With midterms season slowly coming to an end, we all need a well-deserved break. If you’re staying in the city over fall break and are looking for ways to relieve some pent-up midterm stress, here are some fun and, most importantly, cheap ways for you to escape the Morningside bubble and explore the city.
Walk the High Line
Walking around the High Line––a freight rail line that was turned into a public park––is a great way to spend one of your afternoons this upcoming fall break. Stretching through West Village from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, it overlooks the Hudson River and its many gardens and statues, making for a very pleasant stroll. On Saturday, Nov. 2, you can even catch a free tour of the High Line, where you’ll get to learn all the history behind its design and architecture.
Visit the Belvedere Castle in Central Park
Instead of a simple walk through Central Park to admire all the fall foliage, why not visit the Belvedere Castle? It’s one of Central Park’s many hidden gems. Overlooking a pond and the Great Lawn, its many decks offer great views of the park from above. You can visit for free or take a tour offered by the Central Park Conservancy to learn about the castle’s history and preservation. Tickets are $15.
Explore the Museum of Modern Art
After months of renovations, MoMA finally reopened its doors on Oct. 21 to the public! With new installations and spaces for live performances, you can visit and admire light and sound installations, such as Haegue Yang’s Handles and David Tudor’s Rainforest V (variation 1). With a current semester validation sticker, Columbia students get free admission, so make sure to get an updated sticker before you go!
Take the tramway and visit Roosevelt Island
With one swipe of your MetroCard, you can take the tramway on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue to Roosevelt Island. Although it is just a short three- to four-minute ride, you can still enjoy views of the Upper East Side and the East River. On Roosevelt Island, there are many interesting, unknown spots to visit. On the southern end of the island, you can walk through the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park and admire some spectacular views of the city and river. Alternatively, considering it is still “spooky” season, you can also visit the ruins of the smallpox hospital that used to operate on the island, known as the Renwick Ruins. Its rundown exterior can make for a very spooky nighttime visit.
Try to get standby tickets to your favorite late-night talk show
Free tickets for late-night talk shows taped in New York are usually reserved online months in advance of the actual taping. Alternatively, you can try and get standby tickets the morning of the taping. Standby tickets are distributed in the morning and do not guarantee entry; you will be allowed in only if there are cancellations. Usually, the first few people in line will be able to get in. Depending on the guest coming on the day you decide to try and get tickets, you may need to camp out from around 12 a.m. to 1 a.m., or even earlier if it is someone very popular. If you bring a couple of friends, it can make for a very unique experience, especially if you are one of the first people in line to get tickets.
Go to a flea market
Shop for vintage clothes, jewelry, furniture, and art at one of New York’s many flea markets. One of the biggest markets, the Grand Bazaar, is located near campus—on the Upper West Side—and happens every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Alternatively, if you’d rather leave the Upper West Side bubble and explore more of the city, you can go to Brooklyn Flea, opening this weekend on Nov. 2 and 3 in Williamsburg with the Smorgasburg winter market as their last event of the year.