NYC Living Guide

NYC Living Guide

Navigating NYC can be difficult but here are some tips to get around:

Walking is the easiest way to get around NYC. It is generally safe to walk in the city, even at night. Some neighborhoods are safer than others, so be aware of your surroundings at all times. That means you aren't listening to headphones or gazing at your phone. Walking through a park at night is generally not a good idea.

Manhattan is a giant grid. Avenues run north-south and streets run east-west, with lower numbered streets starting in lower Manhattan and lower numbered avenues starting in the east. Most streets and avenues are one way traffic for vehicles. Typically the odd-numbered streets have traffic that runs east to west.

The NYC subway is the oldest and one of the largest metro systems in the world. It is run by the MTA and operates 24 hours a day. Each ride is $2.75 and you need a MetroCard to ride. You can buy a MetroCard for $1 at most subway stations. TC is nearest to the 116th St 1 train stop, but the 125th Street A/B/C/D stop is also close by. Check the subway map for more information.

Trains are fast and convenient, but can be unreliable at times. Check the MTA Website for current service status regularly. Lines are organized by color. Lines with the same color run via the same avenue in Manhattan. For example, the A, C, and E trains are all blue and run via 8th Avenue. Some trains within a color are express, meaning they skip certain stops. The A trains run express and the C and E trains are local. Local trains stop at every stop. Late nights the express trains run local.

NYC buses are also run by the MTA. MetroCards or exact change work on buses and the cost is also $2.75. Buses typically stop every 2 blocks, whereas the subway typically stops every 6 blocks. You cannot buy a MetroCard on a bus and they do not accept dollar bills. Buses can be beneficial because they run cross-town, meaning they go east to west along a major street such as 34th Street. This can be an easy way to get across Manhattan.

Taxis & Ride Services 
Taxis are the most convenient way to get from one destination to another, but are also the most expensive. You hail a taxi by raising your hand on the street and they will pick you up. Tell them your destination and they will take you. Drivers will usually request the street and cross street. All NYC taxis accept credit cards and cash. Yellow cabs can pick up riders anywhere. Green cabs can pick up riders only north of 110th Street.

There are also a number of ride services in NYC, such as Uber, Lyft, Via, etc. These services are popular and may be cheaper than NYC taxis at times. You install an app on your phone and can call a car from there. The service will then charge your credit card via your app and you never have to take out your wallet.


As a TC student, you get free admission to nearly 30 museums in New York City. Each year, you can get a validation sticker for your TC identification card from our office. 

Get discounted tickets to hundreds of off-campus arts events at the city's leading performance spaces, including Broadway, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, and more. 

Get discounted movie vouchers to New York City’s leading movie theaters.

For more information on things to do in NYC, visit: The Official Guide to NYC

As you move into your Morningside Heights on-campus unit, you'll notice a vast array of restaurants, shops, and activities in the neighborhood. We have put together a Morningside Heights Local Guide so you can more easily find department stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, gyms, and restaurants. Additionally, here are some local points of interest:

  • Morningside Park: Between 123rd St and 110th St one block east of campus. Playgrounds, walking paths, sports courts, dog park.
  • Riverside Park: All along the Hudson River two blocks west of campus. Running paths, picnic areas, beautiful scenery.
  • Central Park: 110th St & Frederick Douglass Blvd. Top of the park is very close and has many paths and open areas.
  • Grant's Tomb: 122nd St & Riverside Drive. Federal monument & tomb of former US President Ulysses S. Grant.
  • Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine: 112th St & Amsterdam. One of the largest churches in the world. TC Convocation is held here.

Food Access & Assistance: The Food Pantry at Columbia University

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