Jane's Walk NYC, the New York City branch of Jane's Walk, offers free, citizen-led walking tours in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island one weekend each year.
Have you ever walked around your neighborhood, or another neighborhood in the city, and wondered about its history? Do you ever find yourself curious to explore one of the city’s parks, architecture, or a specific building but don’t know where to start? Enter Jane’s Walk NYC, which is organized by the Municipal Art Society of New York—a nonprofit dedicated to safeguarding the city’s past while advocating for a more livable city by inspiring, educating, and empowering New Yorkers to engage in the betterment of the city.
Jane’s Walk is a global movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs, an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a community-based approach to city building. Jacobs (1916-2006) was a firm believer in the importance of local residents having input on how their neighborhoods develop and encouraged people to become familiar with the places where they live, work, and play.
A Jane’s Walk can focus on almost any aspect of a neighborhood, and on almost any topic. Walks can be serious or funny, informative or exploratory. They can look at the history of a place or at what’s happening there right now. Anyone can lead a walk because everyone is an expert on the place where they live, according to janeswalk.org.
This year’s global festival will be held May 6-8 at various locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Topics of this year’s walks include Garment District history, Randall’s Island, the rise and fall of the Vanderbilt mansions, developing the Brooklyn Navy Yard, architectural highlights in the Bronx, the history of the movie industry in Queens, the World’s Fair grounds, and the American Revolution in NYC.
For a complete list of walks in NYC, and to register, visit janeswalk.org.
Main photo: Learn about the first part of NYC to be settled in the 17th century by the Dutch, and follow its evolution into the Financial District in the walking tour Financial Distric, Historic Downtown, 9/11 on Sunday, May 8 at 11am.
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