A Window Into the Past: NYU in Retrospect
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Resident Life

With the exception of the Heights campus, NYU was, until recently, a commuter school. Though earliest evidence of university housing is an 1840 list of six students residing in the old University Building on Washington Square, the development of student housing at Washington Square soared with the sale of University Heights.

When the University Heights campus was acquired in 1891, housing for the students in that area became a necessity. Students at the Heights soon had the option of living in Gould Hall, Charles Butler Hall, or “table board” with private families in the area. Because only men attended the Heights campus at this time, these dorms were entirely male.

Despite the fact that women had been attending the Washington Square campus of NYU since 1873, NYU did not house women until the establishment of Judson Hall in 1934. Previously women had lived at home or in the boarding houses near on or around the Square. Similarly, men at the Washington Square campus during this time resided in the Varick dormitory, on Varick and Dominick Streets, or in private residences.

The dormitories at NYU remained segregated by sex until 1963, when Weinstein Hall on the Washington Square campus and Silver Hill at the Heights campus became the first co-ed dormitories. However, each dorm had separate wings for men and women as well as strict rules regarding visiting hours.

While the dorms of times past included steam heat and open fireplaces, residence halls today include internet and ethernet connections. Presently, NYU houses almost 10,000 residents.

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