Roaming and Rambling in New York City

“… I roamed and I rambled, and I followed my footsteps …” -Woody Guthrie

Here are some favorite activities of mine, discoveries that I’ve made, and suggestions from guests who have stayed with me at Between The Parks. Many are outdoors, and some are summertime only. Activities that are starred (*) are those that I have personally experienced.

Waiting for spring in Central Park

Please visit my blog post Spring Fever, Summer Preview for a list of activities that help define a “New York Summer,” including Midsummer Night Swing, First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum, and the Lincoln Center 42nd Out of Doors festival.*

Enjoy “the other” free Shakespeare in the Park, NY Classical Theater* and my favorite park in the sky and people-watching venue, The High Line.* Try a sunset poetry reading atop the historic Central Park Zoo Arsenal: Poetry from the Rooftops.*

Sunday Greenflea and Greenmarket * Here on the Upper West Side, every Sunday you can find new, vintage, and antique treasures, as well as gourmet food treats, in the schoolyard on Columbus Avenue at 77th Street. Greenflea has been going strong for 25 years, on Sundays 10am – 5:30pm. Across the street, behind the American Museum of Natural History, you’ll find sellers of new jewelry and other handcrafted items, as well as our farmer’s market, the NYC Greenmarket. Fresh produce, dairy and meat, all locally grown. Combine with a walk though Central Park or a visit to the Museum of Natural History* or New York Historical Society*

Free Summer Movies – Outdoors! Each summer, more and more venues open up to offer free outdoor movies. Watch classic films on the deck of the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier or in lovely, green parks throughout the city. Upcoming films at Bryant Park, for example, include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Rebel Without a Cause, and All About Eve.

Guided Tours and Classes

Courtesy James Maher Photography

Grab your camera and join street photographer and lifelong New Yorker James Maher for a half day private walking tour and street photography workshop. On a three or five hour tour, customised for your skills and interests, you’ll visit the best places to photograph the sites and people of the city and learn the tips, tricks, and secrets of a street photographer. I’ve known James for years and he’s an accomplished, imaginative photographer, whose work shows tremendous insight into the heart and soul of New York City. AND he’s an all around great guy. Learn more about James Maher Photography Tours >>

New York is a city of neighborhoods, and often these neighborhoods are defined by one ethnic or religious group. If you’d like to learn more about the Hassidic Jewish community, its culture, traditions, and lifestyle, try the Chassidic Discovery Daily Walking tour of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Art Crawl Harlem, founded by two dynamic women, runs tours by foot and trolley that weave music, food and visits to Harlem’s art galleries.

Don and Jennifer from Denver just returned from a great tour of Brooklyn pizzerias, with a side trip to the boardwalk at Coney Island: A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours. Lots of time off the bus, and lots of good food. This family-run business also offers a Brooklyn neighborhood tour. My Summer 2012 guest, Jim, from Oklahoma, recommends Scott’s Pizza Tours. He spent an unforgettable morning sampling the best offerings at four different Greenwich Village and SoHo pizzerias.

Small Museums

In the cooler seasons, when you seek indoor adventures, here are a few small museums that I love: The Morgan Library at Madison Av and 36th (which also hosts concerts in a very comfortable small auditorium,) and the Rubin Museum* on West 17th off Seventh Av, which features art of the Himalayas. After a trip to the 9/11 Memorial and the crowded Wall Street area, take a break (and enjoy a pint) at Fraunces Tavern*, built in 1767. Then walk upstairs and brush up on your US history with a small collection of George Washington memorabilia, including the room where he bid his troops farewell after the Revolutionary War.

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