Admissions Blog

Meet Manhattanville!

By Julia Anderson Crane '23
Posted Feb 24 2023

One of the best parts of having this new campus is the chance for students to further explore the Harlem Community. If you are exiting College Walk onto Broadway and take a right, about a 10-minute walk away you will begin to see tall, glass and metal, modern buildings rising up alongside the classic Harlem brick architecture. You are now looking at Columbia’s newest campus, Manhattanville.  

The vision for the Manhattanville campus started in 2003 and began years of blueprinting, designing, and properly zoning the 17-acre space to take it from former meatpacking and dairy warehouses to an academic space with a community focus. Before striking ground at the Manhattanville site, President Lee C Bollinger and former President Julio Batista worked with the West Harlem Local Development Cooperation to sign a unique partnership entitled the West Harlem Community Benefits Agreement. This campus is now home to the Columbia Business School, and the future home to The Climate School. Additionally, the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts and The Forum, a community space that is open to the public and has free Wifi, are also nestled in Manhattanville. 

Manhattanville and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer regarding delicious food and things to do. These are a list of some of my favorites:

Dear Mama: If you are walking down 129th, right before you hit the Plaza, you will find my favorite study spot. Dear Mama is the perfect combination of coffee shop, study spot, and music venue all wrapped into an open, light-filled space with an indoor/outdoor feel. Hint: They have free coffee tastings on Tuesdays!

Vital Climbing: If you are a bouldering fanatic, or, if you don’t even know what I mean when I say bouldering, Vital Climbing is a place worth checking out.  This is a climbing gym located right at the bottom of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center. Bouldering is free climbing (no ropes are harnesses!) and Vital has routes ranging in difficulty from  beginner to extreme (I am talking almost hanging upside down.)  Shoe rental is available and hand chalk is provided. If climbing is not your thing, you can use some of the strength and cardio equipment they have available… or just play ping pong while you watch your friends. 

The Wallach Art Gallery: Located in the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts, the Wallach Art Gallery is open every day from 12-6pm and showcases art that takes different cultural and diverse approaches. For instance, the current exhibition is on Contemporary Cuban art and the space has hosted artists such as Nancy Holt and Xu Bing. The gallery also offers public and educational programs for the community to foster interaction and discussion with different exhibitions. 

Baylander Steel Beach: In the warmer months, one of my favorite sunset views is from Baylander Steel Beach. A retired Vietnam War Ship that was then used by multiple nations to practice in-motion military helicopter landings, the ship has now found its home off the 125th Street Pier. Serving delicious, themed cocktails, beer, wine, and a full-service menu, you can relax with a nice breeze and watch the sunset with a view of the tip of Manhattan. 

Bonus Suggested Event, Uptown Night Markets: From May to October, once a month, the road underneath the Harlem Arches closes and turns into an all-out food and music celebration. You can find cuisine from around the world that is served in restaurants right in the Harlem community. Grab a drink and listen to local music, or eat a bite and shop around at local craft displays. The best thing? Admission is free, just remember cash for all the amazing food you will eat!

So if your travels bring you to Columbia soon, don't forget to take a trip to Manhattanville. You will not be disappointed!