If you have not already checked out the SIPA Survival Guide, I highly recommend you do so (http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/students/sipasa/documents/SIPASurvivalGuide2012.pdf). It is a veritable treasure trove of information on places to eat, play and study. In that spirit, I wanted to share some of my favorite places around Morningside Heights, some of which are in there, and some of which are not.
Favorite place to study: Teacher’s College. Teacher’s college is right near the SIPA building on 120th Street. Unlike the concrete jungle that is SIPA, TC’s library and dining hall have that classic old university feeling without being overrun by undergrads like the main campus. Unlike the Law School, Teacher’s College has an open WiFi network and its library is open to anybody with a Columbia ID. The library features private group study rooms, an open plan talking area and quiet study area with big tables and smaller study carrels. There is a café on the first floor that serves (hello!) Starbucks coffee as well as other small items and people are pretty open about bringing drinks/small snacks into the library.
I am also a fan of TC’s Grace Dodge Dining Hall. It is usually pretty quiet in there but the food is the best quality I have had anywhere in campus including a pick your own salad, pizza and sandwich bar.
Favorite place to blog/apply to jobs from: Brad’s Café at the Journalism School. When I’m feeling less academic and more professional, my favorite place to work is Brad’s Café, located at the Journalism School right inside in the Broadway 116th Street entrance. Brad’s has outdoor seating which is partially enclosed during the cooler months and features a scrawling news feed and all day TV news coverage. Note, seating is for patrons only so be prepared to buy something. Every time I’m in there I feel like I’m about to file a story with my bureau chief.
Favorite place to bring tourists: Grant’s Tomb. Devotees with not be surprised to learn that I’m a big American history nerd and there is a real treasure, the General Grant National Memorial, right in our own backyard. (http://www.nps.gov/gegr/index.htm) Most times it’s pretty quiet so you will be able to impress your guests by arranging a private tour.
Favorite place for a treat: Crumbs Cupcakes (Broadway and 109th). New Yorkers love cupcakes and Crumbs is the crème de la crème, literally. Giant crème filled cupcakes in every flavor imaginable. They do sell mini cupcakes, but the smallest they come in is a pack of six. For this reason, when I’m feeling the cupcake craving I usually plan a trip right before a group meeting. That way I can buy a six pack, snag the best one (or two!) for myself and be a group project hero! Crumbs also sell Starbucks coffee and the line is usually much shorter than at Starbucks. Ten coffees here earns you a free drink PLUS a free cupcake.
Favorite quick bite to eat: Cascabel Taqueria (Broadway and 108th). Casual, friendly, the best tacos I have ever had. My favorite is the Carne Asada, but if you’re in the mood for something lighter the pummel (which is actually just grapefruit) and avocado salad is very refreshing. They have fairly decent margaritas as well.