No need to walk around New York City this weekend completely devoid of purpose and context! The Municipal Art Society will be providing over two hundred free walking tours this weekend as part of their annual Jane’s Walk NYC.
Related: Looking for our walking tours? Check out Bowery Boys Walks for our new walking tours, developed around Bowery Boys episodes!
It’s going to be mostly sunny and in the high 60s/low 70s this weekend. And any day we get to celebrate Jane Jacobs in this city is a good day. Here’s the full list of free walks. Tours of beloved streets and landmarks, themed tours around David Bowie, radical women, Worlds Fairs, immigrant groups and even a few ‘Walk With A Librarian’ tours. Just show up at the meeting place indicated on the list.
Here are eight notable tours from the list that sound especially intriguing — including a tour featuring an appearance by one of the Bowery Boys!
Hip-Hop Nightclubs in the 1980s: Fresh, Wild, Fly n Bold
LED BY SANKET HENDRE
Sunday, May 6, 11 am, Theater District
Hip-hop in the late 80s in NYC was, much like the city, wild and unpredictable. New School Hip Hop was born in 1986 with the coming of Rakim, and rap’s 1st “old school” was demarcated. Crack-cocaine hit the city. Brooklyn came out of the shadows. The showcase for all of this was the nightclubs of the late 80s. Join us as we explore clubs like the Latin Quarter, Red Parrot, and later clubs like the Tunnel. We’ll take a ride thru Rap in its teenage years.
How Audubon Park Disrupted Manhattan’s Grid
LED BY MATTHEW SPADY, AUDUBON PARK ALLIANCE
Friday, May 4, Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, 3 pm, Upper Manhattan
The distinctive footprint that disrupts Manhattan’s grid west of Broadway between 155th and 158th Streets—Audubon Park—did not come about by accident or from the demands of local topography, but rather from careful planning by well-connected property owners. Come along on a leisurely walk through Audubon Park’s architecture gems and learn about the family who guided the area’s rapid evolution from suburb to city at the turn of the 20th century.
Details here (Friday), here (Saturday) and here (Sunday)
Old Croton Aqueduct Walk in The Bronx
LED BY JOHN RAGUSA, ADIRONDACK MOUNTAIN CLUB-MID HUDSON CHAPTER
Friday, May 4, 3pm, Jerome Park Reservoir, Bronx
We will walk on top of the Old Croton Aqueduct starting from the Jerome Park Reservoir and ending at the High Bridge, which spans the East River. Along the way, we will learn about the first source of plentiful, pure water for New York City from the Croton Reservoir in Westchester County as well as see remnants of aqueduct structures along the way.
Details here (Friday)
Elmhurst: From 17th-Century Village to 21st-Century Neighborhood
LED BY ADRIENNE ONOFRI, AUTHOR, “WALKING QUEENS”
Sunday, May 6, 1pm, Elmhurst, Queens
One of the oldest communities in Queens, Elmhurst is also a foremost emblem of the borough’s modern-day multiculturalism. This tour will explore the neighborhood’s long history as well as its cultural diversity, with three churches founded when Elmhurst was the colonial village of Newtown. Sights also include other houses of worship for a variety of faiths, as well as architectural and historic landmarks.
Gowanus Landmarks—Make It So!
LED BY BRAD VOGEL
Saturday, May 5, 9am, and Sunday, May 6, 1pm, Gowanus, Brooklyn
As Gowanus prepares for a potential neighborhood re-zoning, join Gowanus resident and preservationist Brad Vogel for a walking tour of approximately two dozen structures proposed for city landmark status. The sites—largely cataloging the industrial character of Gowanus, along with some residential sections—were proposed by a coalition of local groups during the Gowanus Places planning study in 2017.
Details here (Saturday) and here (Sunday)
Secret Gems of Brooklyn Heights
LED BY JEREMY LECHTZIN
Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, 11am, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Explore forgotten landmarks of long-ago Brooklyn Heights! Follow clues revealed by hidden maps, lost land records and obscure directories! On this tour, you’ll:
-learn about the dry goods magnate who built a bowling alley in his garage
-hear the tale of the crusty schooner captain who entered his home via a gangplank
-discover the identity of the oldest house in the Heights (hint: it’s not the one listed in the guidebooks)
Details here (Friday) and here (Saturday)
Golden Hour Walk at Freshkills Park
LED BY TERRANCE CAVINESS, NYC PARKS
Sunday, May 6, 6pm, 1010 Muldoon Avenue, Staten Island
Walk among the rolling hills of Freshkills Park while learning about the landfill-to-park project! We will meet at the address below and consolidate into a 14 passenger van before driving into normally closed sections of the project site. We will then spend 1 hr. hiking and discussing Freshkills Park’s history, engineering, ecology, and plans. Participants will need to sign an activity waiver.
Gay Bars That Are Gone
LED BY MICHAEL RYAN AND KYLE SUPLEY
Saturday, May 5th, 3pm, East Village (14th Street), Manhattan
From discos and dive bars to leather clubs and cabarets, we’ll observe the shifting typology of the gay bar. Most importantly, we’ll hear from “those who were there” and indulge “those who wish they were”. All this, in the name of sparking a conversation about how to properly preserve and memorialize New York City’s “lavender landmarks.” If you’ve walked with us before, we’ve switched up the route a bit. Join us! PLUS: Greg Young from the Bowery Boys will be diving in during the second half of the tour to talk about one of the most notorious haunts of the late 19th century.
Picture at top: Edmund Vincent Gillon, [Entrance to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.]
DATE:1970-1990, courtesy Museum of the City of New York