Scheduled and Customized Tours

Visit Experience Harlem NYC online to view all guide-led tours or customize your own Harlem NY experience!

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Self-Guided Tour

The Morningside Area Alliance’s namesake is a unique neighborhood in Manhattan known for its rich intellectual and cultural capital. One of the city’s greenest communities, Morningside Heights is an urban oasis surrounded by expansive parks, beautiful architecture, and open skies. We have included the highlights of the area for any visitor or neighbor who wants to embark on a day of outdoor exploration, arts engagement, and architectural history. Take 3 hours to enjoy the “best-of” the beautiful featured 14 sites and gems of this safe and bustling neighborhood!

TOUR ROUTE

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110th Street Subway Stop

The gateway to Morningside Heights by public transportation is the Red line, Number 1 subway stop of 110th Street.  Upon arrival, you will find a treasured 24-hour grocery store, Westside Market, and a bustling intersection of residential, school, and retail activities. Here is where you begin your tour and your exploration of Morningside Heights.

First stop: the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

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First Stop: The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

Starting at the 110th Street subway stop, you can begin your tour by walking east along 110th Street to Amsterdam Ave and going north to West 111th Street. You’ll hit the Peace Fountain at St. John the Divine first, and by walking further east you will find yourself in front of the Cathedral itself.

The cathedral, designed in 1888 and begun in 1892, has undergone radical stylistic changes and the interruption of the two World Wars. Originally designed in the Byzantine Revival-Romanesque Revival styles, the plan was changed after 1909 to a Gothic Revival design. After a large fire on December 18, 2001, it was closed for repairs and reopened in November 2008. It remains unfinished, with construction and restoration a continuing process. Among the largest churches in the world, the Gothic and Romanesque-style architecture also features an immense Guastavino tile dome. The Cathedral is home to the American Poets Corner, an altarpiece by Keith Haring, stained glass with images of inventors and artists, as well as wandering peacocks. The cathedral is additionally a major center for concert musical performances and its expansive exhibits shape contemporary discourse around art, social justice, and environmental themes.

At the west end of the nave, installed by stained glass artist Charles Connick and constructed out of 10,000 pieces of glass, is the largest rose window in the U.S. Seven chapels radiating from the ambulatory behind the choir are each in a distinctive nationalistic style, some of them borrowing from outside the Gothic vocabulary. The design of the chapels are meant to represent each of the seven most prominent ethnic groups to first immigrate to New York City upon the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, the same year the cathedral was begun. The church’s high altar features a wrought iron enclosure containing the Gothic style tomb of the Right Reverend Horatio Potter, Bishop of New York, the founder of the cathedral. The great west doors on Amsterdam Avenue were designed between 1927 and 1931 by the designer Henry Wilson. The bronze doors (unveiled as the “Golden Doors”) were installed in 1936.

On your visit be sure to stop by the Ithiel Town Building and the Peace Fountain at the Cathedral of Saint John. See our following blog posts for more information on the fabulous locations and how they add to the beauty of the Cathedral.

For a self-guided tour of the Cathedral, pick up a self-guided pamphlet at the Visitors Center desk. For more information on events at the Cathedral, visit http://www.stjohndivine.org/visit/calendar/events

Highlights Tour
Explore the many highlights of the Cathedral’s history, architecture, and artwork, from the Great Bronze Doors to the seven Chapels of the Tongues. Learn about the daily services, events, and programs that welcome and inspire visitors from around the world. This hour-long tour is offered Mondays, 11 am and 2 pm; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 am and 1 pm; and select Sundays, 1 pm. Tickets are $6 per person; $5 per student/senior.

Vertical Tour
On this adventurous, “behind-the-scenes” tour, climb more than 124 feet through spiral staircases to the top of the world’s largest cathedral. Learn stories through stained glass windows and sculpture and study the grand architecture of the Cathedral while standing on a buttress. The tour culminates on the roof with a sweeping view of Manhattan. This hour-long tour is offered Wednesdays, 12 pm, and Saturdays, 12 pm and 2 pm. Tickets are $15 per person; $12 per student/senior. To make reservations, please click here, or call (866) 811-4111.

Spotlight Tour
Spotlight Tours are specially created by Cathedral Guides to give visitors a closer look at unique aspects of the Cathedral’s extraordinary architecture, artwork, and history. Visit the Calendar to discover these many different “spotlights” on the Cathedral and to make reservations, or call (866) 811-4111. Tickets are $10 per person; $8 per student/senior, unless otherwise listed.

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
New York, NY 10025
Hours: The Cathedral is open 7:30 am – 6 pm daily.
The Visitor Center and Cathedral Shop are open 9 am – 5 pm daily.
(212) 316-7540
http://www.stjohndivine.org/

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At Cathedral of St. John the Divine: The Peace Fountain

Located next to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the Peace Fountain was built in 1985 by Greg Wyatt to depict the struggle of good and evil, shown by the archangel Michael vanquishing Satan.

The Peace Fountain was sculpted by Cathedral Artist-in-Residence Greg Wyatt to mark the 200th anniversary of the Diocese of New York in 1985. The 40 foot-high bronze sculpture weaves together several representations of the conflict between good and evil. Above, the Archangel Michael embraces one of nine giraffes (said to be the most peaceful of creatures) after his defeat of Satan. Below, the lion lies down with the lamb. The fountain’s spiraling base takes inspiration from the double-helix of DNA. On either side of the fountain, moon- and sun-like faces direct their gazes toward and away from Amsterdam Avenue.

Around the fountain’s basin are a series of small bronze animal sculptures created by K-12 students from New York City and tri-state area public, private, and parochial schools. Collectively known as the Children’s Sculpture Garden, they represent the diverse community the Cathedral strives to serve and represent.

Greg Wyatt is a sculptor and teacher who works primarily in bronze, emulating the tradition of Western realist sculpture and infusing it with his own spiritual and physical energy. His work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and appears in public spaces and on academic campuses throughout the 50 states. In the immediate neighborhood, his Scholar’s Lion can be found on the Columbia University campus at 116th Street.

The Peace Statue at Cathedral of St. John the Divine

1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
New York, NY 10025

Hours: The Cathedral’s gardens and grounds are open during daylight hours.
(212) 316-7540

http://www.stjohndivine.org/about/grounds/peace-fountain

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At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine: The Ithiel Town Building

On your visit to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, be sure to check out the oldest building in Morningside Heights: Ithiel Town Building.

Named for its designer, Ithiel Town, the Town Building is the oldest existing structure in the neighborhood of Morningside Heights. Town was the architect of Federal Hall and St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery, both still standing in southern Manhattan. The Town Building predates the Cathedral—it began as the Leake & Watts Orphanage, which opened in 1847, when the area was largely rural and agricultural, separated from the urban crush. The Orphanage moved to Yonkers when the Cathedral purchased the land in 1887.

The Town Building is a monumental Greek Revival temple, with two wings flanking its neoclassical facade of Ionic columns and triangular pediment over a raised portico. The columns are molded stucco over brick, with carved wooden capitals. The building’s east wing was removed in 1950 to create more open space on the Close. The remaining structure received much-needed repairs during a major restoration project, which ran from 2006 to through 2012.

The Town Building is the home of the Cathedral’s Textile Conservation Lab, as well as Cathedral Community Cares (CCC), the Cathedral’s social service and neighborhood outreach arm. In addition, it contains choir rehearsal rooms, a sacristy, and a parking lot coop that serves as home base for the Cathedral’s three resident peacocks, Phil, Jim, and Harry.

The Ithiel Town Building at Cathedral of St. John the Divine

1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
New York, NY 10025

Hours: The Cathedral is open 7:30 am – 6 pm daily.

The Visitor Center and Cathedral Shop are open 9 am – 5 pm daily.

The Cathedral’s gardens and grounds are open during daylight hours.
(212) 316-7540

http://www.stjohndivine.org/about/architecture/ithiel-town-building

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Second Stop: Gargoyles and Lobbies

After starting off at a prominent building at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, you may want to take a detour to appreciate the architecture of the residence buildings in the neighborhood. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip on to the third stop, by simply walking north to West 116th from the Cathedral to Columbia University.

We recommend this stop if you’d love to view the neo-Renaissance apartment buildings Morningside Heights is home to. The buildings feature marble lobbies, town houses with stained-glass windows and elegant accouterments that were built to set the style for the homes of the rich that were built later along Park and Fifth Avenues. The apartment buildings in the area feature beautiful marble lobbies that are extravagant and luxurious.

The Hamilton’s entrance at West 114th Street, at 420 Riverside Drive, features a huge elegant marble lobby with beautiful stained glass windows recently recreated by one of the building’s resident owners welcomes all who enter. Even the internal halls are carefully appointed, with original wrought iron railings and marble steps.

Equally impressive are the grand lobbies at The Ramona, located at 528 West 111th Street between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway; and The Rockfall, located at 545 West 111th Street, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway.

The building facades of Morningside are just impressive, with The Britannia, at 527 West 110th Street, and its gargoyles on its second floor balconies. The building, built in 1909, is divided into two wings and features two rows of fantastic gargoyles below the second floor balconies. The gargoyles were created to be “symbolic of some form of the homely art of housekeeping,” and at only ten feet up or so, any passerby can appreciate their design.

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From here, your tour continues to the prestigious Columbia University Campus, by walking north along Amsterdam Avenue up to West 116th Street, and entering the gates.

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Third Stop: Columbia University

After taking in the magnificence of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and the buildings in the neighborhood, your next stop involves more artistic and creative appreciation. Continue north on Amsterdam Avenue until West 116th Street, and enter the Columbia University campus to turn your attention to the splendor and academia that permeates the air in Columbia University. Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

Today, Columbia University is an international center of scholarship, with a pioneering undergraduate curriculum and renowned graduate and professional programs. Among the earliest students and trustees of King’s College were John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States; Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury; Governor Morris, the author of the final draft of the U.S. Constitution; and Robert R. Livingston, a member of the five-man committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. After the American Revolution, the University reopened in 1784 with a new name—Columbia—that embodied the patriotic fervor that had inspired the nation’s quest for independence. In 1897, the university moved from Forty-Ninth Street and Madison Avenue, where it had stood for fifty years, to its present location on Morningside Heights at 116th Street and Broadway.

For those in Columbia on a weekday, the Visitors Center, located in Low Library, offers free guided tours at 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and pamphlets available for self-guided tours. These pamphlets can also be found at: http://www.columbia.edu/content/self-guided-walking-tour.html

Columbia University Visitors Center

213 Low Library
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027-6902

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Free guided tour at 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

212-854-4900

http://www.columbia.edu/content/self-guided-walking-tour.html

 

Entering from the West 116th and Amsterdam Ave, turn right to see the first stop on the tour, Buell Hall.

 

Buell Hall

Located directly west of Low Memorial Library, on the second floor of the building is Columbia’s Maison Française. Check out our blog post “At Columbia University: Maison Française” for the rich and vivid history of the organization. Heading out of Buell Hall, head North to the next stop, St Paul’s Chapel.

 

St. Paul’s Chapel

St. Paul’s Chapel, designed by I. N. Phelps Stokes as a young architect, is a masterpiece of early-twentieth-century American religious architecture. Built in 1904 and designated a New York City landmark in 1966, St. Paul’s Chapel is nondenominational and provides a beautiful space for hundreds of events each year, including weekly religious services, weddings, lectures, memorials and concerts. The interior of St. Paul’s Chapel features furniture carved in Florence and stained glass designed by Maitland Armstrong and John La Farge. The Peace Altar was designed by George Nakashima. The entire floor of the building is paved with marble terrazzo in which are set fragments of porphyry, verd antique, and yellow marble. Three windows in the apse, the work of American artist John LaFarge, depict St. Paul preaching to the Athenians. Turn right to continue the tour at The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.

 

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery

Schermerhorn Hall’s eighth floor houses the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery (open Wednesday – Saturday 1-5pm) which aims to contribute to Columbia University’s long-standing tradition of historical, critical, and creative engagement in the visual arts. Modeled on a laboratory, the gallery presents exhibitions and related programming that reflect the diversity of interests and approaches to the arts at Columbia and embody the university’s high standards for research and instruction.
Operating under the auspices of the Department of Art History and Archaeology, the gallery was established in 1986 through the generosity of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach. Since that time, many exhibitions covering a broad range of art-historical periods and styles have been initiated by the gallery, with graduate students, faculty, and other scholars serving as curators.

Works are drawn from public and private collections as well as from university collections. Recent exhibitions, each accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with a critical essay, have included Architecture in Print: Design and Debate in the Soviet Union 1919-1935; Settlement and Sanctuary on Cyprus from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages; and The Troubled Search: The Work of Max Abramovitz.

Next up, head back down to the South Lawn, opposite the steps of the Low Memorial Library.

South Lawn

Now in front of you to the south, was the home of the athletic playing fields until 1922. And if you’re visiting on a balmy spring day, it’s a great place to sit and take in the University. Columbia
alumnus Lou Gehrig played baseball here. The athletic fields are now located at Baker Athletics Complex (218th Street and Broadway). The uptown complex includes our football stadium, soccer stadium, baseball and softball diamonds, boathouse, and tennis center. The original design of Columbia did not contain South Campus, but in the early part of the twentieth century when the land was acquired, it became the site of the University’s sports fields and dormitories. When you’re ready, it’s worth going up the steps across the path from Buell Hall.

Low Memorial Library

This prominent building, celebrated as an example of purely classical architecture, was completed in
1897 and served as the main library until 1934. The Low Memorial Library vestibule is the grand, high-ceilinged space outside the Visitors Center, decorated with a statue of Athena and other traditional symbols of learning. Today this landmark building functions as the administrative center of the University and the offices of the President and the Provost. Continue straight ahead into the Low Memorial Library Rotunda. One of the most impressive features of Low is its rotunda topped by the largest all-granite dome in the country and designed to recall the Pantheon in Rome. The rotunda, originally the Library’s main reading room, is now used for exhibitions and major University events. Built in the Roman classical style, Low Library appears in the New York City Register of Historic Places. A broad flight of steps descends from Low Library to an expansive plaza, a popular place for students to gather. Low Plaza has been described as one of the great urban spaces in America. It was built to resemble a Greek amphitheater and is ideal for outdoor events including concerts, theatrical performances, and fairs. Students flock to the plaza steps to sunbathe, socialize, and study, making it in the words of a leading architect, a true “urban beach.” Watching over the plaza is Alma Mater, a bronze sculpture by Daniel Chester French, famous for his statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Heading west from the library, the building to the right of you will be Earl Hall.

Earl Hall

The building directly west of the Low Memorial Library, Earl Hall is Columbia’s religious and community service headquarters. Dedicated in 1902, it is one of the oldest buildings on campus. The University Chaplain and campus ministers have offices here along with more than 50 religious, political, and community service groups. Through these organizations, approximately 850 student volunteers working with Columbia’s Community Impact program, serve more than 1,000 people weekly, addressing community needs for tutoring, social service referrals, food, and more. Once you view Earl Hall, you’re ready to hit the pavement of Morningside Heights again.

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Maison Francaise at Columbia University

Founded in 1913, the Maison Française of Columbia University is the oldest French cultural center established on an American university campus. It is a meeting place for students, scholars, business leaders, policy-makers and all persons seeking a better understanding of the French-speaking world. The Columbia Maison Française fosters intellectual and cultural exchange between the United States and France, Europe, and the French-speaking world. Its rich program of events stimulates debate, spotlights innovative scholarship, promotes dialogue across disciplines, and contributes to international and cross-cultural understanding. Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, playwright Eugene Ionesco, French mime Marcel Marceau, Marshal Joseph Joffree (a French general during World War I), and others performed and spoken at the Maison Française in the past.

Maison Française at Columbia University
Buell Hall, 2nd floor
515 West 116th Street, MC 4990
New York, NY 10027
212-854-4482
http://maisonfrancaise.org/centennial/columbia-maison-francaise

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What’s Next?

Now that you’ve finished visiting the distinguished Columbia University, head to Broadway. There you’ll find examples of New York’s infamous food truck scene – an excellent dining option for the walking tourist! Grab a cup of coffee and a snack and then plot your next stop on the tour.

You can either continue your Morningside tour north along Broadway or north along Claremont Avenue.

For your FIRST OPTION, our recommended route, you’ll leave Columbia from the exit by Earl Hall and cross the street to stop by the beautiful gates of Barnard College.

Barnard College

Barnard College is one of the nation’s most prestigious women’s colleges and a member of the Seven Sisters. Barnard College today is known for its alumni and their leadership in arts and politics. Notable alumnae include: Joan Rivers, Cynthia Nixon, and Martha Stewart.

From Barnard, you’ll find another prestigious academic institution in the neighborhood by walking north along Amsterdam Ave to 120th Street, where you will find yourself at Union Theological Seminary.

Union Theological Seminary

Union Theological Seminary, the next stop of your tour, is located in one of the most intellectual streets in the United States, Seminary Road, which is so named for Jewish Theological Seminary and the Union Theological Seminary. For more information on Seminary Road and its context as an academic hub among Morningside Height’s 11 academic institutions, check out our post “Academic Acropolis.”

Union Theological Seminary will be the fourth stop of your tour.

For your SECOND OPTION, the more scenic route, grab your cup o’ Joe, and head west from Earl Hall onto Claremont Avenue at West 116th Street. At the intersection of Claremont Avenue and Riverside Drive (the avenue west of Claremont), you will find two of the city’s grandest, curved, pre-war apartment buildings, at 440 Riverside Drive.

The Paterno

The Paterno, uniquely designed by renowned Morningside Height’s architects, Schwartz & Gross and built by the Paterno brothers in 1909, commands the northern side of West 116th Street and Riverside Drive with its handsome façade that curves towards Claremont Avenue and Columbia University. Its porte-cochere remains a stunning entrance a century later.

The sumptuous marble lobby with stain glass ceiling harkens back to its original elegance as one of the premier apartment houses of Morningside Heights. With sweeping views of the Hudson and Riverside Park the Paterno just might occupy the most desirable location on the Drive. Incorporated in 1979, this 13-story cooperative features 102 apartments and allows for 75% financing.

Interchurch Center and Riverside Church

From the Paterno, you’ll head up north on Riverside Drive, walking by the greenery to West 120th Street. There you will find the Interchurch Center and Riverside Church.

International House and Sakura Park

After exploring the artistic and architectural qualities of these religious centers, you’ll walk northeast onto Claremont Avenue, between 122nd Street and La Salle Street. North of West 122nd Street you will find International House, with steps leading into Sakura Park.

General Grant’s Tomb

You’ll then venture into Riverside Park, with the entrance across the street from Sakura Park, to explore General Grant’s Tomb.

Union Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Manhattan School of Music

After General Grant’s Tomb, you’ll make the trek to West 122nd and Broadway to explore the neighborhood’s Academic Acropolis, where you will find, among the many institutions, Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Manhattan School of Music, where you will end your tour listening to the musical melodies of New York’s most accomplished artistic talents.

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Fourth Stop: Union Theological Seminary

By walking to the intersection of 120th to 122nd Streets between Claremont Avenue and Broadway, you will find yourself in front of your fifth stop: the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Be sure to explore the other institutions in the area, as per our blog post, as Union Theological Seminary and the other higher institutions of learning in the area have come to be famously known as the Academic Acropolis.

In the 20th century, Union was world-renowned as a center of liberal Christianity and neo-orthodoxy, in addition to being the birthplace of the Black Liberation Theology, Womanist Theology and Mujerista Theology movements. Union houses the largest theological library in the Western Hemisphere.

The brick and limestone English Gothic architecture, by Francis R. Allen (1844–1931) and Collins, completed in 1910, includes the tower, which adapts features of the crossing tower of Durham Cathedral. The Seminary is also adjacent to Teachers College, Barnard College, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Manhattan School of Music and has cross-registration and library access agreements with several of these schools.

Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a seminary and a graduate school of theology established in 1836 by founders “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church.” Union prepares women and men for committed lives of service to the church, academy, and society. A Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom. Grounded in the Christian tradition and responsive to the needs of God’s creation, Union’s graduates make a difference wherever they serve.

 Union Theological Seminary

3041 Broadway at 121st Street

New York, NY 10027

(212) 662-7100

http://www.utsnyc.edu/page.aspx?pid=2742

 

Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a seminary and a graduate school of theology established in 1836 by founders “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church.” Union prepares women and men for committed lives of service to the church, academy, and society. A Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom. Grounded in the Christian tradition and responsive to the needs of God’s creation, Union’s graduates make a difference wherever they serve. – See more at: http://www.utsnyc.edu/about-union-theological-seminary#sthash.EfLwtzfc.dpuf

Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a seminary and a graduate school of theology established in 1836 by founders “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church.” Union prepares women and men for committed lives of service to the church, academy, and society. A Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom. Grounded in the Christian tradition and responsive to the needs of God’s creation, Union’s graduates make a difference wherever they serve. – See more at: http://www.utsnyc.edu/about-union-theological-seminary#sthash.EfLwtzfc.dpuf

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Academic Acropolis

Morningside Heights has been nicknamed the Academic Acropolis, for the vast amount of academic institutions in the area. Many of the academia in the area is founded on religious bases, especially the two giant institutions of religious leadership, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the Union Theological Seminary (UTS).

The two institutions are prominently located on your walk by continuing northeast on Broadway to West 122nd. There you will reach one of the most exciting corners of multi-disciplinary academic collaboration. West 122nd is also known as Seminary Row, and is home to eleven of the academic institutions in the neighborhood. On the western side of Broadway is Union Theological Seminary, the current stop of your tour.

Jewish Theological Seminary

On the western side lays the Jewish Theological Seminary, at 3080 Broadway, which houses more than 425,000 volumes, making it the largest and most extensive collection of Hebraic and Judaic material in the Western Hemisphere. The Seminary trains rabbis, cantors, scholars, educators, communal professionals, and lay activists that serve as leaders of Conservative Judaism, the vital religious center for North American Jewry, and society as a whole.

Corpus Christi School

Nearby Seminary Row lays Corpus Christi School, on West 121st between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade Catholic school that has served the families of its community and the diverse community of children of all faiths and beyond for over 100 years. The school celebrates Catholicism, and tries to model its conduct on the teachings of Jesus.

Teachers College of Columbia University

Further down south, on West 120th between Broadway and Amsterdam, resides the Teachers College of Columbia University, which has trained the world’s most accomplished educators. Teachers College, Columbia University, is the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States, and also perennially ranked among the nation’s best. Its name notwithstanding, the College is committed to a vision of education writ large, encompassing our four core areas of expertise: health, education, leadership and psychology. Teachers College sees its leadership role in two complementary arenas: One is as a major player in policy-making to ensure that schools are reformed and restructured to welcome all students regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. The other is in preparing educators who not only serve students directly but coordinate the educational, psychological, behavioral, technological, and health initiatives to remove barriers to learning at all ages.

Manhattan School of Music

Moving north to West 122nd and Claremont Avenue, one finds themselves at the Manhattan School of Music, a prestigious musical education institution. This school is the end of our tour, as in the evenings you might be able to catch a musical performance, and more can be read about it at our “Manhattan School of Music” blog post.

Bank Street College of Education

Directly north of the Manhattan School of Music is the equally prestigious Bank Street College of Education, an educational institute that includes a Graduate School, an on-site independent School for Children, professional development and social programs, and partnerships with school districts, colleges, museums and cultural institutions, hospitals, community service organizations, and educational media corporations.

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Fifth Stop: International House and Sakura Park

Moving on from the academic institutions in the neighborhood, head up to Riverside Drive along West 122nd to view International House and take in the greenery of Sakura Park.

International House

Situated at 500 Riverside Drive, north on Riverside Drive, International House is the first building to the north of the church adjacent to Sakura Park. International House or I-House is a private, non-profit residence and program center for graduate students, scholars engaging in research, trainees and interns. International House’s 700 resident members live in a diverse residential community that promotes mutual respect, friendship, and leadership skills across cultures and fields of study.

Among I-House’s alumni have been some outstanding and accomplished figures of global renown that reflect the House’s diverse community, including Nobel prize winners and heads of state as well as award-winning authors, singers and actors.

Once you’re at International House, simply walk a little farther north to Sakura Park for a leisurely walk in the park.

Sakura Park

The park owes its name to the more than 2000 cherry trees delivered to parks in New York City from Japan in 1912. The ideal time to visit the park is during April, when on your walk through the park you’ll be surrounded by the cherry tree blossoms. On your visit to the park, look out for it idyllic gazebo, its play area for toddlers, and its pavilion, used as a performance space by the Manhattan School of Music.

International House

500 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027-3916
(212) 316-8400

http://www.ihouse-nyc.org/s/707/start.aspx?sid=707&gid=1&pgid=254

A virtual tour of I-House’s interior is available here.

Sakura Park

Riverside Dr., Claremont Ave. To W. 122 St.

New York, NY 10027

http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/sakurapark/history

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Sixth Stop: General Grant’s Tomb

Once you’ve explored Sakura Park, you can head over to General Grant’s Tomb by crossing the street into Riverside Park. The park’s entrance is located at the intersection of Riverside Drive and West 122nd Street, and you can take the steps up to the final resting place of President Ulysses Simpson Grant and his wife, Julia, is the largest mausoleum in North America, and the sixth stop of your tour. General Grant’s Tomb is located inside of Riverside Park, with an entrance north of the Interchurch Center, on your western side.

The General Grant National Memorial visitor center is open Thursday through Monday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Free talks are available to the public at the visitor center, Thursday through Monday, at the following times: 11:15 AM, 1:15 PM, and 3:15 PM.

The architect of the monument, John H. Duncan, envisioned “a Monumental Tomb, no matter from what point of view it may be seen.” ThIMG_0975e structure symbolically faces south. Once you walk inside of the tomb, pay attention to the mosaic murals, designed by Allyn Cox in 1966, which feature three lunettes. Near the tomb are mosaic benches, bursting with color and innovative design.

A West Point graduate, Grant served in the Mexican War and at various frontier posts before rapidly rising through the ranks during the Civil War. Grant’s tenacity and boldness led to victories in the Battles of Vicksburg and Chattanooga and Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Scenes of these events are depicted in mosaics within the tomb.

The monument testifies to a people’s gratitude for the man who ended the bloodiest conflict in American history as Commanding General of the Union Army and then, as President of the United States, strove to heal a nation after a civil war and make rights for all citizens a reality.

General Grant National Memorial

Riverside Park, W 122nd St & Riverside Dr

New York, NY 10027

Hours: Open Thursday through Monday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Free talks are available to the public at the visitor center, Thursday through Monday, at: 11:15 AM, 1:15 PM, and 3:15 PM.

(212) 666-1640

http://www.nps.gov/gegr/index.htm

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Seventh Stop: The Riverside Church and the Interchurch Center

Exiting from General Grant’s tomb, you cannot miss the Riverside Church, located on Riverside Drive and 120th Street where Harlem and the Upper West Side meet. Riverside Church is located right next to Sakura Park, and across the street from the Riverside Park entrance you used to look around General Grant’s Tomb.

Riverside Church

You can’t help but admire the Church’s famous large size and elaborate Neo-Gothic architecture. But the church has a social justice history that extends beyond its beauty. The church is two blocks south of Grant’s tomb and was the site of Jackie Robinson’s funeral service in 1972. It was described by The New York Times in 2008 as “a stronghold of activism and political debate throughout its 75-year history … influential on the nation’s religious and political landscapes.” It has been a focal point of global and national activism since its inception.

The Church commits itself to welcoming all persons, celebrating the diversity found in a Congregation broadly inclusive of persons from different backgrounds of characteristics, including race, economic class, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family status and physical and mental abilities. Members are called to an individual and collective quality of life that leads to personal, spiritual and social transformation, witnessing to God’s saving purposes for all creation. The Church pledges itself to education, reflection, and action for peace and justice and the realization of the vision of the heavenly banquet where all are loved and blessed.

You will find more religious roots on this stop of the tour by walking south along Riverside Drive to between West 119th and West 120th Street.

The Interchurch Center

The Interchurch Center is a 19-story limestone-clad office building located at 475 Riverside Drive that houses offices and agencies of various religions, and of ecumenical and interreligious organizations.

On your visit, be sure to stop by the Center’s Treasure Room Gallery, located in the southwest corner of the main floor, to view professional exhibitions of visual arts. Open from 9 am to 5 pm, the gallery features paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, textiles, and photographs.

A stroll through the north and south side of the corridors of the main floor will reveal twenty well lit display windows which continue the visitor’s viewing pleasure of creative talents. Once a month from 4 to 7 p.m. one can attend the artists’ reception to meet and greet the featured exhibitors. The Center offers noonday concerts, free and open to the public, on Wednesdays as well. Make sure to pick up an informative brochure which lists and highlights the works in the exhibition and the artist or group featured.

The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
212-870-2200
http://www.interchurch-center.org/

Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
Hours: Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
For special tour information on weekdays and Sundays, please see http://www.theriversidechurchny.org/about/?tours
212-870-6700
http://www.theriversidechurchny.org/

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