Legends of Carman
Updated: Jul 17
By B&W Staff, with contributions from Jordan Narin and Sophie Bridges
Carman Hall has long been known as Columbia’s first-year party dorm—it even inspired an ode-like song to its “joyful depravity” from the Spectator. Curious to probe past the limited reach of our collective institutional memory, The Blue and White delved into the depths of Carman lore and returned with many a story, from bodies in carpets to elevator fires to mysterious drawer punch. Carman may look like a prison, but you can’t say it’s boring.
In the spring of 2014, one resident decided to DIY an actual bar (from Craigslist) in his Carman dingle. He then inaugurated the bar with a massive paint party, for which he was dubbed “a hero” and “an alcoholic” in the same Bwog comment thread.
Someone smashed every exit sign during Bacchanal.
An RA, apparently at the end of their rope, ordered students to come up with designs for flyers instructing people not to smash ceiling tiles after said students smashed most of the ceiling tiles.
In the middle of winter 1984, three Carman boys found a rug on the street and dragged it back to their cinderblock abode. When they moved the rug vertically to fit into the elevator, two boots popped out of the bottom. Upon arriving at their residence on the 8th floor, they began to unroll the rug (at which point they noticed some blood), and discovered a body and called the cops.
Overheard at a Phi Epsilon Pi reunion: “This would have been 1980, in room 303—our suite was Art Garfunkel’s old one. Across the street, we were level with the tops of all the fraternities. When they had their pledge weeks it got kind of irritating—all these idiots, me included, did it at one point. We finally had had enough—and one of our good buddies on the floor was pledging Fiji, and they were doing something on the roof and shooting off bottle rockets. We went out, got a bunch of bottle rockets, aimed them at Fiji, and started shooting at these guys on the roof. They got mad and started shooting back. I mean, it was a mess…we were handing out the window, and people were being hit! So the police came. We all just sat there, and the cops—when I think about it now, being older, the firemen, cops, walked on the floor, saw just young kids, and were like, in a disappointed voice, “guys, what are you doing?” And we were like, “smoking?” So anyway, we were all threatened with being evicted and all that stuff. Everybody kind of loved, so…it was like a bad old Western. We eventually ran out of ammunition and beer.”
For a blackout Halloween party, a few residents unscrewed all the lightbulbs in the hall, put strobe lights in, and made punch in the stackable drawers.
Two football players kept a running tally of their hookups on their bedframe. The residents who lived in the room next year were appalled and tipped it to Bwog.
Fearing the dreaded airport baggage fees, one student decided to forego Manhattan Mini Storage and instead utilize Carman’s ceiling for a summer. He returned for the following semester and found that most of his things were still there.
A student threw up in the first floor lactation room.
In 1984, with finals insanity closing in, one student couldn’t take the pressure and poured lighter fluid on a couch and set it on fire in the service elevator. Then he pressed all of the buttons so that the flames would appear on every floor. He then ran to the 13th floor to admire his work but was badly burned when the doors opened. A resident of the floor saw him and carried him down to the lobby, only to find out that the man in his arms was the one who started the fire.