The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Looking Beyond Lincoln Square

The neighborhood around Fordham Lincoln Center has a lot to offer, but Fordham students should explore each of the city’s five boroughs
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to some of New York City’s premier artistic institutions.

For my first two years at Fordham University, I lived in McMahon Hall, one of the two residence halls at the Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC) campus. Every job I have had has been based in Lincoln Square — the neighborhood that houses FLC and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; I know Lincoln Square better than any other neighborhood in the city. Since recently moving to Ridgewood, Queens, however, I’ve come to realize that there’s so much more to New York City than Lincoln Square has to offer. Fordham students should venture out of their comfort zone and explore the variety of communities across New York City.

Lincoln Square is an incredibly clean and well-maintained neighborhood, with the streets being kept spotless by a seven-day-a-week cleaning crew that picks up trash and tidies the area. The FLC campus is also two blocks away from Central Park, the largest urban park in the world. While there is a lot to love about Lincoln Square, the neighborhood lacks local charm because it is missing the lifeblood of a vibrant neighborhood: local businesses. 

Although Target and Whole Foods are convenient shopping centers located near the FLC campus, they have overrun small businesses in the Lincoln Square neighborhood which bring so much personality to a cityscape. For decades, the colorful characters running local bookstores and eateries have brought so much charm to New York City, and Lincoln Square’s lack of them feels like a gaping hole in the heart of the big apple.

As soon as you exit the 59th Street-Columbus Circle station, Deutsche Bank Center, a four-story mega retail shopping mall looms over you, and you are faced with cold, unfeeling storefronts for upscale boutiques like Hugo Boss and Stuart Weitzman. In contrast, when you step out of the Myrtle/Wyckoff station in Ridgewood, you are immersed in a vibrant environment with the smells of street vendors, fruit peddlers and roasted meat trucks filling the streets. As you walk around, owners of hardware stores, delis and bakeries are welcoming and invite you into their cramped shops to experience their businesses.

I prefer the lively streets of Ridgewood over the sterile concrete jungle of Lincoln Square; Fordham students should make a point to journey out to neighborhoods like it in order to experience the best that New York has to offer and find local shops where you are treated like more than just a customer.

I can understand the allure of staying in the Lincoln Square bubble. FLC students get discounted access to premier performances at their doorstep, from ballets, operas and orchestral concerts at Lincoln Center to free events hosted by Lincoln Center Presents and the American Folk Art Museum. However, because of the international renown of these cultural institutions, Lincoln Square is more of a tourist destination than a real community. Instead of staying in the confines of Lincoln Square, Fordham students should look to embed themselves in social activities across New York City.

Examples of events or outings that can be more enriching include taking a yoga class at Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, going on a guided walking tour of a different part of Central Park not close to campus or visiting a greenmarket at Prospect Park. Volunteering opportunities with groups such as the Bronx River Alliance and community-led events with organizations like the Woodbine Community Center and UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art in Ridgewood are additional places to share your passions and build meaningful connections. 

Finding and joining organizations like these throughout the five boroughs may pull you out of your comfort zone, but it’s a valuable experience. Living in New York can be isolating, and these events provide a sense of community that is not really found in tourist-laden Lincoln Square. 

If you really don’t want to leave Lincoln Square, there are a few great local alternatives to the big box stores in the neighborhood. Instead of shopping at Whole Foods, stop by the Tucker Square Greenmarket at West 66th Street and Broadway on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to find locally farmed produce, meats, baked goods and more, sold by the people who produced them. Interacting with the very people who make your food brings community to the grocery shopping experience.

There are also opportunities for retail shopping as opposed to shopping at the Deutsche Bank Center located at Columbus Circle. Visit one of the many thrift boutiques and flea markets throughout the city. These stores are lighter on your wallet as well as the environment, and you can often nab some great finds. Buffalo Exchange and L Train Vintage are a few of my favorite thrift stores, with locations in the East Village in Manhattan and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. 

The Grand Bazaar NYC is conveniently close to FLC campus but is outside of the Lincoln Square neighborhood, located on Columbus Avenue at West 77th Street. Open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the bazaar is a vibrant community market where you can shop for cool clothes, jewelry, decor and more, and have the opportunity to meet new people. 

Students who live at or around Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus should enjoy the beauty of the Lincoln Square neighborhood and take advantage of the plethora of resources and cultural opportunities, but also remember that there is so much more to New York City outside of it. If you do not push yourself outside of your comfort zone and find events and opportunities throughout the five boroughs, you will miss so much of what makes New York City the greatest city in the world.

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About the Contributors
MATTHIAS LAI, Former Opinions Editor
Matthias Lai (he/him), FCLC ’25, is a former head opinions editor at The Observer. He is a former assistant copy editor and head features editor. He is a journalism major who loves exploring and learning about New York City. He spends his free time baking, reading and enjoying the view from his rooftop.
AURELIEN CLAVAUD, Former Creative Director
Aurelien Clavaud (he/him), FCLC ’25, is the former creative director. He previously served as head photo editor and creative director and assistant sports & health editor. He majors in international political economy and loves photography, basketball and writing. He is from Houston, Texas, but has taken a liking to NYC and its frigid weather.

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