Tom Smith, a professional clown who has lived in a three-bedroom co-op on Riverside Drive in Hamilton Heights for seven years, is torn about the new campus. He said he did not like the institution’s use of eminent domain to get its hands on some key parcels. “I’m not really an eminent-domain kind of guy,” he said.
Yet he thinks Columbia will help curb street crime, which in turn may make the area a more pleasant place to walk. “There will be a lot less chicanery and hustling going around,” he said.