Juilliard leaves foreign students homeless for Christmas

December 10, 2017 by norman lebrecht


From the New York Post:

In past years, the Lincoln Center school let students live in the Meredith Willson Residence Hall for $150 a week. But this year, it is shutting down to “address necessary facility issues” and because, in the past, only about 15 students chose to stay, said school spokeswoman Alexandra Day.

Juilliard offered list of housing options, such as the YMCA and hostels, but they cost more than $150, and some students felt nervous bunking in the flophouses.

Read on here.

Comments (16)

  1. Susan says:

    Before the dorms people lived at the y. Who’s giving them options, it’s not nice but sometimes you just need to do work on the building. They’re not leaving them homeless your title is misleading.

    1. Sue says:

      Honestly, what’s happened to literacy that people think commas should be placed randomly through sentences??? Won’t be long now, ladies and gentlemen…..

      1. Charles Fischbein says:

        Dear Sue
        Be aware sometimes background noise when one is,using voice recognition can cause this.
        You must be an English teacher
        Certainly not a tech wizard.,,,,,,,

  2. Charles Fischbein says:

    I can well afford to have my grandson stay at a midtown hotel when he goes to New York. Actually he would rather stay at a Hostle. Jazz on the Park and others are not FLOP HOUSES
    They provide young people a chance to meet and mingle.
    Whoever called the Y and a decent Hostel a flop house has No idea what they are talking about and is an elitist moron.
    How can maintenance be done with students there.
    Your article is misleading and frankly stupid.

    1. Bill says:

      I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels and motels over the years where substantial renovation or construction was being done on a subset of the rooms. Perhaps there is some essential facility that serves the entire building which needs to be taken out of service (sewer comes to mind), but more likely in my estimation is that they simply didn’t want to do the necessary planning to work around a small number of residents. Clearly, it will be easier if you don’t have to work around some residents. As long as the residents were warned with plenty of time, it shouldn’t be an issue, but it doesn’t sound like they were.

      1. Rikki Fox says:

        I would agree the headline is misleading (nothing new there), as is the “information” in the blurb (Charles, I hesitate to call these 76 words an “article”). The text was quoted directly from an article in the NY Post, whose link Mr. Lebrecht includes. I, too, have stayed in a hotel/pension while it was being renovated, and it was awful. So every experience is different. It’s possible they are working on heating or water or wiring — something where a utility needs to be off in the entire building. And it costs money to keep an entire building running for 2 weeks for a dozen or so students. It would be helpful to know what the rooming contract states for times when school is not in session. I checked the websites for both the Y and the Jazz Hostel – both show clean rooms and facilities in good order, some with adjoining bath. The word “flophouse” implies undesirable transients and drug addicts…. obviously a completely different clientele. Yes, cost is higher, and we don’t know whether Juilliard is offering to cover the difference. I have to kick myself each time I fall for Mr. L’s clickbait!

  3. Juilliard Alum says:

    Juilliard should have made arrangements for decent alternate housing. they could have made a deal with the 63rd Street YMCA for $150/week housing. Hostels are inappropriate because these students have valuable instruments which cannot be left in an unlocked multi-bed hostel housing strangers. There have been many instances of violins, for example, being stolen when someone has put it on a chair or on the ground for just a minute and turned their heads.

    I lived at the 63rd Street YMCA the last two years before the dorms opened: 27 years ago! The building has gone through a huge renovation, but at that time, the YMCA housed former patients from mental hospitals whose rooms were paid for by the state of New York. It was not the best of environments.

    A grass-roots notification campaign has started, asking Juilliard alumni if they can help house homeless students for the winyer break.

    Finally, those who incorrectly criticize Mr. Lebrecht for the story’s contents should redirect their comments to the New York Post.

  4. Arturo says:

    Flophouses? Back when I was a student, the 63rd St. Y, which is practically across the street from Juilliard & Lincoln Center, is where Juilliard students lived. Period.

    It’s still where I stay when I visit NYC. On a professional orchestra musician’s salary, it’s in my price range.

    Who are these coddled foreign students who are whining about flophouses? Are they all planning to be major income soloists who only stay at the Ritz? If they are studying to be musicians, or dancers or actors, they should get used to the lifestyle NOW.

    What was good enough for us 30 yrs. ago, before the Juilliard dorms were built, should be good enough for them. They should have Juilliard cut a deal with the Y and stay there. Flophouses, indeed.

    1. Bill says:

      Flophouse was the word used by the NY Post author. Judging from the NYP and SD articles I’ve seen over the years, their style guide encourages such “colorful characterizations” and our host is all too happy to follow suit.

    2. Michael Endres says:

      Spot on. I stayed for 2 years at the YMCA whilst at Juilliard and was happy as a button. Some of the admittedly more unusual occupants were always good for creating a colourful environment, the cafeteria particularly interesting, a bit like a Jan Svankmajer movie…

  5. Antonia says:

    Juilliard graduates, donors, and those who care about international college students far from the protection of their families: please contact Juilliard to express disapproval!

    I don’t agree with the young violinist that he’s “lucky” that a 70-year-old man “he just met” has offered to allow him to stay with him over the break. I’m tremendously afraid for the student. Juilliard shouldn’t be placing its international students in this position! This is a blight upon the institution.

    Here is one email address to which a letter of concern might be most effectively delivered: [email protected] Thank you so much. Mind you, I don’t know how far in advance Juilliard notified the families of this impending development. Perhaps they told them well in advance (summer or earlier) and they didn’t budget for it or were unable to save the money for it or the students just didn’t get with it? Regardless, I asked Juilliard to let me know about it and to please help them find safe housing that they can afford.

  6. Edgar says:

    Fell for Norman’s click bait again. Darn! Hope the 15 students affected will find decent temporary housing. Having said this, I like to mention that there is much more, and existentially necessary, cleaning and repair to do, especially, but not limited to, the houses that are at Lincoln Center. The way how these institutions will proceed will teach a great deal to Juilliard students….

  7. Another Juilliard alum says:

    I lived at the Juilliard dorms for two years. Not everything was bad and some staff members were just fantastic, but Juilliard constantly disregards students living in the residence halls. I’m sure many of the things I had to deal with at the dorms don’t happen at the YMCA. For several reasons I am not surprised they have finally decided to not let people stay for the break. It probably doesn’t make sense to them financially.

  8. Mark says:

    In the case of freshman students, they are required to live in the Jullliard dorms. I understand Julliard’s rationale for this requirement, but, if those students had been allowed to live in rental apartments, they would surely not have been required to vacate for the holidays. I have a feeling most of these 15 students really have no support network upon which to depend. Also, not every international student has the money to fly home for the holidays.
    I really hope that Julliard made a very concerted effort to place these students in the homes of faculty members or Julliard Society supporters. (I know that I was not contacted concerning such a possibility.)

  9. John Borstlap says:

    I always wondered why Juilliard would be housed in a stranded submarine.

  10. Helene Kamioner says:

    Attendance at the Juilliard School, and moreover the degree holds a lot of weight on any type of music student’s resume. Just the name opens doors, not to mention the connections. Don’t sleep in the subways darling and don’t blame Juilliard for your misfortune. If you can, see the movie The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith. It may offer ideas and inspiration. However, I suggest that in addition to your Juilliard courses, since New York City is blessed with so many City Universities of New York aka CUNY schools, very affordable, take another course at one of these institutions and broaden your horizons as well as your social and personal connections. Hunter is a great place and offers many housing suggestions, and the credits are as cheap as borscht. Juilliard has an connections to Columbia and Barnard, so use your resources instead of whining or letting the press do your whining for you.

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