Local Atmosphere

New York, NY
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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5 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: New York City (a true cultural mecca--believe me, the city is not oversold in pop culture at large) is a resource often underutilized by the busy student body, but even if you confine yourself to Morningside Heights, the cultural and culinary options in the neighborhood are great. From burgers to Ethiopian, there is plenty of selection, and though not cheap, fairly high quality selection at that. Also, any trip to the neighborhood should include a visit to St. John the Divine, an unfinished Episcopalian cathedral that hosts many concerts and even the occasional art piece. It is truly stunning.

5 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: NYC is the best for all of that stuff except for maybe safety. And parking but I only know that from my friend who has a car.

5 College Sophomore


On an unrelated note, I'll be honest. Columbia students do not view Barnard as a part of our community, or even as an appropriate school for that matter. Sorry.

5 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: New York City. Anything you could possibly want is in this city. The diversity of the cultures, nightlife, food and activities are almost unchallenged by any other city. Parking can be incredibly difficult and frustrating, but you really don't need a car. The public transportation system is one of the greatest in the world. Between subways, buses, taxis, trains, ferries and even cable cars you can reach any corner of any of the five boroughs that make up the city easily, including the all the stadiums to any sporting event. Unfortunately, it is an expensive city, but if you are willing to sacrifice a few luxuries, such as not having an elevator in your apartment building, and you budget properly, it is possible, and worth it.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: There are numerous attractions available from night light to museums.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sara Cervantes
Austin, TX
English and American Studies
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

One of the biggest draws of Columbia University is definitely its location in New York City. The city has something for everyone, as long as you're willing to look. This is often an issue for students, as they get so comfortable in the "Columbia Bubble" that they forget to venture outside of Morningside Heights. While the area immediately surrounding campus does have its fair share of bars, restaurants, and cafés, there is so much more to be explored a subway ride away.

While the city does house several colleges, it is nowhere near a "college town," and most residents could care less that you are a student (hey, it's New York after all). Living in New York requires a certain comfort level with independence, as it is easy to feel lost in such a huge city amongst so many people. Rather than letting this scare you, students should embrace the freedom of the city, and go out and explore it. If you like art, go explore the Museum Mile or galleries in Chelsea. If music is your thing, check out dingy venues downtown or in Brooklyn. If you miss the outdoors, go frolic in Central Park for a few hours on a spring day. There's a place for everyone in New York, and you'll find yours if you actively seek it.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. George Washington was sworn in to the presidency in New York City. Back then, it was the capital of the United States of America.
  2. New York City used to be called New Amsterdam.
  3. New York City has 722 miles of subway track.
  4. The New York Post was founded in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton and is the oldest newspaper in the United States.
  5. Two of its many nicknames are "The Big Apple" and "The City that Never Sleeps."
Notable Natives
  • Woody Allen - writer, actor, director
  • Humphrey Bogart - actor
  • Jimmy Fallon - comedian, late-night talk show host
  • Lady Gaga - pop star
  • Jay-Z - rapper, entrepreneur
  • Theodore Roosevelt - 26th President of the United States
  • Barbra Streisand - actress, singer
Local Slang
  • SoHo, Nolita, TriBeCa, DUMBO: Many neighborhoods have abbreviated names which many New Yorkers use either in speech or writing. The names above are South of Houston Street, North of Little Italy, Triangle Below Canal Street, and Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Now you see why we need abbreviations!
  • Train: The subway is referred to as a "train" by New Yorkers.
Points of Interest
  • Broadway
  • Central Park
  • Harlem
  • SoHo
  • Times Square
  • Wall Street
Shopping Centers
  • Lincoln Center
  • Macy's on 34th Street
  • SoHo
Movie Theaters
AMC Loews Village 7
66 Third Ave.
New York
(888) 262-4386
Movie Theaters
AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9
2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
(888) 262-4386
Movie Theaters
IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave.
Greenwich Village
(212) 924-7771
Movie Theaters
Landmark Sunshine Cinema
143 E. Houston St.
Lower East Side
(212) 260-7289
Movie Theaters
Loews Lincoln Square 13
1998 Broadway
New York
(212) 336-5020
Major Sports Teams
  • New York Giants: NFL
  • New York Islanders: NHL
  • New York Jets: NFL
  • New York Knicks: NBA
  • New York Mets: MLB
  • New York Rangers: NHL
  • New York Yankees: MLB
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Philadelphia: : 2 hours
  • Washington, D.C.: : 3 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 66 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 66 responses

  • 3% Painfully remote.
  • 0% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 0% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 0% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 97% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 66 responses

  • 5% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 39% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 56% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 65 responses

  • 5% No way.
  • 43% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 52% Totally.



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