New York University freshman Mira Fink’s dorm room far exceeded her expectations.
Her single in a suite looks directly onto Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park, NYU’s de facto quad that’s frequented by jazz ensembles, chess players, tourists and New Yorkers of all stripes. In short, it’s a lush and lively view for which many can — and do — shell out big bucks but, with luck on her side, Fink gets to enjoy it for the standard cost of living in the dorm.
“Going in, I didn’t know what my view would be, and when I saw it, my first thought was that it looked like something out of a magazine,” says Fink, a native of the DC suburbs. The 18-year-old’s single runs $8,995 per semester.
Last month, on move-in day, Fink joined the league of lucky students past and present — this writer included — with New York dorm room views that dazzle. The downside? After graduation from student housing, these views are nowhere near affordable.
“It’s definitely not cheap to rent apartments with these views,” says Aaron Ghitelman, of home search platform Localize.city. “These students certainly are getting deals. After analyzing the listings on Localize.city, it’s clear on the open market they’d need to pay more than $3,000 a month for a studio or one-bedroom that compares.”
So, kids, here’s the lesson: look up from your books and appreciate your luck.
Lindsey Fritz, sophomore at Fordham University
When Fordham University sophomore Lindsey Fritz first stepped into her Lincoln Center dorm room, she instantly felt at home. Fritz was moving into the freshman dorm McKeon Hall for the second year in a row — this time as a resident advisor — but it was more than just the familiarity of place that made the 19-year-old feel so comfortable. Fritz lives in a single whose window offers a glimpse over Lincoln Center, a view that she says fills her with hope and brings back fond memories of childhood trips to the ballet from her hometown of Cromwell, Conn.
“Looking at Lincoln Center is inspiring to me. It makes me want to do better, be better,” says Fritz, a communications and culture major. She often sits on her bed, forehead pressed flush against the tall windows, and watches the ballet students float in and out of classes below. She’s also seen American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland pass through its plaza from her perch.
McKeon Hall, which opened in 2014, is the newest addition to Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. The academic building is topped by 12 residential floors open to 450 first-year students whose lodging and meal plan run between $8,005 and $9,835 per semester. The residence hall features free laundry, many lounges and, perhaps most crucially to those new to New York winters, an underground tunnel that connects the several campus buildings.
Fritz says she’ll often send photos of the view from her room to her parents in Connecticut, who are quick to send back a photo of suburban life with the note, “Same view here.” But of course, that isn’t true.
Stephany Levi, freshman at New York University
Incoming NYU freshmen have long coveted an assignment in Lipton Hall, the recently renamed first-year dorm that fronts Washington Square Park West at Washington Place. It isn’t just the 700-person dorm’s Greenwich Village location — a quick walk from most classes — or its vegetarian- and vegan-focused dining hall that excites the newest coeds: It’s also the pleasure of having a room that peers over the buzzy park or the famed Manhattan skyline.
Stephany Levi and Ishi Gupta, 18-year-old freshman roommates who arrived in the city on Aug. 25, immediately delighted in the view from their ninth-floor accommodations. Their room, one in a three-room suite, faces north to Midtown’s sky-scraping skyline; a window frames the Empire State Building. “I wasn’t expecting much for a dorm, but how much better could it get?” says Levi, a musical theater major from Tampa, Fla. “Some people pay thousands and thousands of dollars every month to get this view.”
To live in the building, which was partially built in the early 1930s as the Holley Chambers Hotel and converted into a dorm by NYU in the 1950s, students pay between $6,694 and $7,532 per semester depending on the assigned room, which ranges from private rooms to suites or studios shared by two or more freshmen.
“People come here from all over the world to see the Empire State Building, and that we get to wake up to it every morning is special,” says Gupta, of Old Bridge, NJ, who is studying politics and philosophy. She adds that the view stokes her sense of what she feels is possible now that she’s a New York resident: “Right now, everything feels so alive and exciting and vibrant and new!”
Sam Melvin, graduate student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
When Sam Melvin was an undergraduate in Michigan, she hung a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge on her wall. Now as a graduate student living in its namesake borough, she sees the iconic span every day from her ninth-floor window.
The 23-year-old is a resident of Educational Housing Services’ St. George Towers in Brooklyn Heights. It’s the latest iteration of the famed Hotel St. George, once the largest hotel in New York City with sections that date back to the 1800s. The building on Hicks Street now houses some 1,400 students and interns enrolled in schools across the city, from John Jay College — where Melvin is pursuing a master’s in criminal justice — to the Parsons School of Design.
Living at St. George Towers runs residents between $6,300 and $10,000 during this fall’s semester depending on room size. The fees include access to a series of poshly designed common spaces, including a communal kitchen, a lounge with a pool table and a study room.
But only a few of the students living in the building have rooms that look out to an iconic city landmark. “I didn’t know you could live in student housing and have this kind of view,” she says. “I thought it was going to be more like a regular dorm, where I looked onto the back of a building.”
But her view is far from that — Melvin’s window overlooks the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and the Manhattan skyline from the Lower East Side clear to Midtown. Sometimes she sits at her desk and watches Brooklynites dine al fresco on their Dumbo rooftops. “I don’t even have to leave my room to feel like I’m in the midst of the city,” Melvin says.
Bre Taylor, senior at Pace University
Pace University’s upperclassmen dorm at 33 Beekman St. doesn’t even make a dent in the Financial District skyline when compared with its neighboring tall towers — but the 34-story dorm is the tallest student residential building in the country. And it comes with the coveted views to prove it.
Senior and resident assistant Bre Taylor lives in a single on the building’s 33rd floor that overlooks the South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, and the built-up Brooklyn waterfront. “I’m very lucky. I don’t know if I’ll ever be this lucky again,” Taylor, a 21-year-old communications major from Virginia, says. She’s spent hours watching traffic crawl over the bridges into King’s County, and once saw a marquee on the East River float by emblazoned with a marriage proposal.
The 760 students who live in the building pay between $8,850 and $10,500 per semester depending on room size, though most students live in doubles that run $9,380 per semester. When it comes to which story the students get to inhabit, those with seniority and higher grade point averages get to pick their rooms first.
“I think it’s really funny that people pay millions of dollars to live over here,” Taylor says of the Financial District, where she has resided since freshman year because it’s home to Pace’s campus. After graduation, when she hunts for her own apartment, Taylor says she’ll prioritize some of the amenities she’s become used to at 33 Beekman — like laundry — over a postcard-worthy vista. “As long as I can come home and enjoy myself, it really doesn’t matter to me,” she adds. Even so, Taylor says, “I try to soak it up.”