Seth Low Hall

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Residential Services

Office of Residential Services

Seth Low Hall

Seth Low is a friendly building with a long history of cooperation and sociability.  Customs started early on have turned into traditions, such as trick or treating (followed by a Halloween party in the lobby), Christmas caroling (followed by a holiday party in the lobby), and a start-of-the-semester party (which has been on hiatus; residents have hopes of reinstituting someday soon).

 The House Committee, revived in 2004, is a forum for residents of Seth Low.

It also serves as the collective tenant voice in relation to the Teachers College administration. When there are building-wide problems to discuss, the House Committee sends representatives to the TC administration to try to resolve matters. Issues are discussed at periodic meetings, and more frequently information is shared on the House Committee listserv, sethlow@topica.com.

 This brochure, in its original form, was put together by a group of House Committee members - Margaret Bates, Dick Covert, Angela Covert, and Robin Henig - to welcome new residents to the building, and to remind current residents about how the building operates and what resources exist at TC and in the neighborhood.  The Office of Residential Services updated the original guide to include more information on the operation of the building.

Seth Low was the mayor of Brooklyn at the time of New York City consolidation, and was also the president of Columbia University (and the namesake for Low Library). The outer doors of the building were made at Sing Sing, a notorious prison in upstate New York whose denizens included Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Some sources say the building dates to 1910, others say 1919. What's known for sure is that Teachers College acquired the building in 1919 from a firm named Falkenau and Hamershlag.

 

At first TC used Seth Low as a women's dormitory, with the three upper floors reserved for faculty apartments. Men were not allowed upstairs when Seth Low was a dorm. Instead, they were entertained in one of the reception rooms on the first floor (which are now the front apartments). At 11 p.m., the switchboard operator would come through the reception rooms, dangling his keys and· calling, "coming through." This was a signal for visitors to go home. All of the rooms on the first six floors, even today's kitchens, were used as bedrooms. Students had kitchen privileges in the basement, where stoves were located. During the dormitory days, TC provided bed linens and maid service.

October 31

Halloween party - you don't need to have kids, or to be a kid, to attend the party, and costumes are optional, but encouraged. A notice is distributed in the mail boxes for residents who wish to participate in trick or treating to post on their doors. After the children go up and down the stairs trick-or-treating (usually at about 6 to 7 pm), they meet in the lobby for a party. Residents are asked to bring refreshments or contribute cash for decorations and other party expenses.

 

Late December

Holiday party- residents gather in the lobby, which has been decorated with various religious and secular icons, for some communal singing and potluck snacks

Join the listserv - it's the best way to keep informed about building-wide issues, and to communicate with your neighbors about matters large and small. Send an email to sethlow-subscribe@topica.com, and ask to join the Seth Low listserv. For residents who don’t use the internet, volunteers put announcements of House Committee meetings on the bulletin boards on every floor near the elevator, and put other important notices into everyone's mailbox. However, the listserv is the quickest and most efficient way of hearing about House Committee activities and issues that affect the tenants.

Dewayne White, Director of Campus Services, is in charge of he Office of Residential Services which operates the Seth Low building.

Luis Calle, Assistant Manager - Housekeeping/Custodial Services, he has an office on the first floor of Seth Low, to the left of the elevators. You can also reach Luis at calle@tc.columbia.edu or 212-678-3116.

Seth Low staff is composed of two categories, porters and a handyperson.  They are responsible for the front desk operations, upkeep, cleanliness, and improvement of the public areas of the building and all minor repairs.

The Facilities Department maintains the mechanical systems (heating, plumbing, and electrical) both in the individual apartments and in the public areas.

The Seth Low staff is made up of the following people:

    • Mac Chandrapaul, who grew up in Guyana, and got married in New York in 1989, the same year he started working at Seth Low. Mac and his wife, who is also from Guyana, have two children.

 

    • Sam Horton III, who spent his early years in New York City, but graduated from high school in South Carolina. After a year of college, Sam returned to New York, and he began working at Seth Low in 2000. For anyone interested in the latest sports news, ask Sam.

 

    • Juan Pena has been with Teachers College since 2005, he was born and raised right in the neighborhood, Juan and his fiancée have a daughter in high school, and he has a large family- mother, father, grandmother, three aunts, three siblings who all live nearby.

 

    • Javier Pereira, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, resides in Manhattan with his two boys and his fiancé.

 

    • Andrew White was born in Jamaica and came to settle in the Bronx when he was 12 years old. He is married and has a daughter who attends Vassar College and still resides in the Bronx.

When residents submit maintenance requests, they are authorizing access to their units.  Residents desiring to be home for maintenance request, must indicate in the work request that they would like an appointment.  The work will be coordinated with residents and facilities personnel.   In the event of an emergency, the building staff will access the unit as needed without prior notice.

You may purchase your own window units for air conditioning. TC charges an additional $30 a month in rent for EACH window unit during June, July, August, and September. Building staff may not remove or install these units. You need to have them installed and removed by a licensed and insured company as units have been dropped out the windows in the past. 

The basement can be reached only through the elevator (there are no stairs).

Several carts are available in the lobby (under the stairway) for residents' use. They should be returned as soon as possible for others to use.

Food Deliveries:
Residents will be contacted by the staff when they have a food delivery.

Delivery personnel will never be allowed access to the elevator without prior approval from the resident.  

Packages and Non-food Deliveries:
As packages arrive, they are entered in the Package Received/Pickup Log.  A package slip(s) will be inside your mailbox to notify you that you received a package (i.e. Dry cleaners, UPS, FedEx, Flowers and Other Pick-ups). Residents must sign the Package Received/Pickup Log Book to pick up any package, and the packages may be given to any of the occupants in the apartment (i.e. it does not matter whether or not the package is addressed to them).

Fed Ex/UPS Pick-up:
Packages may be left at the desk for UPS to pick up.  Each resident who leaves boxes is responsible for weighing their boxes and leaving a sealed envelope containing the exact payment.  Boxes can be weighed at the Teachers College post office in the basement of Main Hall.  When UPS arrives the front desk staff will obtain a receipt to be placed in the resident’s mailbox.

If you do not have a dishwasher and would like one, send an email to housing@tc.columbia.edu, Teachers College will supply the dishwasher but the resident is responsible for all other costs associated with the install. Teachers College will get pricing from TC authorized vendors.   Portable dishwashers are prohibited.

There are two elevators in the building.  The staff will utilize the right elevator to assist with move-ins and move-outs Monday – Friday, 8am -5 pm. (3pm on early Fridays), and garbage.

Washers and Dryers are located in the Seth Low Basement, and the laundry room is open 24 hours/7 days.  However, the laundry room is operated on a very strict schedule.  The machines will accept quarters, and also accept debit and credit cards. The laundry room rules were set up by years ago by tenants and have been maintained by tradition. There is a laundry room schedule posted in the laundry room.  Residents are expected to use their assigned time or one of the available times not belonging to another resident. The schedule is displayed in the glass case just to the right of the laundry room entrance. You'll see that residents get slots at the start of the hour for washing machines, and at the start of the following hour for dryers.  Choose an unclaimed spot, and leave a note to the Seth Low front desk asking to be assigned that time for the washers and dryers. Please do not make any changes on the schedule itself.

If you won't be using the machines during your appointed hour, you can release your time by noting that on the blackboard in the laundry room. This is a courtesy to the other residents, who might want to use your time slot. If you will be using the machines during the appointed hour, you must do so before 15 minutes after the hour. If you need to use the machines during a time slot that is not yours, you are free to do so any time after 15 minutes after the hour. Please wait the full15 minutes after the hour to give the assigned person a chance to start the laundry by then, and please start YOUR wash by 20 after the hour so you will be finished by the top of the following hour. Most tenants do not use all the machines at once, so there is a good chance a machine may be available at 15 after the hour on most days. The dryers must be shared by everyone, whether scheduled or not. Those previously scheduled up for a particular time have priority over those who are unscheduled.

Please do not remove another tenant's clothes from a dryer or washer until their hour is over.  Residents are requested to be considerate, and to remove all clothes from washers and dryers promptly.

Problems with the machines as well as any issue regarding the loss of funds and/or refunds should be reported to MacGray at 1-800-622-4729 by the residents or the staff.  Residents may also report issues via the ChangePoint Machine, located in the laundry room.

LaundryView is an Internet application that will allow you to monitor the status of washers and dryers in your laundry room through a Web browser. Your browser display is refreshed once a minute or whenever you click the Refresh icon. A machine is "Available" if it is not currently running a cycle. "In Use" means it is running. "Unavailable" means that LaundryView has detected a problem with the machine and has notified Mac-Gray that service is required.  Notifications work two ways:  If a laundry room is busy, you can request to be notified when a specified number of washers and/or dryers are no longer running a laundry cycle and/or if you have laundry in a washer or dryer, you can request to be notified when your load of laundry has completed its washing or drying cycle. To use the LaundryView service, please visit the following website:  http://www.laundryview.com/tccu

There are no automatic sprinklers or fire alarms in the building. In the event of a fire in your apartment, close the door to the room with the fire; leave your apartment, closing the door behind you. When time permits, knock on your neighbors' doors as you leave. TAKE THE STAIRS, NOT THE ELEVATOR (use the fire escape as necessary), and tell the person at the front desk to call 911. Get outside and wait for the fire trucks to arrive so you can tell them where the fire is located.

Each apartment is supplied with battery operated smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  The units will only sound in the location of the device.   In the event of an emergency, residents and staff should call x911 and follow-up by calling TC Public Safety, x3333.

Residents should submit maintenance Work Requests to the Office of Facilities for any defects or malfunctioning equipment.

Each Fall the Seth Low staff will change the batteries in the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors (also replace as necessary).

The USPS will drop off mail to the Seth Low desk.  The staff will sort and distribute the mail during their shift.  Residents wishing to have mail held, for up to 4 weeks, should notify the staff how long they will be gone.  The mail will be held in a separate area marked with their apartment number. 

Residents who are vacating Seth Low should complete address change forms with the USPS before moving out.  Residents can also leave a forwarding address with the Seth Low staff.  Mail is held until the post office delivers to updated address. 

Routine Maintenance Requests 

Residents should always submit a work request for non-emergency maintenance. A work request can be submitted the following ways:

• Online at http://facilitiesweb.tc.columbia.edu/

• Via the kiosk outside the Seth Low front desk. The staff can assist in showing how to submit a work request.

Once a work request is submitted you will receive two emails regarding the status of your work requests (one indicating work request was received and one when it’s closed).   If you do not have internet access or do not feel comfortable using the computer kiosk in the lobby, you can call the Office of Residential Services at 212-678-3235.

Unless there is an emergency, residents should not submit any requests to the handyperson or any of the other staff.  All requests should be made through a central office so they can set priorities, schedule work, monitor progress, and keep a record of all of the work performed to identify recurring problems. It also tends to be more efficient for the residents.

Emergency Maintenence Requests

Emergency maintenance issues that occur between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F (non-holidays), please contact the Office of Facilities at 212-678-3010.

If an emergency occurs after-hours, weekends and holidays, call the front desk from your house phone by dialing x0.

The building staff member will attempt to repair

  • If the Seth Low staff cannot repair, he/she will contact Public Safety at 212-678-3333 who will then contact the On-Duty Facilities Manager for next steps.
  • Emergency maintenance request should include:  Resident’s name, location of issue, date and time of issue and detailed explanation of issue.

Residents have been known to ask building staff to assist with non-routine maintenance requests.  Any resident who chooses to pursue such requests must understand that any such work must occur during the employees off-clock hours, and the College does endorse nor accept any responsibilities for such work.  Additionally, tipping employees for routine or emergency work is discouraged.

New Young Fish Market
975 Amsterdam Ave New York, NY 10027(near 108th St)
Good fresh fish
Fairway
The big Harlem Fairway is at 132nd Street near the Hudson River - if you have a car, there's free parking right next door; if you don't, it's a relatively easy walk to the Fairway and they'll deliver your groceries for a small fee
Online Ordering
You can also order your food online from a couple of sources/ all of which deliver to our neighborhood
Farmers Markets
WhatIsFresh.com lists farmers markets in NYC
  • Union Square
  • Lincoln Center
  • Broadway at 114th street (Thursdays and Sundays)
  • Morningside Park (southeast corner) Saturdays from June to November
Clothing Donations
The Salvation Army 718-583-3500
Copy Machines
Copy machines are in the obvious copy centers and libraries as well as"

Newspapers are delivered daily to your apartment by the Front Desk staff once they arrive.

Noise travels on the first floor. Residents and staff alike need to remember to keep conversations low in public areas, especially near the elevator, front desk and front steps. If noise is a problem, email the Office of Residential Services at housing@tc.columbia.edu.

As for outside noise, which can be problematic on summer weekends, New York City has a hotline number, 311, for making "quality of life" complaints. 

TC’s policy is to completely re-paint each apartment every three years. If prior to the three year time period you notice cracking and peeling paint bring it to the attention of the Office of Residential Services at housing@tc.columbia.edu.

TC will paint your apartment with their standard Benjamin Moore Linen-white paint, or will use custom colors if you purchase the paint at your own expense.

  • Columbia University Station, 112th between Broadway and Amsterdam (always a long wait)
  • Cathedral Station, 104th between Broadway and Amsterdam (later hours, shorter lines)
  • Manhattanville Station, 125th between Morningside Avenue and St. Nicholas (passport applications & processing available)

In accordance with New York City’s Recycling Program, there are receptacles, located in the basement, for recyclables.

The following items are to be recycled:

  • Newspaper, magazines, catalogs
  • Paper, mail, and envelopes
  • Telephone books and soft-cover books
  • Paper bags
  • Smooth cardboard (i.e. shoe boxes, cereal boxes, cardboard tubes, etc.)
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Beverage cartons and drink boxes (i.e. milk and juice cartons)
  • Metal cans
  • Aluminum foil wrap and trays
  • Household metal (i.e. wire hangers, pots and pans, etc.)

The following items should not be recycled:

  • Any other types of glass
  • Other kinds of plastics (i.e. deli and yogurt containers, Styrofoam, plastic toys, etc.)
  • Batteries
  • Ceramics or glassware
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper towels or napkins

Building Access

The front door is locked between 9:00pm and 7:00am, seven days a week.  

Front Desk

The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There are times when the desk will not be occupied. Signage will be hung on the window indicating such and the front door will be locked.

Guests

If you have guests staying in your apartment while you're away, a Guest Notification Form must be completed and on file with the Seth Low Front Desk. Any outside vendor (babysitter, housekeeper, dogwalker, etc.) that works in you apartment needs to be listed on a Guest Notification Form or listed in the Keytrak system to authorize the distribution of keys. Even though you may have given them a key, you should list them just in case they lose or forget keys so they can retrieve the key from the Keytrak system. All keys taken from Keytrak must be returned within 1 hour.  Keys from the Keytrak system will only given out in three situations: listed as occupants in Keytrak, proper Guest Notification Form filled out and handed in by resident, or if it is a TC staff member doing work in your unit with a valid work order.

All guests will be announced to the resident before the guest is allowed to leave the lobby area.  If they have a key, the guest must be registered in the Seth Low Guest Notification Book. 

Keys

All Seth Low tenants will receive 6 Apartment keys.  Residents needing any additional keys should contact the Office of Residential Services, housing@tc.columbia.edu, or 212-678-3235.

If you or a member of your family is locked out of the building or apartment, go to the Seth Low Desk and produce a picture ID.  The Desk attendant will issue you the spare key that must be returned within 1 hour of issuance. 

Lost Keys

If an apartment key is lost there is a $125 lock change charge for the apartment.  The charge will appear on your monthly statement.

Teachers College ID Card

All family members of the residents who live in Seth Low should go over to the Office of Card Services, Whittier Hall Suite 1B, to receive a Teachers College ID card. These ID cards will allow access into Seth Low and other campus facilities.  If you are locked out of your apartment, you must present this ID to the desk staff in order to receive a loaner key. Lost cards result in a $20 replacement fee.

Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the building including the basement, restrooms, or service areas. Residents are permitted to smoke in their own apartments. 

Solicitation is not permitted in the building.  Staff and residents should report all solicitors to the Office of Public Safety at x3333. 

Each apartment has a storage cage located in the Seth Low basement.  To access the storage area, exit to the left once the elevator reaches the basement, and walk all the way back to the first door on the right.

Residents whose apartment key is on the building’s master key system can access their storage cage using their apartment key.  Otherwise, they have been issued a key solely for the lock on their storage cage for which the residents have the only key, (i.e. key not in Keytrak.) 

Buidling Intercom

The building provides an internal intercom system that allows the desk to contact residents, residents to contact the desk, and residents to residents.  To contact residents, dial 20 and the apartment number.  For example, if the apartment number is 20, the caller will dial 2020.  Residents needing to contact the front desk simply call 0 from their house phone.  The intercom system does not allow incoming or outgoing calls from Seth Low. 

Any issues regarding the intercom system (missing telephones, non-working telephones, or the intercom malfunctions) should be directed to the Office of Telecommunications, x3456, or by email at telecomhelpdesk@tc.columbia.edu.

Resident Private Phone Lines

Each resident who wishes to have telephone service in their apartment should contact a vendor such as Verizon, Time Warner, Sprint, etc.

Cable Service

Contact Time Warner Cable at 212-567-3833.

Small bags of garbage can be put down the garbage chutes in the incinerator room on each floor (but please not before 6:30a.m. or after 10:30 p.m. in deference to the apartments abutting the chutes). Nothing should be left on the floor of the incinerator room. For non-recyclable trash that can't fit down the chute, there are several large garbage cans in the basement.

Con Edison (for setting up gas): 1-800-780-2884

Electric is included in your rent.  However, should you have an air conditioner, you will be charged $30 per month for each air conditioner during the months of June through September.

Resident Responsibilities

  1. Inform Office of Residential Services of vacate date.
  2. Inform Seth Low Desk staff of vacate date.
  3. Inform Con Ed, Time Warner, Verizon, etc. of vacate date so that services will be turned off.
  4. Inform Payroll of vacate date to stop payroll deduction, if applicable.  Payroll should be informed of last month of residence.
  5. Inform Office of Students Accounts of new address for security deposit refund.
  6. Contact USPS to provide forwarding address --- https://moversguide.usps.com
  7. Provide Office of Residential Services with of proof of insurance for moving company.
  8. Empty storage unit located in basement.
  9. Empty apartment completely.  Security deposit is subject to be kept if resident leaves any items behind in the apartment.
  10. Leave apartment in broom swept condition (appliances wiped down, bathroom cleaned, floor swept clean, etc.)
  11. Take apartment keys (should be 6), front door keys (should be 6), and mailbox key(s) as applicable to the Office of Residential Services.  Failure to return all will result in lock change fees and lost key fees being deducted from the security deposit.
  12. Move ins/outs may only occur between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  No move ins/out may be scheduled on holidays or outside of the hours mentioned above. 

Moving companies must supply the Office of Residential Services with proof of insurance and must name Teachers College as an "Additional Insured."  This documentation should be received by Residential Services at least one day prior to move-out and can be sent via fax to 212-678-3222 ATTN: Director of Campus Services.  The documentation should reference the faculty member moving in/out and the apartment number.

Residential Services Responsibilities

  1. Terminate billing according to the vacate date.
  2. Informs building staff of vacate date so that elevator pads can be installed for usage.
  3. Charge resident as required for any damages, items left behind, unit not broom clean, missing keys, etc.
  4. Process refund for security deposit and associated interest – deposit takes approximately 4 weeks to get from the bank.  Once received, deposit will be posted to resident account whereby a check is requested as applicable. 

Teachers College does not provide window screens.  If interested, residents may purchase a window screen at a local hardware store.

Window cleaning, both interior and exterior, is the responsibility of the tenant in each apartment. The windows are designed to swing in for exterior cleaning. The building staff is responsible for cleaning windows in public corridors and spaces. If you need assistance, the building staff can demonstrate how the windows swing open for cleaning.

The law requires you to have window guards on every window if you have children under the age of 10. If you have window guards that you want removed because you have no young children living in your apartment or they are not installed, click here to submit a work order via the online system.