I'm living in a furnished UAH apartment on 115th with 2 other 1L's
Location and Security: If security is your thing, 115th is probably much safer than anything elsewhere with a doorman. From the moment I walk out the door I'm within earshot of campus police, if I'm going to the subway or CLS after a few seconds of walking you'll be within eyeshot of campus police and you'll be that way for the rest of your very short trip. Given the weird hours that I study I'd much rather take this setup over having to walk a few blocks where a doorman is going to be irrelevant.
Either way, the neighborhood is extremely safe and I've never felt like I was in any danger. New York is one of the safest big cities in the US and this neighborhood is no exception. We've had a couple muggings (people getting their stuff grabbed or being pushed over and pockets emptied, but nothing extremely serious as far I can remember) but those were also in Undergrad territory. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/publicsafety ... urrent.pdf
Accommodations: Pretty bare. It depends on what you're used to. I'm pretty insensitive to this kind of stuff so it doesn't bother me, but here's what stands out-
- No dishwasher, one medium sink for storing 3 people's dirty dishes
- Relatively modern gas oven and stove
- Standard fridge + Freezer, decent amount of space
- Bathroom is a little scrappy, paint is chipping on the ceiling and upper walls
- Kitchen has lots of cabinets but surface space is lacking for 3 people
- Living room is underutilized, it's just a bunch of what looks like old library furniture. Going to take some effort to make this room more than a watering hole
- Not exactly the world's best soundproofing
- Hard floors get dirty easily
- NO AC
- Radiators can be a little fickle, sometimes you need to bundle up when it gets cold and other times you wonder if they are going for a sauna effect
- View of an alley (at least it's just some chairs and potted plants down there, not an eyesore at least)
- No doorstop, I've got a beautiful dent in my wall from where the doorknob hit the wall after I opened to door quickly
- Mattress is twin-sized and firm, they appeared to do a good job of cleaning the place when I moved in so I doubt the mattresses are festering with anything, mine was fine (no stains/smells) and that's what mattress pads and bed sheets for right?
- Room furnishing for us were:
- Metal bed frame
- Spring Mattress
- Light wooden drawer
- Light wooden desk with 4 drawers and 'desk light', 2 shelves and generally good surface space
- Mirror on closet door
- Decent sized closet with shelf space
- Overhead fluorescent light
It is $1132 a month with all expenses, even internet, included. If you aren't sensitive and want the economical choice then it's really hard to complain about what you get on 115th IMO, the worst part is the lack of AC in August and half of September for 1L's but the problem can be mitigated with a fan or solved with a window AC unit, which you can easily afford with all the money you'll be saving over the other options UAH offers. The toughest part is justifying a window AC when it will only be running for a month, and you might not be staying for the summer.
Just to give a counter-point to the poster above, I would not have picked differently if I were given the choice again. It's hard to compare what kind of "premium" you might pay for the furnishing, but for an apartment share - unfurnished options are more limited and the website indicated that utilities might not be included in the rent. So unless I had clear info that unfurnished always led to better, cheaper options I would still have chosen furnished. Move-in dates are also a big issue. If you move in within the first 2 weeks of August, you will probably have plenty of time on your hands to get settled in and buy furniture for an unfurnished place. On the other hand I moved in like 2 days before official orientation events started and I have a pragmatic attitude about furniture, it was so nice having my entire move-in consist of ordering things on Amazon 2 days before the move-in, and being completely "settled" after a couple hours.
Plus if I need to move out for the summer, all I need to store is bed sheets, pillows, towels, kitchenware, and a printer. I've "furnished" apartments before and you can't bank on having a roommate get there earlier/shelling out for a nice living room. Furnished apartments on 115th cost "an average" of $7 more per month. That's about $70 for a bed-frame, mattress, desk, drawer, chairs, and the previously described kick-ass living room chairs/couch/tables. Some people will love it/hate it, but I've done my best to give you more info to make that judgment on.
Since my options this morning were Conlaw reading or distracting myself with this topic, I even went all out and threw in my floor plan and an amazing high-res video of our living room/kitchen/bedroom. I can appreciate your situation since I had almost no info when I made my choice of living arrangements, so I hope this helps:
Tour of the living room/kitchen/bedroom:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-ozyeJbuMM