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Packing for NYC
What to Pack in Your Carry-On
Have these accessible at the port of entry.
U.S. Currency and credit card from home (if necessary).
With home-country driver's license.
Or contact lenses (if necessary).
In case of unexpected delays (Optional)
New York City Weather
What to Expect
The subway system is extensive and avoids street traffic. It’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day! With a total of 656 miles of passenger tracks, it serves 4 of the 5 boroughs of NYC; Staten Island has its own rail service.
Buses are a great way to get around if you’re not in a hurry. It’s interesting to look out the window and observe the changing neighborhoods. The buses that run closest to Columbia Morningside campus are the M104, M4, M60, and the M5. Each borough has its own bus routes, map and schedule.
Columbia’s Zagster bike share program means all students and staff can access a bicycle 24/7. Citi Bike is the nation's largest bike share program, with stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. Designed for quick trips with convenience in mind, it’s a fun and affordable way to get around town. Learn more at Transportation at Columbia.
They are yellow or green with a medallion number on top of the roof. If it is lit up and says on-duty it is available to wave down. There is a metered fare that you may pay with credit card or cash. It is customary to tip 10-20%.
MetroCards are electronic fare cards for use on subways and buses in the five boroughs. Choose between refillable "debit" cards or unlimited weekly and monthly cards. MetroCards are available for purchase in all subway stops.
Need to travel between Columbia campuses? Use the Intercampus shuttle to get to, from, and between Columbia campuses.
Food, Furniture, Museums and Post Offices
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Columbia has one of the largest university collections in the United States (over 21 libraries with almost 12 million volumes). It is a fantastic resource for anyone studying, conducting research, or teaching at Columbia. Become familiar with all its services and research support.
If you're a visiting scholar, see their policy for borrowing privileges.
Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT)'s technology services provide Columbia with central computing and communications including: telephones, email, web publishing, computer labs / electronic classrooms, course management and student information applications, office and administrative applications, high-speed campus Ethernet and wireless networks.
Safety and Wellness
- At night, take the well-lit and well-traveled paths. Avoid shortcuts through dark or isolated areas.
- Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to call for an escort—your safety, well-being, and peace of mind are at stake.
- Be prepared and ready with your keys before you approach your residence hall, apartment, home, or automobile.
- If you think someone is following you, don’t lead him or her to your destination—instead, abruptly change directions and go into a store or restaurant that is open.
- Be aware of your valuables and belongings, such as your backpack, handbag, or wallet. Even if you’re in a “safe” place for a short time, take them with you rather than leave them behind.
- When taking the bus or subway, use well-lit, and preferably well-peopled, stations
- Protect your privacy online and be aware of scams on the phone, street and online. Be alert to phishing.