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Congratulations on getting into Barnumbia! Now that many of you are beginning to make a more definite decision about where you’ll go to school, Required Reading’s going to start getting into the nitty-gritty details about life in MoHi. Subscribe to never miss a beat.

Morningside Heights (or as the kiddies like to say, MoHi [pronounced “moe-high,” not “moe-hee”]) is the area between 110th and 125th Street north-south, and between Riverside and Morningside Park east-west. It’s a nice little neighborhood because you get to avoid some of the hustle and bustle of the city and still have a direct route into its heart (via the 1 train).

Even though MoHi isn’t particularly big, there’s still a handful of things to do there, all of which we’ll focus on this week as we kick off the next installment of Required Reading. Today, we’ll focus on parks: Riverside vs. Morningside. What is each one like, and whats the best place in the area to get your daily dose of vitamin D?

Riverside Park

Distance covered: 125th to 72nd Street

Riverside is the more frequented of the two MoHi parks (for reasons we’ll get into later). If you’re the kind to start your day off in the wee hours of the morning with a jog, you’ll be in the company of a handful of CU students.

As far as parks go, Riverside is good if you want to go running or biking, but besides that it’s relatively bland. If you go down closer to the highway, you have a pretty good view of the Hudson River and New Jersey skyline. The tulips are also pretty nice, but besides that it’s pretty much a running trail, so not really good for picnicking or anything. However, if you feel adventurous and want to journey beyond 110th, here are our recommendations:

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Morningside Park

Distance covered: 123rd to 110th Street

Riverside Park marks the western border of MoHi, and Morningsidethe eastern. Students don’t go here as frequently for a number of reasons. First of all, you have to walk for centuries down an ancient staircase, meaning that you have to walk for centuries back up. Secondly, it’s not as pretty as Riverside and just looks a little less maintained.

Lastly, it has a reputation. When you get here for NSOP, you’ll always hear people say, “Don’t go into Morningside Park at night,” but that’s true for any park tbh. Trust us, it’s perfectly safe during the day—there’s a playground where parents will bring their kids and everything—but that doesn’t mean you should go there (or any park) at night.

On the positive side though, Morningside Park boasts a pretty nice view of the back of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Where else can you soak up some vitamin D?

Don’t underestimate the campus—Columbia looks nothing like the concrete jungle of New York, and whenever the weather is nice, people are sure to flock to:

  • Low Steps (also known as Low Beach)
  • Butler Lawns
  • the lawns outside of Lewisohn Hall
  • the lawns outside of Philosophy Hall

Even though it’s not technically in MoHi, Central Park isn’t far from campus at all, perhaps a 10-15 minute walk. It’s probably the nicest outdoor space in the area, as it has trails for biking and running, a great view of some of New York’s tallest skyscrapers, and a picturesque pond good for picnicking not too far from campus.

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And as we said before, you have a great resource (the 1 train), which makes it really easy to get to most places in the city. If you’re ever feeling like you need to get out, or just get some sun, and MoHi isn’t doing it for you, there’s always something beyond 110th.

Know any other outdoor spaces in or near MoHi? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Veronica Grace Taleon is Spectrum’s editor and a Barnard sophomore. She recently bought a bicycle and is too scared to use it on the streets, so she’s resorted to the sidewalks of Riverside Park. Reach her at veronica.taleon@columbiaspectator.com.

required reading parks cu bc riverside central park morningside riverside park morningside park
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