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I am debating between schools and wanted to know how the New York area was, in particular Columbia.

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I am debating between schools and wanted to know how the New York area was, in particular Columbia.

New York is an amazing city -- yeah, it's challenging sometimes, but the payoff is very worth it. Every single person I've known who's moved here and stuck around has grown exponentially as a person. If you move here, don't forget to spend time in the non-Manhattan boroughs. There's so much life out there -- beautiful old homes, green spaces, GREAT and cheap food, and easy access to public transportation of some sort.

Morningside Heights, where the Columbia campus is, is a pretty cool area. Some people call it Harlem but on the west side Harlem doesn't really begin until 125th St, so if it's any concern Morningside Heights still counts as the good old yuppie Upper West Side. Walk around the side streets a bit and you'll see some slightly shabbier rent-controlled apartments inhabited by Puerto Ricans and Dominicans -- that and some of the housing projects on Central Park North are the only signs that the neighborhood still hasn't been 100% gentrified. The gentrification hasn't hurt Morningside Heights' character too badly; it's all about the campus, and the churches, and the park, and the hills and trees. It's one of the most beautiful parts of Manhattan (if you're ever feeling adventurous, check out Washington Heights and Inwood as well).

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Guest butterfly

To those of you who are graduate students in NYC, how do you make it work financially? Where do you live? Do you take out loans? Use up your inheritance? Survive on Ramen noodles? Or just spend all your waking hours in the library so as not to expend any extra income? Just wondering. . .

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Ups: It is a great and exciting city. You have to live it to understand it. It is diverse and culturally there are not many cities in the world where so many things are happening as in NY. Also, the academic environment is great, and increasingly interesting with so many important professors coming here. The consortium (Columbia, NYU, Princeton, New School) is also a great opportunity.

Downs: It is ridiculously expensive. You may pay 1500 dlls for a crappy room in an apt. in Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are cheaper, but still expensive upon broader comparison. I know some Columbia dorms are way cheaper than that, though. But many people I know complain about them.

Another thing is that some people living here really suck. They have dellusions of grandeur, and why can do nothing but wonder WHY. For example, NY has some great restaurants, but most of them have rude artists (waiters) with McDonald's complex that make them suck. In fact, service in general is quite crappy. You have to yell at some people for them to function, which is awkward considering that all of them are 'oh, so cool'.

Also, regardless of what we may think, the city is quite divided culturally.

In any case, it is definetely a great place to live. You end up getting used to the bad stuff, and the lack of money. But most importantly, you will defineteoly grow as a person since you will be in touch with many things you wouldn't find unless you live in similar places like London, maybe Paris, Hong Kong, etc. you know the deal.

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I've been in NY for the past 6 years doing undergrad, working, etc. Never with any real amount of money. It's worked out fine for me and a lot of other people I know.

1. Apartments: Cheaper apartment shares that aren't in Manhattan. Astoria in Queens, and several areas in Brooklyn are nice and very quick on the subway (10-20 minutes) often have shares (your own room in a 3-4 bedroom apartment) for $500-600. If you want to spend more, there are other options ... but you can get by on that much.

2. Transit: You don't need a car so the main transportation expense is only $76 for an unlimited monthly metrocard.

3. Food: Sure, there are lots of expensive restaurants, but there are also a lot of places to eat cheaply. There are often really good / cheap lunch specials, and there are always some inexpensive options in any area. Cooking helps a lot too. Watch out for super overpriced Manhattan supermarkets, but freshdirect.com is a good alternative with cheaper (but good quality) groceries and delivery.

4. Entertainment: Again, plenty of expensive options, but also a lot of free / cheap ones. You can take advantage of student rush tickets at the opera/ballet/symphony and other places. Wandering around and hanging out at Central park are both free. There are tons of other things to do like that, too ...

It's not easy, but very doable. I guess at the end of the day New York can be really expensive if you want it to, but it doesn't have to be.

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To those of you who are graduate students in NYC, how do you make it work financially? Where do you live? Do you take out loans? Use up your inheritance? Survive on Ramen noodles? Or just spend all your waking hours in the library so as not to expend any extra income? Just wondering. . .

My only financial aid was a small scholarship that barely put a dent into my tuition (no stipend or fellowship), so I worked full-time to pay rent, etc. I started working part-time and had to take out extra loans to cover my expenses.

I think that there is a maximum amount of loan money that you can take out per year, which is not a problem in most areas of the country but can be limiting when living in NYC.

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Guest TCgirl

Just found out I got into NYU! Does anybody know anything about NYUs grad housing? Will a 23K stipend be enough to survive NYC?

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Guest dave
Just found out I got into NYU! Does anybody know anything about NYUs grad housing? Will a 23K stipend be enough to survive NYC?

When I went to my interview weekend, I stayed with some people in the student housing the Stuvey-something town - it was alright, two bedrooms and small kitchen. I think they said it was 800 a mo which is pretty cheap for manhattan. Apparently it's not promised though

Talk to whoever your coordinator person is - I was able to secure housing if I choose to go there....

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Guest guest

What about stores with cheap clothes, linens? Coming from far away, I cannot get all my stuff with me, so I need to go some shopping when I get yo NYU. The NYU housing doesn't loan linens or pillows or whatsonot, so how far do I have to travel to get reasonably priced merchandise?

Also, thanks for the tip with the freshdirect.com. Will be needing it. Their delivery service is definitely a plus, as with no car and not much free time, grocery shopping can be a hassle.

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Guest kn0519

Thanks for the replies to this topic so far. I've been concerned/wondering about how grad students survive as well. I've been applying for any scholarship I can get my hands on and saving as much money as I can while I'm working full-time. Is anyone planning to stay on-campus? I've heard that it's cheaper to get an apartment but I didn't want to be worried about trying to find a roommate to split the rent with, trying to find my way around NYC, and this stuff I keep hearing about having to get a cosigner for a lease.

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Guest guest

I am planning to stay on campus for the first year because I do not want to worry about finding a place and roomates now. PhD students supported through the MacCracken fellowship will be offered subsidized housing (2Bedroom appts), which is about 800/month.

Know of any other scholarships one can apply for?

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Guest guest

I go to school in NY. There are plenty of cheap food places, lots of cheap places to buy things. Stay away from fifth avenue. Hit Canal Street. Lots of knock offs and clothing. chinese food is very cheap down in china town. little italy is a rip off. pizza is great all over new york. loads of other schools in ny so look to their web sites for free events. enjoy.

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Guest muse

There is actually a Kmart in Manhatten close to the mall! Haha... check it out.. Im sure its the cheapest store in the area... thats where Ill be getting necessities

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Guest brandeis alum

I know a friend who was an NYU student who lived in rent-controlled housing - it wasn't luxurious but it was a far cry from the usual crumbling, drug-infested depiction of housing projects. I think they paid $600/month at the time for a very small one-bedroom, and I believe it was actually her non-student fiance who rented the place, so maybe it's not open to students - but you never know. Can't hurt to ask.

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Guest mucagrl

I posted this on another forum and am looking for any and all input...

I've been accepted to NYU and Columbia. PhD. 23K stipends at both. Their programs are very similar in my field in terms of reputation and faculty. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each in terms of atmosphere, location, graduate housing, administration, etc...? Is 23K enough in NYC? Is there anything I should look out for when I visit both schools in a few weeks? Thanks!

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Not sure about the schools themselves, but as far as location is concerned, I prefer NYU. You'll have to think about where you're living, too. On 23K you might be living in Brooklyn or Queens and have to commute into the city (which a lot of people do). I know that NYU has grad student housing, but I'm not sure of the cost or availability.

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There are big chain stores (like Bed Bath & Beyond) where you can get linens and house supplies for cheap/on sale. And you can always buy things online!

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Guest Thrifty

I can't believe no one has mentioned this, but if you want stuff really cheap in nyc, try any of the thrift stores. There's tons of them. Salvation Army is the first that comes to mind, but a quick google search should find more. Keep in mind that because NYC is so big and diverse, different thrift stores will have completely different selections. Some might not even offer clothing (I know of one that only offers used supplies from operas), so you might need to look around to find what you want.

As far as housing goes, it might be smart to look into your campus' off campus housing program, which I know both NYU and Columbia offer.

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Oh, if you need a lot of stuff for your apartment you can always go to Ikea in Elizabeth, NJ. There is a free bus that goes there on the weekend from the bus station in manhattan. Granted, it's hard to fit a lot of stuff on the ride back, but if you need sheets and kitchen stuff it's not so bad. Much cheaper than bed bath and beyond.

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Guest muse

has anyone taken advantage of columbia's off-campus housing program? what was the price range of the rooms?

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Guest SIPA

Moved this from another thread...

Just got into Columbia University SIPA. I also just got a car. I know enough about NYC to know that it is just about the last place on earth you want to own a car. With that said, with a car I could live in the suburbs where it's cheaper, but then this raises issues about expensive parking. In addition, I have a lot of family and friends in the area, in every borough except Manhattan. I also am BROKE, like I literally have a few G's in savings.

So my question is, considering all the factors above, where should I live? Is it worth the commute to live out in the 'burbs, say, Yonkers? If not, what about just the outer boroughs (say, the Flushing neighborhood, Fordham in the Bronx), and should I bring my car? Or should I live in the city and hope my relatives wouldn't mind if I "kept" the car at his/her place? If I decided to drive to school, how much is monthly or yearly parking?

Also, if anyone can tell me how SIPA is like too, that would be great, because I can't seem to find any opinions on it beyond a lot of negative impressions from prospective students. It would be nice to hear it straight from the horse's mouth.

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Guest Andrewster

I live near Flushing right now and it's a pretty easy commute to Manhattan via the 7 (about 30 minutes), but it's likely 45 minutes to get all the way to Columbia. It would be insanely expensive to park your car in Manhattan for the school year, so I wouldn't go that way if you are lacking money.

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Not only would driving into manhattan be expensive, it would also be really stressful. If you really want to keep your car, you should still take the train on a daily basis. But honestly, there are lots of places in Brooklyn/Queens etc that are cheaper than living further away and having a car. The rent savings would basically cancel out the cost of a car.

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