Your first week of classes is now behind you. You’ve been around campus and checked out a few spots around NYC. So now what? Relax. This is going to be your home for the next couple of years, so take in New York City at your own pace. Whether it be working out some stress at the gym or checking out the many cultural spots around town, here are a few places that will help you get settled.
Bard Athletic Center has great hours and is conveniently located on Haven Avenue and 169th Street. This gym is open to the entire CUMC student community. There are plenty of cardio machines, free weights, a great pool for laps and even a squash court. Pick up games often happen at the basketball court and there is a CUMC intramural league for basketball that gives free T-shirts. Some classes are offered (yoga and others) at extra cost.
Bridge Runners is a running group for anyone looking for a FUN and FREE running experience. This meet-up group is made up of runners of all ages who can choose from a short or long run each Wednesday evening (7pm). The runs are always over one of the bridges in the city, but routes change each week—which provides runners with unique experiences and awesome views of the city. It is a powerful and energy filled experience. Check out their Facebook page for updates about each Wednesday’s meet-up location.
Located at 158th and Broadway, Planet Fitness is a quick walk from campus and frequently offers awesome sign up deals. You’ll have unlimited access to a fitness coach and get a free t-shirt when you sign up. Plus the gym is 24 hours on weekdays, perfect for the ups-and-downs of student schedules.
African Dance Classes
If you know where to look, there are several affordable African dance classes around the city. Cassadra Nuamah’s $10 Kukawa African Workout class at the Harlem Wellness Center (127th between Adam Clayon Powell Blvd. and Lenox Ave.) is sure to have your muscles burning. At SocaMotion—a fitness class inspired by dance moves native to the Caribbean—you’ll get a great workout as you move your body and work your waist. SocaMotion has multiple weekly classes at both their Brooklyn and Manhattan locations. They also often have great Groupon deals, so be on the lookout.
Aside from the museums offered in the Columbia Student passport, check out these great places to take in some city culture.
StudentRush is an online website that offers free information regarding shows on and off Broadway, including rush policies and discounts. The website also offers $5 tickets to select productions.
Two options on this website: a $10 discount for off-Broadway tickets, offered free of change; or for $30, get discounts to Broadway shows.
This website offers discounted tickets to Broadway shows, ranging from $35-$50. There is a $5 service charge to sign up, and you must use your student email address.
Roundabout Theatre, a historic off-Broadway company, has a ticket program called Hiptix. The program is free to join and has $25 tickets to every show they produce for their entire theatre season. Look out for Into The Woods in Fall 2014.
These booths offer discounted tickets for day-of shows and next day matinees. You have to go early and wait in line to get the first dibs on tickets. There are three different booths throughout the city. The Times Square booth is the busiest, so I advise visiting the Brooklyn or South Seaport locations.
CUarts is a Columbia run ticket service that offers discounted tickets to Broadway shows and Columbia student productions. CUarts generally offers discounts during the first week of each semester.
Number to Know
311 is a customer service line for any and all issues in NYC. Whether you contact them by phone, online form, text message, social media, or app, city officials will address your questions (e.g. where/how to access NYC city-run services or how to find a cellphone left in a cab), complaints (e.g. your landlord did not remediate mold or there is a pothole in the street), and comments.
The Ace Hotel is a great place to go for a cup of coffee and to get some work done. Located just north of the Flatiron District, this hotel is full of art and beautiful decor. It has a large lobby with tables and big couches full of people working through thoughts and ideas. If you’re looking for a new spot to get caffeinated and bang out some work, definitely check out this unique spot.
Nestled on Pinehurst and 187th, this cozy coffee shop is located about a mile north of campus and offers a great excuse for a short walk and energizing break. Wifi is free to patrons for one to two hours, so it’s the ideal place to grab a cup of micro-roasted Ethiopian coffee and a delicious pastry (try the olive oil cake). Though seating is sometimes limited indoors, outside benches offer calm people watching and views of nearby Fort Washington Park.
Right around the corner from the 157th stop on the 1 train, Taszo is a great spot for studying, hanging out, and even catching some live music every once in a while. Though it’s a 10-15 min walk from campus, Taszo is a great spot for longer breaks or for those who live in Washington Heights. Note: The owner wants to keep space open for all kinds of customers, so those coming with computers are asked to use the tables in the back half of the shop. The tables in the front are kept open for those who want to have a nice conversation, meal (they have a great Salmon Frittata), or a cup of coffee. Taszo has a friendly atmosphere and hip décor—and is owned by a family in the community, so it’s one of the many local businesses to support.