Dust off your sneakers and get ready for the annual Jane’s Walk, which will be held on May 5-7. Organized by the Municipal Art Society of New York, it is the largest chapter of the festival anywhere in the world, with more than 165 in-person, virtual, and on-demand walks in all five boroughs.
The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) announced today the roster of walks for the 2023 Jane’s Walk NYC festival which will be held May 5-7. The annual festival celebrates New York City’s neighborhoods and the art, architecture, food, music, and history they contain.
Jane’s Walk is an international celebration of urban life and culture. With more than 160 walks hosted over three days, NYC’s Jane’s Walk festival is the biggest in the world.
All Jane’s Walk events are free and open to the public. Most walks are in-person and guided by volunteers. Capacity for in-person, guided walks is limited so RSVPs are required for those events. Self-guided and virtual walks are also part of the NYC Jane’s Walk festival.
Chose from themes like Advocacy, Art & Architecture, Environment, Food & Entertainment, and History & Culture. Below are just a few of a plethora of fabulous tours. The full list Here.
“We all know that New York City is the greatest city in the world and our fabulous neighborhoods are what make it so amazing. The Jane’s Walk festival celebrates our neighborhoods with walks led by the best guides you could ask for: actual New Yorkers volunteering their time and passion for the city we all love,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the Municipal Art Society of New York. “We invite all New Yorkers to join a walk and learn something new about our city. But sign up fast; many of the walks fill up quickly.”
Take a walking tour of the Garment District; hike the Hudson; time travel on West 100th Street or Central Park; take a guided tour of Brooklyn Heights as it would have been in 1880; take a Battery Park City walking tour; a Domino Sugar History Walk; learn the Radical History of The Village; check in on the Ghosts of Greenwich Village; explore Steinway Village; head to Staten Island for a Vanderbilt Family cemetery tour; learn about forgotten history of Chinese in New York; or take an historic Chinatown walking tour exploring two centuries of Chinatown History’ what about the Irish in New York before and after Five Points; Don’t miss ‘A Great Day in Harlem: Celebrating Extraordinary Lives and Legacies’ with Kathy Benson-Haskins and Matthias Helfen of Landmark East Harlem; Andy Warhol’s Union Square; Who is buried in New York? Take the tour, ‘Buried in NY: Green-Wood Cemetery and the Civil War’; What mysteries lurk in Madison Square Park? Take the tour, ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad Madison Square Park’; Clinton Hill – Historic Mansions on Clinton Avenue; Creative (including You) on the UWS; Ethnic Eats walking tour of Astoria; and not to miss “Where Are the Public Bathrooms in NYC” + a lot more.
Here are a few more walks that caught our eye:
“Save the Square!”: The Fight for Washington Square Park – The battle between city planner Robert Moses and urban preservation activist Jane Jacobs is well-documented. But it was Shirley Hayes, Greenwich Village resident and mother of four, who began the fight, waging a seven-year campaign to prevent Moses from creating a four-lane thoroughfare directly through Washington Square Park. As we walk through the history of Hayes’ efforts to “Save the Square,” we will visit The Village Voice headquarters, residences of neighbors and fellow advocates Eleanor Roosevelt and Edward Hopper, and the park grounds where folksingers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan performed in the wake of Hayes’ victory. This walk will reflect on the power of individuals to advocate for change within communities.
A Civil Rights Tour of the Upper West Side – The Upper West Side of Manhattan is home to about 20 sites connected with important leaders and activists in U.S. civil rights history. Our 50-minute virtual tour will begin with an examination of NYC’s most prominent memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at West 66th St. and Amsterdam Avenue. We will decode this most unusual and complicated sculpture, which most people walk past without actually taking it in. Further stops will relate to, among others, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ellie Wiesel. An Upper West Sider whom many people are surprised to learn was a civil rights activist is the writer and humorist Dorothy Parker. And there is a brand new commemoration of the “Central Park Five,” now known as the “Exonerated Five.”
A Feminist Walk through Harlem to Celebrate Remarkable Women – We will take a virtual walk through both Central Harlem and Spanish Harlem, stopping at places where accomplished women, some famous and some not, are honored. Stops include murals and mosaics, statues, plaques on the sidewalk, named buildings, and commemorative street corners. And the remarkable women whose stories we will hear range from A’Lelia Walker to Nicholasa Mohr to Zora Neale Hurston. The tour also offers a great look at Harlem, recently referred to by the NY Times as “New York’s most storied neighborhood.”
Andy Warhol’s Union Square – Thomas Kiedrowski, author of Andy Warhol’s New York City, will lead in tour surrounding Andy Warhol’s fascinating life in connection with Union Square. The locations include Warhol-centric Businesses: 33 Union Square West, 860 Broadway; Eateries: 213 Park Ave South, 21 East 16th, 39 Union Square West; Nightlife: 860 Broadway, 126 East 14th. The tour will also speak to the history of Union Square at the time Warhol’s businesses occupied the square. The tour will broadly cover Warhol’s childhood and schooling, career, and rise in becoming the Pope of Pop Art.
Visitors will tour the lower part of East Harlem ( El Barrio or Spanish Harlem) by East Harlem Historian Christopher Bell. Chris is a licensed tour guide. This will be a walking tour and tourists will see archival photos how the neighborhood looked years ago. Plus, Chris will give personal background information on each tour site. Cameras are recommended. Tour sites include, former Jewish School, Greek Church on Lexington Avenue. Head towards Fifth Avenue and see East Harlem’s cultural institutions : New York Academy of Medicine, Museum of the City of New York, El Museo Del Barrio and the Conservatory Garden, the Harlem Meer and the Graffiti Hall of Fame and more. Finally, the culinary delights at La Fonda Boricua.
Can’t make it out? Jane’s Walk has a plethora of virtual tours. Below are just a few.
Go on a virtual Scavenger Hunt! See the future buildings of NYC in Augmented Reality. This self-guided, on-demand tour is led by Dana Cherish and Ziv Schneider from the NYC-Based startup, InCitu.
Take a Civil Rights Tour of the Upper West Side online with a 50-minute virtual tour visiting about 20 sites connected to important leaders and activists in U.S. civil rights history.
Visit the murals and mosaics of Spanish Harlem, a virtual tour viewing works that honor such notables east Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Julia de Burgos, Nicholasa Mohr and so many more.
Take a virtual walking tour of Tin Pan Alley, the place where American popular music as we know it was first manufactured and promoted.
Tin Pan Alley was designated a New York City Landmark in 2019 based on its preeminent role as the birthplace of American Popular Music as well as the multicultural significance of contributions of Eastern European Jewish immigrant and African American composers, performers and sheet music publishers who worked there.
Take a virtual walk through the historic Meatpacking District with a 75-minute tour by a 5th generation member of the family behind Ottman & Company.
The goal of the Audubon Mural Project is to create murals of over 300 North American birds in the northern Manhattan neighborhoods of Hamilton and Washington Heights where John James Audubon spent the last 10 years of his life. This virtual tour will take viewers to ee about 40 of the murals, plus Audubon’s grave site, in a 50-minute slide presentation with commentary.
Take a feminist walk through Harlem to celebrate remarkable women, stopping at places where accomplished women, some famous and some not, are honored.
On Friday May 5 at 3 pm the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition will host a zoom meeting to acquaint Janes’s Walkers with the upcoming Triangle Fire Memorial and to highlight the reasons why the Triangle fire must be remembered. Panelists involved in Triangle fire remembrance and building the Triangle Fire Memorial will share experiences, perspectives, and conversation with Jane’s Walk participants.
About Jane’s Walk ~ Jane’s Walk was founded to celebrate the life and legacy of urban activist Jane Jacobs, who believed in the power of individuals to influence their city. It now takes place in more than 200 cities worldwide, with Jane’s Walk NYC, presented by the Municipal Art Society of New York, as the largest of these festivals. What started as a handful of walks in 2011 has since grown into a weekend of collective neighborhood storytelling featuring hundreds of walks online and across all five boroughs.
About the Municipal Art Society ~ The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) lifts up the voices of the people in the debates that shape New York’s built environment and leads the way toward a more livable city from sidewalk to skyline. MAS envisions a future in which all New Yorkers share in the richness of city life—where growth is balanced, character endures, and a resilient future is secured. Over more than 130 years of history, our advocacy efforts have led to the creation of the New York City Planning Commission, Public Design Commission, Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Tribute in Light; the preservation of Grand Central Terminal, the lights of Times Square, and the Garment District; the conservation of more than 50 works of public art; and the founding of such civic organizations as the Public Art Fund, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, P.S. 1, the Historic Districts Council, the Park Avenue Armory Conservancy, and the Waterfront Alliance.