On Tuesday, April 10th we are hosting our Admitted Students Day (gentle reminder to register, if you have not already done so).  If you are coming into town a day early (and before the SSOC Social at Havana Central) and have time to explore the city; two of our students captured their NYC adventure for less than $25…

By Twisha Mehta and Molly Powers

When students list their reasons for wanting to go to SIPA, there’s one that reliably makes it into the top 5 list: living in New York City. The city that never sleeps, the concrete jungle that dreams are made of, home to the UN, to Wall Street, to the Statue of Liberty. There is an infectious energy in New York, and an excitement in knowing that the world is at your fingertips. Some students complain that it’s also one of the most expensive cities to live in. It’s true that dinner and a movie can easily cost more than $50 these days, but, as in any city, there are bargains to be found and plenty of adventure to be had on a student budget. To prove a point, a group of SIPA students headed out one weekend last fall to see how far $25.00 dollars could take us in the Big Apple.

We took the 1 subway from the Columbia University 116th Street station to 14th Street. Our first stop: Chelsea Market to have a cup of coffee and gape at all the expensive baked goods and sundries that our budget would not allow.  Then onto the High Line – a recently constructed urban public space in the meatpacking district. The High Line is an historic elevated railroad that has been repurposed into a pedestrian park decorated with public art and native species of plants and grasses. New York neighborhoods each have their own distinct flavor, and Chelsea is no different. The Highline juxtaposes industrial space with modern architectural elements. The elevated space not only gives a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood, but it also provides stunning views of the Empire State building and the Hudson River away from the bustle from the street below.

After strolling along the High Line, we headed uptown through Times Square, to the Bryant Park Winter Marketplace– a wonderland of winter fun and shopping. We grabbed some fresh kettle corn and mozzarepas and contemplated whether or not to take advantage of the free Bryant Park ice skating- skate rental is just $6! Instead, we opted to make our way towards Museum Mile for a touch of culture.

As we crossed through Central Park towards the Upper East Side, we spontaneously decided to take a rowing excursion in the Lake at 72nd street. Everyone had a chance behind the oars as we followed turtles and took photos of ourselves in the beautiful fall foliage and blue skies. One hour later, we arrived on Museum Mile.

Museum Mile hosts some of the best museums in the world- ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Jewish Museum to the African Art Museum to the GuggenheimTake note here, that a critical companion on our journey today was our Columbia student ID. With the ID, we get free access and discounts to dozens of museums, theaters, movies, and events throughout the city. After our tour of the Guggenheim, we crossed back through Central Park in the evening and took the 1 subway line back up to Columbia.

New York City is definitely one of the greatest perks of SIPA. Living and studying the city not only offers you a spectrum of professional opportunities, but it is a cultural education in itself.

For the breakdown of our frugal budget:

Subway Fare: $9.00

Coffee: $4.00

Lunch/Snacks: $5.87

Boating in Central Park: $15.00 (Cost per person: $5.00).

Total Cost:  $23.87 

A beautiful day out in New York City with good friends- priceless!