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.