The Best Spring Walks in NYC
By Alison Durkee
In like a lamb and out like a lion? The March forecasts notwithstanding, spring has arrived in NYC: time to shed your winter layers and explore the city’s history, architecture, and more on one of these great spring walking tours.
Gallery Getaways: New York has a thriving art scene even beyond the hallowed halls of The Met and MoMA. Discover what the city’s smaller galleries have to offer on an upcoming gallery tour of Soho and Tribeca on March 31, or venture out to Brooklyn for a tour of Greenpoint’s art scene April 12. Back in Manhattan, take a tour of the Lower East Side’s numerous galleries on March 24, or head nearby to Chinatown to discover the neighborhood’s artsy section known as “C-Town” on a gallery tour April 7.
Historical Haunts: The streets of New York are filled with hidden history – and there are plenty of chances to uncover those secrets this spring. Delve into the city’s seedy underbelly with a walking tour on the history of crime in NYC March 31, or discover New York’s revolutionary past with a tour centered on New York’s Tea Party of 1774 (April 21). On March 29, mark the end of Women’s History Month with the 92nd Street Y’s tour of the New Immigrant, Radical, Notorious Women of Washington Square, a walking tour of the Village and the remarkable women who have called it home. Over in Queens, step back in time to the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs on an April 8 walking tour exploring the fairs’ enduring remnants.
Park Promenades: New York is more than just a concrete jungle, and those wanting to take in the warmer weather this spring can get out to explore the city’s parks. The centerpiece of New York City’s greenery, of course, is Central Park, and New Yorkers can get out to discover the park’s hidden secrets on an Untapped Cities tour March 25. For more on the park’s flora and fauna, the Central Park Conservancy will also offer tours of the blooming flowers at the park’s Conservatory Garden on walking tours throughout the spring. Of course, Central Park is far from the only park in town. Discover one of the city’s smaller parks on free walking tours of Bryant Park, which take place each Wednesday and center on the park’s rich history and distinct design. Further uptown, head out to Fort Tryon Park for a tour of the Heather Garden and the former Billings Estate on April 8, or get an in-depth look at the park’s variety of trees on a tour May 6. To get a first look at one of the city’s upcoming parks, meanwhile, catch the ferry to Staten Island, where Untapped Cities will offer a special sneak peek at Freshkills Park, the largest landfill-to-park project in the world, on May 12.
Outer Borough Observations: Get out of Manhattan this spring and see what the city’s other boroughs have to offer. Discover the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn on a walking tour April 7, or get a taste of Brooklyn’s alcohol industry on a “spirited” tour offered by Big Onion tours throughout April and May. The Brooklyn Distilled tour will include a walk through the Vinegar Hill neighborhood and a tour of Kings County Distillery, complete with a whiskey tasting. Out in Queens, get a first look at what might become the borough’s answer to the High Line on a tour of a 2.5-mile stretch of land proposed to become the Queensway (April 14), a new park transforming an abandoned rail line into a “cultural greenway.” In the Bronx, discover the borough’s literary history on a tour of literacy-related architectural spots in the Fordham and University Heights neighborhoods April 15, including public schools and New York University’s original campus.
For something a bit wilder, head out to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Parrots Safari, an urban trek to spot Monk Parakeets, a type of Argentinean parrot that flocked to New York as a result of a malfunction at JFK Airport in the late 1960’s (March 31).
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