The last time I lived in a dorm was my first year of college, which was seven years ago, so my memory of dorm life is somewhat hazy in general, and I know nothing about whatever differences there may be between undergrad and grad dorms. Would you mind mentioning a few things you didn't like about dorms at NYU? I remember the no-alcohol policy was the main sticking point for me at 18, but I'm guessing that doesn't apply anymore. I've been living in the city for a number of years now, but I'm trying to weigh all my options.
So the "dorms" for LS students are apartment-style, and thus not really "dormy" in the way that you're probably thinking. Each apartment has a full kitchen (or what passes for a "full kitchen" in Manhattan) and what not.
I was in D'ag, and there were mostly minor issues I had, but these are the big ones:
-Temperature control. Both student housing buildings switch from cooling to heating back to cooling only once a year. As somebody who likes extremely cold environments (relative to the average), I was dying once the heating came on in the fall...and yet I know people who were essentially living in their jackets for two weeks beforehand because they were the opposite way. The heaters leak heat throughout the winter even if they're "off", so the 68-74 range really isn't where it ends up. On a related note, there are window stoppers and what not on the windows so that you can only crack the windows; even with my window fully open for days on end, I think I got the temperature in my room no lower than probably 65 or 66.
-Noise. This is less of a problem if you're in Mercer and face the courtyard, but the Village is kind of a popular area to be, especially at night, especially on MacDougal Street, which is one side of the block D'ag is in. Since I was facing a street, things like people playing the saxophone on the street would drift up, even if the windows were closed. It didn't bother me all that much in trying to sleep, but when it shows up on recordings you're making, it's kind of an issue. (This is compounded if you're trying to keep your window cracked for ventilation purposes above.)
-Other noise. If you're not in a studio, the doors in between the rooms are not altogether that great about blocking out sound. Even with my room door closed, I could still hear conversations he would be having on the phone. It's not that bad if both doors are closed, but if anybody's doing anything in the common area, for example, you're not going to not hear it. (This creates some obvious concerns.)
-Narrowing of universe. This is kind of to be expected for everyone come finals time, but it's very easy to not leave the bubble MacDougal and Thompson (or MacDougal and Broadway for Mercer people) once classes start up. I liked to go for nighttime wanderings and excursions, so I sort of forced myself to think outside the bubble, but I do know people who would literally not have been south of Houston or above 14th for stretches of weeks. (I became one of those this semester, but that was for other more terrible reasons.)
-Lack of community. This isn't so much a drawback as a lack of benefit that you might be expecting from living on campus, but I didn't know anybody on my floor (17 apartments) outside of my roommate until about November, and that was a kid who was in my section anyway.
Still, if you want to live close, it's probably a better deal than almost everything nearby, there's a doorman, an elevator, and you can wake up at 8:47 and still make your 9am classes with plenty of time to spare. (I became very good at this.) You're also right next to pretty much everything. The West Village is excellent. There's also a surprising amount of storage room in both Mercer and D'ag (space use is extremely efficient), so that is actually much less of a concern than you might imagine.
EDIT: Dorms are not dry dorms, for the record. If that were the case, this wouldn't be a real law school. Friend of mine had as many as 100 bottles of wine in his apartment last year, and I have no reason to think this year is different (he's still on campus).