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December marks the beginning of a trying time for MoHi humans. Tensions are high, libraries are overpopulated, and deadlines are looming. And then there are those sneaky seat savers. So, where can you bring the books if you need to get off campus but don’t want to wander too far?

Below are some alternative study spot suggestions, ordered by distance (from 96th Street to the West Village), each with easy access to and from the 1 train.

Paris Baguette

Think of it as a refined Starbucks with more light and fewer douchey people writing their screenplays (unless you’re in there writing a screenplay for that film seminar). Grab yourself a tray, buy a pastry and coffee, then sit down at one of the side tables. The seating areas are rarely packed, surfaces are clean, and they don’t mind if you stay awhile.

  • Noise level: Quiet.

  • Sockets: Plugs on side tables.

  • Lighting: Bright.

  • Wi-Fi: Available.

Le Pain Quotidien

A little bit crowded, but if you’re going for a rustic vibe PQ’s your spot. The wifi doesn’t run out and you can make a large coffee or hot chocolate last a long time with their bowl cups. Plugs are few, but you’ll find them along the small tables against the walls. You’ll have to pay a service charge to sit inside, but if you’re planning on hanging out a while and grabbing food anyway, (heyo tartines) it’s worth it.

  • Noise level: Avoid communal tables to minimize chattiness.

  • Sockets: Plugs on the walls.

  • Lighting: Bright.

  • Wi-Fi: Available

Cafe Lalo

This spot is best for getting lighter work done (i.e. reading a book, reviewing notes). The study draws are its quirky decor and late hours, while its drawbacks are limited space and loud noise level. As extra incentive, Cafe Lalo is the setting for a pivotal scene in the Nora Ephron classic, You’ve Got Mail.

  • Noise level: Chatty.

  • Sockets: Sparse and depends on where you’re seated.

  • Lighting: Dim and warm.

  • Wi-Fi: Yes.

Irving Farm

Bright and airy—purchase your hot beverage of choice and nestle into the café’s back room. If you’re lucky enough to snag a table with plug availability, Irving Farm is ideal for paper writing and projects, but there’s no Wi-Fi—decide whether that’s a study pro or con. Otherwise, it will serve you well for lighter study fare.

  • Noise level: Can get noisy when busy.

  • Sockets: Plugs on the walls.

  • Lighting: Bright and airy.

  • Wi-Fi: Not available.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center Library is the city’s official arts library. The space has several work areas on each floor and a spacious café. The best places to work are the third-floor reference area and the desks on the second floor. Bring the heavy textbooks and make yourself at home.

  • Noise level: This is a library, shhhh!

  • Sockets: Plentiful.

  • Lighting: Fluorescent, so find a spot near a window.

  • Wi-Fi: Available through Lincoln Center and NYPL.

The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Just across from Hearst Plaza is the Atrium, Lincoln Center’s visitor space, which is open to the public. The Atrium has several perks: an open atmosphere, lots of seating, table space, and coffee availability (though you don’t have to buy anything to work here). Best for the kind of studying you’d do in the Butler lounge: group projects, textbook reading, and general studying.

For caffeine needs: The Atrium has a ’Wichcraft where you can get coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, and there’s a Starbucks next door.

  • Noise level: Quiet to chatty.

  • Sockets: Minimal.

  • Lighting: Dim lighting.

  • Wi-Fi: Access via Lincoln Center.

Jefferson Market Library

A wicked cool looking Victorian Gothic courthouse converted into a branch of the NYPL in Greenwich Village.

This is an ideal study venue if you fit any or all of the following descriptions: Have a love for historic places, study architecture, want to get as far from campus as possible, want to be close to really trendy coffee shops.

  • Noise level: Quiet!!!

  • Sockets: Aplenty.

  • Lighting: Dim.

  • Wi-Fi: Access via NYPL.

Don’t let the those seat snatchers get you down—get out of MoHi and find your own sacred study place.

Got another fav off-campus study spot? Comment down below, Tweet, or Snapchat us @CUspectrum.

Marisa Brown is a Spectrum staff writer and Barnard senior. She likes to spend most of her time surrounded by coffee and books. Reach her at

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