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@itscharliewhat/ via Instagram

This series has two functions: It’ll get you out of the MoHi bubble and into the city, and it’ll give you an excuse to watch movies and not study. Marisa Brown, BC ’17 and adventuring extraordinaire, presents Escape MoHi: “Spider-Man” tour.

You’ve got two options for Escape MoHi this week: Escape or stay. If you’re broke and already exhausted from studying, never fear! There’s a tour for that. Looking to avoid doing work at all costs and don’t mind wandering off campus? Escape MoHi: “Spider-Man” is the study break for you.

All three movies star the *unforgettable* Tobey Maguire as Spidey, but we’ll just focus on the first two. In the beginning of the story, Peter Parker transforms from high school dork to pro wrestler overnight, all thanks to Columbia University. (No, seriously, the rogue spider that gives our guy Peter his spidey senses belongs to a Columbia lab.) I think this means we can officially count Spider-Man as an alum.

Phase One of the tour will cost you nothing and, depending on your starting place, will take 20 to 30 minutes. Phase Two will take about 90 minutes and will cost you two to three subway swipes.

Amanda Frame / Senior Staff Designer

Phase One

Leave your dorm! Walk to Low Plaza. Done.

1. Low Plaza

@columbia / via Instagram

Low Plaza is the setting of one of the initial scenes of the first “Spider-Man.” The most significant event that occurs in this very brief scene? Harry Osborn, played by future Columbia School of the Arts grad James Franco, rolls up to Low Plaza in his father’s Rolls Royce. To his credit, he’s very embarrassed.

Done with Low? Head to Havemeyer.

2. Havemeyer 309

@crush2424 / via Instagram

This iconic classroom has graced many a movie screen. In addition to the Spider-Man series, it’s been featured in films such as “Ghostbusters” I & II, “Malcolm X,” and “Mona Lisa Smile.”

Peter takes a class in Havemeyer 309 but leaves class from Hamilton. Bonus destination!! The whole montage is set to “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” Funny scene and catchy tune—maybe you should start your next stroll to class with this song. Alternatively, you could pop on one of these podcasts.

Other things that happen on campus while we’re still here? In response to Peter’s inability to manage his superhero responsibilities, job, and schoolwork (same), his professor tells him, “Planning is not a major at this university.” Ouch.

Head from Havemeyer to Claremont Ave.

3. Riverside Church

@ j_neri / via Instagram

This is where Mary Jane is going to marry her astronaut beau in “Spider-Man 2”—until she decides not to. MJ leaves a note for her husband-to-be—oof, harsh move—and then flees to find Peter.

Phase Two

Take the 1 train to Times Square, then walk a block east to Bryant Park.

4. New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue

@elizakern / via Instagram

The NYPL (an NYC film darling) appears in the first movie twice. It serves as the background for Peter’s heart-to-heart with Uncle Ben about puberty. As a side note, I think this whole first film might just be an allegory for going through puberty.

The library is also Peter’s cover: He gets dropped off at the library, then promptly leaves to try his hand at wrestling. Why, you ask? To win a cash reward, which he wanted to spend not on his very expensive future student loans, but on a car to impress Mary Jane. Peter is 18, so we know he has his priorities in order.

Instead of wrestling, I recommend you actually go to the library. Bring a book, and check out the recently reopened Rose Main Reading Room.

To get to the next location, take the M1 or the M3 three stops downtown from Fifth Ave and 38th Street.

5. Flatiron Building

@kbsardes / via Instagram

Home of the Daily Bugle newspaper. Setting of a battle between Spidey and the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie, Peter Parker’s workplace, and the home of an iconic old NYC building.

Head two blocks west, hop on the 1, and head home to MoHi.

Final thoughts:

  1. I definitely watched these movie as a kid—these are not kids’ movies.

  2. Peter talks to himself a lot, but walking around this campus, so do a lot of you.

  3. There is some weird, psychological shtuff going down with Willem Dafoe / Norman Osborn—Exhibit A:

Have a NYC movie tour suggestions to share? Let us know about it in the comments, through Twitter, or via Snapchat @CUspectrum.

Marisa Brown is a Spectrum staff writer and Barnard senior. After watching these two films, she has a newfound appreciation for Tobey/Spidey and feels they are both deeply misunderstood. Reach her at    

All gifs courtesy of

escape mohi Spiderman
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