Welcome to New York!

Whether you’re new here or have lived in NYC your whole life, you’re probably wondering about your housing options in and around the Teachers College area.

Below, some of our current students and staff members share their favorite things about the neighborhoods they call home. If the neighborhood you’re thinking of moving to isn’t listed below, or you want more information, we recommend checking out Airbnb or StreetEasy‘s neighborhood guides.


“I live in Central Harlem and love it! I am currently sharing a two-bedroom at Malcolm X and 132nd with one roommate. The rent is very affordable, and we even managed to snag a large private outdoor space on a budget. I’ve found the people to be incredibly friendly and the overall vibe to be much calmer and more community-oriented than lower Manhattan and many parts of Brooklyn. My favorite nearby restaurants include Lido, Sylvia’s, BLVD, BO’s Bagels, and Peque. My walking commute to TC is about 22 minutes through some beautiful streets in Harlem. I can also walk to Central Park in 20 minutes!”

“I live on campus at Bancroft Hall. Being in the area between Morningside Heights and West Harlem, I see all the diversity among my neighbors. There are families, students, elderly, newlyweds–pretty much an assortment of people from all walks of life. My commute is simple given I live across the street from TC. That means I’m always on time (well, sorta). I highly recommend living on campus to new students! It’s very convenient and makes the typical busy grad school life much easier.”

“I live right at the top of the Upper West Side (UWS) and Central Park, and love the location! Living in this area, you have access to the B/C and the 1 trains, which will get you virtually everywhere in NYC. My commute is a 15 minute walk to TC; when I’m not in a rush I love to walk through Columbia’s main campus and sit on the steps with the other students. The UWS is a very laid back, calm place to live, especially when comparing it to other places in the city! There are great bars and restaurants along Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus. A few of my personal favorites are The Heights, Amity Hall, West End Hall, and Arts and Crafts (they do trivia every Sunday). Mama’s Pizza and Koronet Pizza are also two of my favorite pizza places in the city, both easy walking distances from TC. I am also a short 20 minute walk to Columbus Square, which houses some great places such as TJ Maxx and Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s is also a short walking distance away as well. I really enjoy having the ability to take a quick stroll into Central Park to read a book or get a nice walk in!”

“The Upper West Side of Manhattan stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street on the west side of Central Park, and I live at the northern end of that. It’s an ideal place to live as a member of the Columbia community. I live within easy walking distance of TC (about 15-20 minutes), and when I have extra time, I can even stroll home through beautiful Riverside Park. At the same time, I’m south of 110th Street, so I get a bit of separation from Columbia at the end of the day. My neighborhood has easy access to the 1 train, Central and Riverside Parks, and great bars and restaurants, but it is also calmer and more residential than areas farther south. This neighborhood has local gems like Absolute Bagels, Sal & Carmines Pizza, Richie’s Burger Joint, and Flor de Mayo, but there’s also easy access to Columbus Square, a shopping center with large chain stores like Whole Foods, TJMaxx, Michael’s, and Sephora.”

“I have since moved out of the City, but prior to doing so I lived on the Upper East Side and loved it! Notoriously, the UES is a bit quieter and more family-oriented than the UWS, but I found the peacefulness of it quite enjoyable. There are plenty of adorable dogs to see, and quaint, safe, tree-lined streets to stroll along. There are also plenty of new businesses, restaurants, and bars popping up in the area as more and more people seem to be heading over to the eastern side of Manhattan. You also can’t beat the proximity to Central Park; having the ability to pop in the park for a walk, run, or just to sit on the lawn was a major plus of living on the UES. I was near 72nd Street and 2nd Ave, so just a short walk from the 4/5/6 subway line, with several city bus routes to choose from (M86, M79, M72, M66). The 2nd Avenue (Q) subway line is also new to the area, making commuting from the East side even easier. To get to Morningside Heights, I was taking the 4/5/6 subway uptown to 125th Street-Harlem and then the Columbia University Shuttle Bus (or M60 Select Bus) across town; the total commute took about an hour. In terms of eats, I was no stranger to the local Chipotle and Just Salad, with the occasional visit to one of the many restaurants in the area like Bareburger, Pio Pio, Uva, J.G. Melon, EJ’s, or The Meatball Shop.”

“My favorite neighborhood in the city is also the one I just happen to live in: Hell’s Kitchen! Although the name might not initially bring to mind images of cozy tree-lined streets and bustling sidewalk cafes, this is actually the reality of what awaits you there! HK stretches across Midtown West from around 40th Street up to 59th, and from 8th avenue all the way to the Hudson River. Within this rectangular block of NYC, you will find early risers jogging along the water, dogs of every shape and size being walked (or sometimes pushed in strollers–always a good laugh), and groups of friends on the lookout for their next adventure! I love the perfect balance between active crowds on their way to a Broadway theater nestled in the neighborhood, and the quieter pockets where a secret garden or a tiny park may surprise you around a corner. If you’re someone who enjoys theater, you’ll very much appreciate the vibrant, artistic energy in the air here: you’ll often spy performers running their lines over happy hour drinks, and it’s impossible to settle in at a Starbucks without noticing at least one patron working on their latest script. Although you’ll never run out of things to do between the abundance of restaurants, shows, and tours, you’re also minutes away from every major subway line to whisk you off to all other amazing areas of the city! P.S. – Here’s an insider’s secret HK tip: if you don’t mind a dive bar and are on a low budget, be sure to visit Rudy’s for a free hot dog and popcorn with every drink!”


I live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, but I previously lived on-campus in Bancroft student houses. My first year on campus, the commute was only a block away, but I really appreciate living in Brooklyn, which is a 45 minute to 1 hour commute depending on train traffic. I live near the B/Q line; however, the A/C/F/R is just a short walk away. Living in Brooklyn and going to school in Harlem, I have the best of both worlds! There are tons of things to do, and every neighborhood in Brooklyn is bustling with new and exciting places to go such as the new Brooklyn Bridge Pier 3 Park. There is such an eclectic crowd in Brooklyn, I’m always learning new things about people from all different backgrounds, professions, and interests.”

“I’ve lived in a few neighborhoods over the years, but one of my favorites is Astoria! Astoria is located in Queens, commonly known for its traditional ethnic eateries, proximity to Manhattan, appeal to both families and young professionals, and fairly reasonable rent prices. I lived on 30th Ave and 29th Street (in a pretty spacious apartment!) for six years, and with each passing year, I could see the area becoming more and more popular. Astoria is conveniently located just 15 to 20 minutes outside of Midtown Manhattan and a quick bike ride away from Brooklyn. You’ll feel the sense of your own community in Astoria and still have greater NYC at your fingertips. In terms of getting to TC, I had two options for my commute to Morningside–both averaging about 45 minutes to an hour. Some days, I’d hop on the M60 Bus from Astoria Blvd.; other days, I’d take the N train to Times Square and then hop on the 1. Outside of work hours, some of my favorite things to do in Astoria included: going for walks through Socrates Sculpture Park, jogging around Astoria Park while taking in views of the NYC skyline (also a great place to enjoy movies, concerts, or a picnic), taking bikes ride around the neighborhood, or enjoying food, drinks, and good conversation with friends and family at Taverna Kyclades, Queens Comfort, King of Falafel, or the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden.”

New Jersey/Westchester

“I’m currently living in downtown Jersey City, NJ. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Sixth Borough’, JC has become a top destination for city dwellers and tourists alike due to its booming restaurant scene and nightlife. Conveniently located a 12-minute PATH ride from NY Penn Station, downtown JC offers spectacular waterfront views of lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center. One of my favorite activities is jogging on the Newport boardwalk with my dogs because the views almost make me forget I’m running! If trying new foods is your thing, Jersey City offers a great selection of international cuisine at budget-friendly prices. Housing options are abundant in Jersey City; it seems a new housing development is being built every month. Hands down the best thing about JC is the diversity, as the city recently reclaimed the title of being the most diverse city in the U.S.”

“I live in lower Westchester and really enjoy the balance that this provides for my life at TC. With a 25 minute Metro-North train ride to 125th Street and a crosstown bus, the total commute takes about an hour. This gives me tons of time to read books and listen to podcasts each day. I’ve really benefited from the having this literal and figurative separation between TC and home. It allows me to decompress at the end of each day. Apartment costs in Westchester can certainly vary, but there are bargains to be found in many towns close to the city.”

“I live outside the city in Rockland County, NY, about 30 minutes north of the George Washington Bridge. It isn’t the easiest area to commute from; however, there are a variety of transportation options: a ferry to the Metro-North train, several train stations in the county that are a part of NJ Transit lines, various bus lines, or driving. Rockland itself is a wonderful suburban area. It’s a bit quieter than the city but there are still a lot of interesting businesses and events in the area.”

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