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Columbia Tours and Lores

Here are some more activities to keep Mom and Dad busy because Bwog loves you and your parents and because Bwog has secret tour guide aspirations….

Wallach Art Gallery

Columbia has its own mini-museum in Schermerhorn! Who knew? The Wallach Gallery’s classy digs will undoubtedly impress your parents. Maybe you’ll even impress them with your Art Hum skills. Except the gallery is currently exhibiting Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, which doesn’t fall into the masterpieces of Western Art category. But it’s free and that’s always a crowd pleaser.


Inwood Park 

If you’re going to the Baker Field for the football game, be sure to pass through Inwood Park on your way back.  Located just beyond the stadium, Inwood Park is a lovely copse-filled plot of land on the very tip of Manhattan island.  The northern edge of the park offers views of both the Hudson and Harlem Rivers and makes a great place for a picnic.  For additional fun, try to spot the Columbia boathouse and the big ‘C’ rock.

The Cloisters

Another museum nearby is the Cloisters.  If you haven’t been yet, take advantage of the free transportation your family’s car offers and head on up to Fort Tryon Park for an afternoon of medieval art and monastic stuff.   Use your CUID and get in for free! Your parents will think you are so cool.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

If you’re not into football or museums, take a trip to Columbia’s Earth Institute research center on the New York Palisades.  It’s just a twenty minute drive from campus and today LDEO hosts its annual open-house.  Indeed it’s a quite an opportune time for you and your parents to learn about current and how Alma Mater’s is contributing to sustainability initiatives.  It might be one of your only chances to learn first hand what a seismometer vault does…

Tour of Columbia’s Migration Uptown

So we all know that Columbia was founded in 1754, but your parents, and maybe even some of the unlearned first-years among us, may not know that Columbia actually held its first classes at Trinity Church all the way downtown at the intersection of Broadway and Wall St.  Trinity Church is worth a visit not just because of its affiliation with Columbia, but also because it is a national historic landmark.  After wandering about the church and its environs (keep your eyes peeled for Alexander Hamilton’s gravestone!) head up to 49th St and Madison Ave, where the university lived from 1857-1897.  There’s not too much evidence of CC left in midtown, but not to worry from this point you’re just a short train ride away from Morningside Heights where the Columbia spirit thrives in all its architectural glory! Northern expansion is in our blood, Manhattanville here we come!  

Historic Landmarks on Campus 

If Wall St is too far for you and your folks, you’re in luck because there are plenty of historic landmarks here on campus.  Pupin is not only home your physics recitation, but also was once home to the cyclotron, Columbia’s much loved and much missed particle accelerator. The cyclotron was used in some of the experiments that led to the development of the atomic bomb and in 1966 was designated a national historic landmark in recognition of the atomic research undertaken there. Wrapped up in less lore, but certified all the same, St. Paul’s Chapel is another historic landmark on campus.  The why and wherefore of its historic claim to fame is ambiguous, but just tell your parents it was the first building on campus not designed by McKim, Mead and White and you’ll sound savvy.


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  • Alum says:

    @Alum The article says that the cyclotron in Pupin “in 1966 was designated a national historic landmark in recognition of the atomic research undertaken there.” Not so. The designation was for Pupin itself, not the cyclotron.

    I don’t think pieces of equipment can ever get such a designation. Besides, if the cyclotron had been so designated Columbia would have needed federal permission to dismantle it.

  • museumtip says:

    @museumtip If a NYC museum has the word “Suggested” in front of admission, that means you can pay anywhere from $0 to infinity. (Because it’s being partially funded by NYC tax dollars)

  • dear bwog says:

    @dear bwog we didn’t spend our time writing articles about columbia’s campuses and buildings for nothing, you know? How about actually using them or at least linking to them.

    College Hall (Downtown): – Did you know that Columbia’s original location was a great place to pick up a hooker?

    Madison Avenue (Midtown):

    St. Paul’s:'s_Chapel#The_crypt – Did you know the architect’s ashes are in the wall, and that the guy who carved Mt. Rushmore sculpted parts of the building?

    1. #3 again says:

      @#3 again the last link should be this:'s_Chapel

  • Misread says:

    @Misread “Located just beyond the stadium, Inwood Park is a lovely corpse-filled plot of land on the very tip of Manhattan island.

  • Pupin says:

    @Pupin was also the birthplace of the Manhattan Project. So Ahmadinejad can thank us when he gets La Bamba–I mean, La Bomba.

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