The Toast of Morningside Heights

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Morningside Aerial After a few days on campus, most first-years are getting sick of grassy lawns and brick buildings, not to mention Carman cinderblock.  They’re ready to venture out into the city they know is waiting for them – or at least down to 110th and Broadway.  The third installment of O-Bwog ‘09’s advice series suggests how to best enjoy those last summer days and prepare for the countless nights ahead spent wandering aimlessly and trying to find bars that don’t card.

As anyone whose relatives have read Dreams from My Father knows all too well, New York was once a very dangerous place, and Morningside Heights was just a fake neighborhood invented for Columbia students who didn’t want to admit they lived in Harlem.  Times have changed, but head to Morningside Park (116th and Morningside Drive) to remember the old days – it was in that very park where Columbia once envisioned a gym with plans so racially divisive that students took over Low Library in protest.  Thanks to them, we’re stuck with Dodge, but the Park remains unblemished, with an arboretum, waterfalls, and enough views of Harlem to make you feel vindicated.

If you’re already tired of John Jay, head to 109 Gourmet Deli (better known as Crack Del, on 109th and Amsterdam) to try their Spicy Special, a combination of Cajun turkey, jack cheese, onion, peppers, lettuce, tomato, mayo and spicy mustard. Crack Del is open late and located conveniently close to La Negrita, 1020, or other neighborhood bars – the denizens of drunk students heading back to campus sing the sandwich’s praises, left only with a fond memory and indigestion in the morning.

Still stewing over that Yale rejection?  Satisfy your taste for Gothic architecture at St. John the Divine (112th and Amsterdam), the other huge building that likes to pretend it’s in Europe.  The fourth largest church in the world, it finally reopened last fall after over 100 years of construction.  The church is also home to two peacocks that roam the grounds until winter drives them indoors – enjoy them while you can.

If you’re nursing a burgeoning hatred for the Columbia bureaucrats after sitting through (or beginning to fear the consequences for skipping) Under1Roof, damn the man and buy your books at Book Culture (off 112th and Broadway), where lower prices, packaged Core books, and shorter lines make the trek worthwhile. If Morningside proper doesn’t placate you, head to Manhattanville (above 125th St) to see billboards proving that some people hate them way more than you do.


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  1. wow

    is it a bwog writer admissions requirement to have been rejected from yale?

  2. damn

    you guys are so negative in not a sarcastically funny way

  3. wow

    i am pretty sure there are no onions, peppers, or spicy mustard on a spicy special. also, for the record, you left off magic as an ingredient.

  4. for the record

    with the like 20 attacks around Morningside park that have happened in the last month, i don't know if it's the safest place for the fresh meat to be hanging out

  5. wait,,,,,  

    there's a penalty for missing under1roof?

  6. um...

    like, i don't think that's how you use denizens. are you sure you're not supposed to be at cornell?

    • disappointed in bwog

      bwoggies stew over their yale rejections to distract themselves from thinking about how close they came to living in Ithaca and running the brog.
      jesus bwog, you used to be funny, even for people without a taste for snark. now you're just sad and bitter. please start knocking off gawker's style again before you completely ruin our froshies.

  7. and

    when you're ready, head on over to beautiful Bedford-Stuyvesant in the province of Breukelen.

  8. opinions on  

    fire ceremony tonight?

  9. alumnus

    uh, the plans for the gym werent racially divisive. The protesters were.

    • wtf

      are you talking about?

      • In point of fact

        The plans were racially divisive (in that there was a perception that the separate entrances for Columbia affiliates and Harlem residents were instituting a form of segregation) AND the protestors were racially divisive (as in, they divided by race when the black protestors kicked the white protestors out of Hamilton).

      • have you seen the videos?

        it's kind of awkward. i mean obviously i disagree that the plan for the gym wasn't racially divisive, but in the videos the protesters made, the white and black protesters didn't even protest in the same buildings and kept referring to each other as "the whites" and "the blacks". i think the main issue was that they were essentially protesting different things and through different means, but race relations certainly didn't help.

  10. um honestly

    you don't have to attend under1roof. just saying.

  11. Also  

    Book Culture is rarely cheaper than B&N. It just makes you feel better because it's independent and local. And if you're taking humanities classes, you pretty much have no choice but to by your books there, since professors like to make you spend more money so they don't have to support a corporate chain.

    • that might be true

      but you can get textbooks (even the US editions) online for much cheaper.

      valorebooks is a good place to get started. using the promotional code "CUbooks" will give you additional savings

  12. Tour Guide

    serious question: didn't the '68 protesters take over Hamilton Hall (not Low Library)? if they didn't, then i've told some several thousand prospective students and parents the wrong story (which, admittedly, wouldn't be out of the usual)...

    • Love Guru

      All I know is that the '69 protesters took over the building of luuuurve.

    • both

      black protesters (mostly) were in Hamilton Hall and white protesters (mostly) were in Low.

    • good

      lord. didn't they used to test the tour guides to make sure they knew anything?

      the 68 protests included the takeover of multiple buildings, including Low, Hamilton, Mathematics, and Fayerweather. Black protestors asked their white co-protestors to leave Hamilton at some point. Generally speaking, the hardcore SDS members looking for confrontation were in Mathetmatics, grad students were in Fayerweather, and everyone else was chilling in Low.

      Some great 68 protest resources:

      As for the gym, lets get some facts straight. The gym was announced in 1961, as a joint public-private project. In return for using land in public Morningside Park to build a private gym for the university, Columbia agreed to construct a public gym for the community as well. Geography dictated that the community gym would be built on the park level, opening into the neighborhood east of the park, while the columbia facility would be built on top of it, with an entrance opening onto Morningside drive. It was hailed at the time as a model project.

      Then two things happened. Columbia couldn't raise the money to start construction, and the 60s. JFK was shot. MLK Jr. was shot. Malcolm X was shot. Each team Columbia had to request an extension on its permits, it made concessions, usually in terms of providing more facilities in the community gym (olympic size swimming pool? sure. basketball courts? no problem. etc.) By 1968 the city refused to grant Columbia any more extensions. The harlem politicians who'd supported it 7 years before, no longer found it politically expedient to do so in a radicalized atmosphere.

      Columbia was hardly an angel and did lots of stupid stuff. Building a "racist" gym wasn't one of them.

  13. Snarky Fact Fiend

    St. John the Divine reopened last fall after construction to repair the damage from a 2001 fire. The "over 100 years of construction" are not, in fact, over.

  14. up and comer  

    ptssh move over Spicy Special. The London Bridge is already turning into the next great thing.

  15. up and comer my ass.

    it's simply cajun turkey, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes, and mayo on a hero, hot.

    And the london bridge has been around as long as the spicy special, it's just ultra lame.

  16. ahem

    one stop shopping for columbia history facts:

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