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Undergraduate Student Life

Urban New York

Student Engagement is pleased to offer the Urban New York - First Years Lottery program to all enrolled first year students each fall.  The program provides CC, SEAS, and Barnard students with an opportunity to receive free tickets to exciting trips around the city as well as provide an opportunity for students and faculty to interact in a social setting.  (Upperclass members, don't worry, there's both a general lottery and one just for Seniors coming in the spring!)

Urban New York is supported by generous contributions from the Columbia College Class of 1954, Columbia College, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Barnard College. Approximately 450 free tickets to various events in the metropolitan area are available to undergraduate students of these schools in fall.

First Years' Lottery Registration

Eligible senior students may register for the 2014 Fall First Years' Lottery between Monday, September 15th at 5pm and Monday, September 22nd at noon.

Make sure to check out the rules and regulations

Line-up of Events

The Urban New York committee always comes up with a wide variety of exciting events to select from! Listed below are the offerings for the First Year's Fall 2014 Lottery with dates, meeting times and a brief description.  Please utilize this information to prioritize your choices on the lottery registration and only select events which you will be able to attend.


Shakespeare Sonnets (Brooklyn Academy of Music - BAM)
Sunday, October 12th @ 3pm
Meeting Time: 1:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Iambic pentameter gets a surreal makeover in this pop-opera romp through Shakespeare’s sonnets from director Robert Wilson and composer Rufus Wainwright. The Bard’s enigmatic poems are pared down to 25 selections, set to everything from medieval German Minnesang to cabaret rock and performed by Bertolt Brecht’s historic Berliner Ensemble. As pallid, genderqueer dramatis personæ, the virtuosic performers smirk and sneer through expressionistic slapstick, while Wilson’s signature sculpting of time, light, and gesture evokes an absurdist dream.


Fall For Dance (New York City Center)
Thursday, October 16th @8pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Enjoy this annual event which brings the greatest companies working on contemporary dance together for one evening.  This program features:

choreographed by Brian Brooks

Ostinato (World Premiere)
choreographed by Tim Harbour

choreographed by Benjamin Millepied

Students of the Asphalt Jungle
choreographed by Dr. Rennie Harris


Lar Lubovitch Dance (Joyce Theater)
Friday, October 17th @ 8pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

For its 46th anniversary season, the internationally renowned Lar Lubovitch Dance Company will present ANCIENT TALES, a single program of two new dances based on ancient myths – the world premiere of The Black Rose and the premiere of a new production, Artemis in Athens, featuring guest artist Alessandra Ferri. Both works are set to original commissioned scores, and every show will include live music.


Basil Twist’s “The Rite of Spring” (Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center)
Saturday, October 18th @ 7:30pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

A full length orchestral program that furthers the exploration of abstract puppetry and music that Twist began exploring with his "Symphonie Fantastique" in 1998. Twist staged this world-premiere work, transforming traditional puppetry into kinetic fabric and smoke sculptures into what he calls “a ballet without dancers.”


Wicked (Gershwin Theater)
Sunday, October 19th @2pm
Meeting Time: 12:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

The untold musical story of The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good... before Dorothy dropped in. Based on the imaginative Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked takes a fantasy journey through the unseen side of Oz, sharing a tale of unexpected friendship and love.


Die Zauberflote The Magic Flute (The Metropolitan Opera)
Tuesday, October 21st @ 7:30pm 
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location:TBD

Julie Taymor’s fanciful production of Mozart’s composition—complete with dancing bears and giant flamingos—is sung in German and runs a brisk 100 minutes in this abridged holiday version for families. The winning cast includes Alek Shrader as Tamino, Eric Owens as Sarastro, and Nathan Gunn as the winsome Papageno.


If/Then (Richard Rodgers Theater)
Friday, October 24th @8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

If/Then is a contemporary new musical that follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.  Written by CC alums Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey!


NY Pops-Beatles Night (Carnegie Hall)
Friday, October 24th @ 8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s arrival in America, with their greatest hits recreated by the acclaimed Finnish vocal ensemble Rajaton and the New York Pops Orchestra.


Escape the Room (A - 107 Suffolk St)
Saturday, October 25th @ 8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Escape the Room is a fun, interactive game taking place in New York City.  While it looks like any other ordinary room, it’s actually a mystery puzzle.  Work with your team of fellow Columbia and Barnard students to find the hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn your freedom and “Escape the Room.” You have 60 minutes, so be quick!  (We’ve arranged for two different nights – see November 13th for another chance to win a ticket)


Big Apple Circus (Lincoln Center)
Sunday, October 26th @ 4:30pm
Meeting Time: 3:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Fly away to the magical All-New Show, METAMORPHOSIS. Be transported to a realm of enchantment and illusion, a dreamscape domain where no one sits more than 50 feet from ring-side, and nothing is impossible! You will be thrilled by the Flying Trapeze, the razzle-dazzle of the Rolla-Bolla, the dynamo of the Diablo, the risky rhythms of the Risley team, the cunning conjurors of the Quick-Change, and the incredible flexible limbs of the Contortionists. See and hear the musical merriment of our featured clown and camels, horses, playful pooches and more. Come immerse yourself in the wonder, joy and astounding magic of METAMORPHOSIS


Knicks at Nets (Barclays Center)
Friday, November 7th @7:30pm
Meeting Time: 6:00pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Head to the new home of the Nets, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for this amazing crosstown rivalry between the Brooklyn Nets and the NY Knicks.  For basketball fans and newcomers alike, this promises to be a great event.


Escape the Room (B - 107 Suffolk St)
Thursday, November 13th @ 8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Escape the Room is a fun, interactive game taking place in New York City.  While it looks like any other ordinary room, it’s actually a mystery puzzle.  Work with your team of fellow Columbia and Barnard students to fFind the hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn your freedom and “Escape the Room.”  You have 60 minutes, so be quick! (We’ve arranged for two different nights – see October 25th  for another chance to win a ticket)


Dinner and Bellydancing Show at Cavo (Astoria)
Friday, November 14th @8:30pm
Meeting Time: 7:00pm
Meeting Location: TBD

A true UrbanNY outing where you will enjoy some of the best Greek food in New York, while viewing a wonderful bellydance performance.  Journey out to one of the top culinary neighborhoods of the city, Astoria, Queens for this “only in New York” adventure.


A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Walter Kerr Theater)
Friday, November 14th @8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

2014’s Tony Award winner for Best Musical,  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder finds Monty Navarro, a British commoner, discovering that he’s ninth in line to inherit the Earldom of Highhurst and electing to murder the members of the odious D’Ysquith family standing in his way. In the process Monty keeps a mistress, Sibella Hallward, and courts the comely young Phoebe D’Ysquith. New York Times said of this show: “Despite the high body count, this delightful show will lift the hearts of all those who’ve been pining for what sometimes seems a lost art form: musicals that match streams of memorable melody with fizzily witty turns of phrase.”


Ani DiFranco & Dar Williams (Town Hall)
Saturday, November 15th @ 8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Grammy Award-winning folk singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco lends her singing voice to unravel her own personal experiences as well as to express her strong views on politically fueled subjects of gun control, war, corporate greed and more. Her music has often been categorized as alternative and folk rock, but she stretches across genres, dipping in funk, hip-hop, jazz and punk inspirations.  She is joined by Dar Williams, described by Hendrik Hertzberg of the The New Yorker as "one of America’s very best singer-songwriters."  With a large indie and college following, Dar weaves tales through monologue and music which uncover a unique perspective on our world.


PHL Flyers at NY Rangers (Madison Square Garden)
Wednesday, November 19th @8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

The sports mecca of midtown comes alive with a great NHL match up of the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.  For hockey fans and newcomers alike, this promises to be a great event.


On the Town (Lyric Theater)
Thursday, November 20th @7pm
Meeting Time: 5:45pm
Meeting Location: TBD

"New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!"  Come see for yourself as this masterful and classic musical (with score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Comden and Green) shows you this town like no one can.   With the biggest orchestra on Broadway and a 30-member cast of New York's most talented singers and dancers, On the Town tells the story of three wide-eyed sailors on a whirlwind musical tour of the city that never sleeps. With just 24 hours of shore leave, they’re eager to experience all that New York City has to offer… including a chance to discover love with the girl of their dreams.


Singing Waiter Dinner (Ellen’s Stardust Diner)
Thursday, November 20th @8pm
Meeting Time: 7:00pm
Meeting Location: TBD

The world-famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner provides not only traditional NY diner food, but amazing singing waiters to serve it up with a hefty side of incredible talent.  Come see what the inspiration for the NY scenes of “Glee” up close.  Dinner and a great show – as well as lots of fun – will be had by all.


A Delicate Balance (Golden Theater)
Friday, November 21st @ 8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Edward Albee’s masterpiece is brought back to Broadway with a stellar cast including: Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Claire Higgins, Martha Plimpton. A Delicate Balance follows Agnes and Tobias, a long-married couple who must maintain their equilibrium as over the course of a weekend they welcome home their 36-year-old daughter following the collapse of her fourth marriage. They must also give shelter to their friends, all the while tolerating Agnes’ alcoholic sister Claire.


Jamaican Dinner (Miss Lily’s)
Wednesday, December 3rd @7pm
Meeting Time: 5:45pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Imagine a meal at your favorite beach shack....welcome to Miss Lily's, a Caribbean oasis in the middle of downtown Manhattan.  This Jamaican style diner is the collaboration of Paul Salmon and Binn and Genc Jakupi. The team has created a casual Caribbean outpost specializing in a modern approach to classic island cooking. Drawing from the diverse roots of Jamaican cuisine the kitchen offers delicacies like jerk chicken, escovitch fish, oxtail and curried goat seasoned with scotch bonnet peppers and fiery jerk spices. The sunny decor was inspired by the restaurants, fast food joints, hair salons, record shops, bakeries, etc. that serve the West Indian diaspora in Brooklyn. The interiors are colorful and cheerful: checkered floors, vinyl booths, and walls decked out with album covers spanning 50 years of Jamaican music history. In short, Miss Lily's is an island vacation in the middle of a busy city.


Ballet Hispanico Carmen.Maquia (The Apollo Theater)
Saturday, November 22nd @ 7:30pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

The nation’s leading Latino dance company returns to the legendary Apollo stage to premiere its first evening-length work. Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s CARMEN.maquia is like Georges Bizet’s iconic opera about a passionate gypsy, riveting from start to finish while fusing ballet and modern dance with nods to the Spanish paso doble and flamenco. A stunning set design and minimalist black-and-white costumes evoke the paintings of Pablo Picasso.  Highly original and full of elaborate partnering, CARMEN.maquia is a smoldering reimagining of this tragic tale.


Beautiful (Stephen Sondheim Theater)
Thursday, December 4th @7:00pm
Meeting Time: 5:45pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise to stardom from being part of a chart-topping songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music. She wrote the soundtrack to a generation.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (City Center)
Thursday, December 4th @ 7:30pm
Meeting Time: 6pm
Meeting Location: TBD

Come enjoy exhilarating performances of Alvin Ailey’s three breathtaking pieces:

  • Chroma: The groundbreaking British choreographer's contemporary ballet is full of sensory surprises: sumptuous movement, a driving score by Joby Talbot with orchestrations of songs by The White Stripes, and a luminous set by minimalist architect John Pawson.
  • D-Man in the Waters: In this work by Kennedy Center Honoree, MacArthur Grant awardee and Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones, rigorous formalism and musicality embody resilience and triumph over loss.
  • Revelations: Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.


The Illusionists (Marquis Theater)
Friday, December 5th @8:00pm
Meeting Time: 6:30pm
Meeting Location: TBD

This mind blowing spectacular showcases the jaw dropping talents of seven of the most incredible illusionists on earth.  This non-stop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions.  Audiences will witness stunning acts of grand illusion, levitation, mind-reading, disappearance and for the first time ever in history, a full view water torture escape. Performed by the acclaimed escapologist Andrew Basso, he will hold his breath for over 4 minutes whilst attempting to escape from his underwater cell. This group of world-class performers take their cue from the showmanship of the great illusionists of the past - such as Harry Houdini – and pair it with a new and updated contemporary aesthetic, whose set and costume design lend the genre a theatricality and artistry that has rarely been seen before. 


Special acknowledgment is given to Dr. Arnold I. Kisch, CC '54, and to his wife, Victoria L. J. Daubert, PhD, for fully endowing all opera tickets.

The Urban New York Program is sponsored by Columbia College, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Barnard College, and the Class of 1954 Urban New York Fund.

Student Engagement


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-3611

Fax: 212-854-6972

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00p.m.