As a student of the Graduate Center, you will have to figure out how to use the city as your campus. Discovering a great study spot is the most challenging in this regard. In this post, I will give you a rundown of some of the best study spot options broken down into the following four categories: Within the GC, outdoor public spaces, indoor public spaces, and study-friendly cafes.
Within the GC:
Sometimes when you’re in the GC it’s hard to leave, or you’re pressed for time, or the sky is precipitating. In that case, there are some options for studying inside the building. We have the lovely Mina Rees Library, with several types of accommodations for your studying needs. There are computer stations, cubicles, tables and comfy chairs. You are guaranteed to find a comfortable and quiet space to study in the library. Also, your department’s lounge is there for your use, however, most of them are used for socializing with fellow grad students and are most definitely procrastination traps. If you don’t mind some noise, the Dining Commons on the 8th floor is available to use. There is ample seating space, and unlike most places in the GC, it has natural sunlight, and a lot of it. If you are looking for somewhere more quiet and maybe want to meet with a study buddy, there is also the seating area in the Foundation Lounge (room 1102) that can be accessed through 365 Express right off the lobby on the first floor.
Outdoor Public Spaces:
There are small windows of time during the academic year when the weather makes it comfortable enough to study outside. However, if the weather is good, you should take the opportunity to experience it. The closest outdoor space is Bryant Park on 41st street behind the New York Public Library. It is a beautiful space with a lot of seating. The second closest is Madison Square Park on 26th Street, right off Fifth Avenue.
Indoor Public Spaces:
You are welcome to study inside any of the branches of the New York Public Library. I encourage you to go and explore the main branch and discover your favorite spot within that beautiful NYC landmark. As for other indoor public spaces, the NYC Gov. actually created a zoning initiative program in 1961 that allotted additional building area to private developers in exchange for indoor public spaces. Luckily for us, there are a few of them around midtown. The most beautiful of these is maintained by The Ford Foundation and is located at 320 E 43rd St, although, unlike some of the others, this one doesn’t have many seating options.
Here is a link for more information: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/pops/pops_inventory.shtml
As for where to find the best coffee, I suggest you take a look at Gerry Martini’s post about caffeine. It is important to note that many of the places with the best coffee have very little space and would be better for grabbing your caffeine and heading to one of the indoor/outdoor public spaces to do your studying. Therefore my recommendations are more focused on whether or not a café is suitable as a study spot.
Here is a list of study-friendly cafés, roughly in the order of distance from the GC:
Pret a Manger– 389 Fifth Ave (on 36th street)
Panera Bread– 330 Fifth Ave (b/t 32nd and 33rd)
Gregory’s Coffee– 48 E 33rd St (b/t Park and Madison)
Caffebene– 39W 32nd St (off Fifth Ave)
Grace Street – 17 W 32nd St (b/t Fifth & Broadway)
Come Buy (Bubble Tea) – 251 Fifth Ave (b/t 28 &29th)
Argo Tea– 949 Broadway (at 23rd St)
Please comment below if you discover more study spot options around the GC!