Media, Culture and Communication and Art History. When she's not taking photos around NYC or around the world, you can find her at an art museum or an Instagrammable foodie spot ... where she most likely will still be taking photos. To check out her travel photos and her favorite NYC moments, follow her on Instagram @saraaakellyy.

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