Keith Michael NYC
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New York City WILD! Urban Nature Walking Tours

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New York City WILD!

URBAN NATURE WALKS Exploring the GREEN of New York

See More of New York! with Keith Michael, urban naturalist


NYC Wild! Walks are a playground for Birders, Naturalists, and Photographers.

Visit significant green spaces and historic destinations in NYC to reconnect with the rhythms and sheer wonders of the natural world in our urban midst as a potent antidote to the stress and frenzy of To Do Lists, hand-held devices, and alternate side of the street parking.

 


"To go on an adventure with Keith Michael and friends is to discover a wild and magical world hidden in plain sight in the midst of NYC. I’ve hiked with him in all 5 boroughs, watching shorebirds and song birds and swans (dozens of them) in Jamaica Bay, wild turkeys in the Bronx scratching for food under ancient trees near a stunning memorial to the Titanic, horseshoe crabs in Brooklyn coming ashore to bury their eggs under the light of the full moon, a Staten Island nature preserve with bird filled forests, wetlands and shoreline, even the site of the tree in northern Manhattan beneath which  Peter Minuit is said to have purchased this island from the Lenape people. And each trip was meticulously researched and carefully planned by Keith, who is incredibly knowledgeable about birds and has an unerring knack for finding them.  Highly recommended!"     
          Lisa Kleger, Systems Consultant

"Keith’s walks showcase the details and edges of NYC where wildlife and beauty are abundant.  His strong trip organization makes each walk a breeze for participants.  You simply show up with interest and Keith leads you through one of NYC’s many wild spaces, highlighting the wildlife and stories that only a patient and trained eye can see.  These walks are also flocked to by wonderful people who are a bonus to the relaxing and enriching walk.
          Carrie Roble, Hudson River Park, Director of Environment and Education


"Every single time I joined Keith's nature walks, I experienced a never ever to forget moment of beauty. Keith is an experienced bird watcher and has pointed out rare species, i would have missed without him. Highly recommendable to experience in the area of NYC." 
          Addy Onstwedder, General Manager, The Netherland Club of New York
 


"Wise and witty, Keith Michael is a keen observer of people, places, and above all, things. With intrepid spirit and deep generosity, his walks explore the unexpected pockets of wildlife throughout the five boroughs. A self-taught naturalist with a swashbuckler's sense of adventure, he reveals how these surprising little spots thrive in their urban surroundings. Keith's unbridled fascination with everything around him and the great pleasure he takes in sharing their secrets make him a fantastic guide to the world few of us ever even notice, let alone get to experience."  
          Valerie S, Veteran Walker


"Keith's walks take one to parts of New York that one has been meaning to go...fun and informative...so go now and explore the hidden sights of New York."    
          Sarath Sochannam, Urban Explorer

"Keith Michael and his knowledge of the natural world is extraordinary.  I have gone on several trips with NYC WILD! and have been so impressed with his knowledge of everything: birds, earth, trees, history of where we are and what was before. I am always disappointed when I can't go on an outing."
          Nancy Shamban, NYC Birder

 

 


  

 
New York City WILD! Summer 2016 Walks
 
 
 
East River: Roosevelt Island
Friday, June 3, 9:00 - 3:00 pm
     Click HERE to make your FREE reservation on Eventbrite NOW! 
Circumnavigating car free Roosevelt Island today with its model housing, iconic views of The Beatles’ “Feelin’ Groovy” Bridge, and spectacle of the New York City skyline, it’s difficult to imagine the island’s often grisly past. Alternately known as Minnehanonck by the Lenape, Varkens Eylandt (Hog Island) by New Netherlanders, Blackwell’s and Welfare islands, Roosevelt Island (its contemporary moniker) has housed a penitentiary, a workhouse, a lunatic asylum, a smallpox hospital and charity hospital in its checkered past! Now the island is being transformed once again with the construction of a satellite campus of Cornell Tech. This walk begins literally levitating above the city on the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Touching down all too soon, we’ll first head south to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, opened in 2012, 40 years after architect Louis Kahn’s 70s design. From there we’ll head to the north end past the 1939 Octagon Tower and 1875 Blackwell Island Lighthouse, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bring your lunch for a picnic overlooking the world-renowned pageant of mid-town Manhattan skyscrapers.

Meet at 8:30 am on the Tramway Plaza (at street level, UNDERNEATH the tram) at Second Avenue between 59th and 60th streets. Approximately 4 mile walk circumnavigating the island. Return by the tram or the F Train. [2 MetroCard fares]


 
 
Brooklyn: Plumb Beach: New Moon Horseshoe Crabs
Saturday, June 4,, 5:30 - 11:00 pm (Evening Walk)
    Click HERE to make your FREE reservation on Eventbrite NOW! 
This walk will take your mind on a raucous journey: the spring high tide pre-historic mating pilgrimage of horseshoe crabs to east coast beaches to lay their eggs. Horseshoe crabs are one of the oldest creatures on earth, having evolved little in 250 million years. Full and new moons bring higher tides which bring the “crabs”, really more closely related to terrestrial spiders, higher on the beach to deposit their eggs. The primal orgies of the instinctual hook-ups in the sand and surf truly need to be seen to be believed. Bring a picnic dinner. We hope it won’t be too nippy to enjoy a soiree on the beach! Bring a flashlight. (New Moon Set 7:51 pm/Sunset 8:23 pm)

Meet at 5:30 pm at the DOWNTOWN end of the 14th Street DOWNTOWN #2 Train platform. We will board the FIRST #2 Train that enters the station after 5:45 pm. Board the FIRST car of the #2 Train to Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College (last stop). B44 Bus south on Nostrand Avenue to Knapp Street/Plumb Beach (last stop). Approximately 2 mile walk. Return to Manhattan by same route. Alternate meet-ups available in Brooklyn. [2 MetroCard fares: including subway/bus FREE transfers]

Every Sunday Morning June 5 through September 25, 9:00 am
     Hudson River Nature Walks through Hudson River Park with Walter H. Laufer
     Click HERE to make your FREE reservation on Eventbrite NOW.

Brooklyn: Prospect Park
Friday, June 10, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
     Click HERE to make your FREE reservation on Eventbrite NOW! 

Prospect Park is widely considered as the pinnacle of 19th century romantic landscape design, and even its illustrious designers themselves, Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, championed the park as a greater success than their own triumph: Central Park in Manhattan. Created between 1866 and 1873, the engineering and landscaping were revolutionary, and all of the waterways and lakes of the park are man-made. We begin this adventure underneath the Soldier’ and Sailors’ Triumphal Arch in the middle of Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. Heading south and entering Prospect Park, we pass under the Endale Arch for the epitome of Vaux and Olmstead’s genius—the magical transition to the greensward of Long Meadow—leaving the city far behind. We will continue along Long Meadow, taking in highlights (among many others) such as Fallkill Falls, the Ravine, the Lullwater, Prospect Park Lake, Lookout Hill, the Quaker Cemetery, and Nethermead Lawn. We’ll admire several New York City Great Trees along the way, and complete our loop ambling, once again, through Long Meadow spooling out before us. Bring your lunch for a picnic.

Meet at 9:00 am at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, underneath the Soldier’ and Sailors’ Triumphal Arch. The Plaza is accessible by the 2 & 3 subway lines to Grand Army Plaza. The walk is approximately 4 miles and we will return to this location.



 
East River: Randall's Island Park
Saturday, June 11, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Click HERE to make your FREE reservation on Eventbrite NOW! 
An off-the-beaten path destination in the middle of the East River, Randall’s and Ward’s Islands have been joined together to create land for bridges, many sports facilities and a water treatment plant, but there are also a remarkable number of natural habitats, as well as spectacular views of the approach arches to the Hell Gate Railroad Bridge—I kid you not, this is a herculean sight to be seen. This walk will primarily be circling the original Ward’s Island. Getting off of Manhattan always offers a fresh perspective on the waterworld of the New York estuary. Did you know that at one time there were four tides a day in the East River, not only two (because of the funneling confluence of the New York Harbor and Long Island Sound), and that it has some of the fasting moving tides in the world? We will also be able to see views of more islands of NYC: Mill Rock and Roosevelt Island. Bring your lunch for a picnic by the river.

Meet at the UPTOWN end of the Grand Central UPTOWN 6 Train platform. Board the FIRST car of the 6 Train to 103rd Street. (Alternately, meet the group on the southeast corner of 103rd Street and Lexington Avenue.) Walk east across the Wards Island Bridge to the islands. Approximately 3 mile walk. [2 MetroCard fares]




  
The Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park
Sunday, June 12, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
     with OutdoorFest: Click www.outdoorfest.com for more events & discount passes.
     Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
The namesake of this NYC Park, Jacobus Van Cortlandt, first bought the property in 1694. The Van Cortlandt Mansion (which we will walk by but NOT take a tour of) was built by his son, Frederick Van Cortlandt in 1748. And the family still lived on the land until the 1880s. The Croton Aqueduct, New York City’s first reliable fresh water supply, was built through the estate in 1837, and since then, the land has been traversed by two railroad lines, a golf course, the Saw Mill River and Mosholu Parkways, the New York State Thruway, and hiking and running trails! Nevertheless, after all of this slicing and dicing, Van Cortlandt Park is still more than a thousand acres of primarily forested land, making it NYC’s third largest park. Our walk will take us by the Van Cortlandt Lake and Tibbet’s Brook, through the forested canopy of the Northwest Woods, and looping back to walk a bit of the old Croton Aquaduct trail. It is SPRING, so birds should be abundant, the trees are magnificent, and I’ve even had the luck of seeing a coyote on this walk! Bring your lunch for an outdoor picnic along the way.

Meet at the last stop (242nd Street station) of the uptown #1 Train, at the bottom of the elevated stairs on the east side of Broadway (parkside) in Van Cortlandt Park. Approximately 3-4 mile walk—includes gentle and descent in elevation through an urban forest. Return to your destination by the #1 Train. 



Queens/Brooklyn: Newtown Creek
Tuesday, June 14, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
      Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
In the words of Newtown Creek historian Mitch Waxman, “You don’t get Manhattan without a place like Newtown Creek.” Curious—a nature walk around this notorious super-fund site—one of the most polluted waterways in the country? Curiouser and curiouser, flora and fauna have found a way to survive here. Be prepared for a shock to your perception. The history of American industry, landmark bridges, pristine reflections in stagnant neon-green water, sun glinting off of orderly rows of cement trucks, and the confounding intricacies of oil refineries. But herons, waterfowl and gulls are regulars, weed trees shelter resident songsters, and wildflowers crack the pavement. This is one mind-altering itinerary. Wear sturdy hiking shoes. This is a very exposed walk, so wear a hat. Bring your lunch. We will picnic at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Nature Walk promenade (no that is NOT an oxymoron).

Meet at the FRONT of the Flushing-bound 7 Train platform at Times Square. Board the FIRST car of the 7 Train to 45th Road/Court House Square (Queens). Approximately 3 mile EXTREMELY urban walk! Return on the 7 Train from Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Avenue to Times Square. [2 MetroCard fares]

The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park
Wednesday, June 15, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
      Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, the largest park in NYC (even the new Freshkills Park on Staten Island won’t be larger), is a bit unknowable in its entirety but boasts ancient oak trees, sprawling bays, a reclaimed sanitation site (now welcome grasslands), salt marshes, “coast of Maine” rocky outcroppings, and Robert Moses’ Orchard Beach. Hunter Island is actually no longer an island, but was joined to the mainland at the time Orchard Beach was built. Bring your lunch. We will picnic by the Long Island Sound overlooking the Execution Rocks Lighthouse.

Meet at the UPTOWN end of the Grand Central Station UPTOWN 6 Train platform. Board the FIRST car of the 6 Train to Pelham Bay Park/The Bronx (last stop). Approximately 4 mile walk. There will be a mid-trip bus ride. Return to Manhattan by same route. [2 MetroCard fares: 2 subway, 1 bus – bus/subway FREE transfer]


Brooklyn: Dead Horse Bay
Thursday, June 16, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
      Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
Just the name of Dead Horse Bay conjures up a tantalizing destination. In the 19th century, the City’s daily 100’s of dead horses (imagine that!) were “processed” here, and an early city dump was covered over to build Floyd Bennett Field, the City’s first municipal airport. Now, every tide excavates that “antique garbage”—making for an extraordinary spectacle underfoot of historic glass, iron, and porcelain, simultaneously awful and beautiful. Once again, this is New York City! (Full disclosure, Barren Island is no longer an island.) Peregrine Falcons and American Oystercatchers are likely avian sightings. We will walk across the Marine Parkway Bridge for stunning views of the New York City skyline. Bring a totebag for the exquisite beachcombing and bring your lunch for a picnic on the beach.

Meet at DOWNTOWN end of the 14th Street DOWNTOWN 2 Train platform. Board the FIRST car of the 2 Train to Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College (last stop). Q35 Bus to Fort Tilden. Approximately 3 mile walk. Return to Manhattan by the same route. [2 MetroCard fares: including subway/bus FREE transfers]

Manhattan: Central Park "The Whole Thing" South to North Walk
Friday, June 17, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
      Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
Central Park is one of the premiere urban achievements of the 19th Century. How many times have you said, “Yeah, I really would like to just walk around and see what’s there?” And then don’t. Well, now’s the time. Central Park has a landscape to complement your every mood, and we’re going to do a rare connect-the-dots tasting tour as an introduction, so that you can go back again and again. Forgive the cliché, but Central Park IS an urban oasis. Designed, of course, by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux and “premiering” in 1858, it is one of the best birding locations in the United States—more than 275 species have been documented within its 843 acres. Beginning at Grand Army Plaza in the southeast corner, our outing will visit The Pond, The Dairy, Sheep’s Meadow, The Mall, Bethesda Fountain, The Lake, The Ramble—you get the picture! We’ll continue zig-zagging northward, resting in the Conservatory Garden, and finally heading west along the Harlem Meer to exit the park at West 103rd Street and Central Park West! Fun fact: All of the millions (billions?) of European Starlings populating North America are descendants of a mere 100 birds released in 1890 by eccentric drug manufacturer Eugene Schieffelin at The Shakespeare Garden as a romantic gesture to bring all of the Bard’s avian references to the New World—wow, did he ever! Bring your lunch for a picnic in the Park.

Meet at 9:00 am at the General Sherman Statue (the big gold statue with a man riding a horse!) in Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, Manhattan. Approximately 4 mile walk. End at Central Park West & 103rd Street.

 
Staten Island: North Mount Loretto State Forest & Unique Area
Saturday, June 18, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm  
     with OutdoorFest: Click www.outdoorfest.com for more events & discount passes.
     Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
Probably most New Yorkers know no more about Staten Island than an occasional trip on the Ferry with visiting out-of-towners—if that. Staten Island is another world—with more designated parkland than any other borough. On this trip, as well as drinking in the humbling panorama of the world-renowned New York harbor from the Staten Island Ferry, we'll see forest, swamps, fresh water ponds, sandy beaches, rocky Atlantic coast and bluffs, and amazingly, open grasslands. We’ll begin walking through the North Mount Loretto State Forest and then proceed to the sky-full vistas of Mount Loretto Unique Area on Staten Island's south shore. The rich greens of late spring should be spectacular. Resident songbirds are already nesting and raising families – the woods should be lively with their songs. The resident Bald Eagle pair might make an appearance. Bring your lunch to enjoy on the beach if the weather is cooperative (swimming may be possible, though the water may be cold and the beach is pebbly!)

Meet at 8:30 am at the Manhattan Staten Island Ferry Terminal at South Ferry for the 9:00 am boat. (Check the MTA Weekender for any connecting subway weekend service changes. #1 Train to South Ferry or R Train to Whitehall Street/South Ferry.) Meet at the top of the escalators in the main waiting room of the Terminal. (Ferries leave every 1/2 hour so don't be late!) Staten Island Railway (SIR) to Richmond Valley. Approximately 5 mile walk. Return on the SIR to the St. George Ferry Terminal, and Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan. Plan on a full day outing – we will try to be back to Manhattan by 4:00 pm, but depending on train and ferry connections, it may be later! Please be prepared for 2 Metrocard fares on the SIR – transfer times are often rapid between the ferry and the train, so you don’t want to miss the connection by taking time to fill your Metrocard! IF YOU WANT TO MEET IN THE STATEN ISLAND TERMINAL (rather than in Manhattan): We will be arriving at 9:30 am. Meet us at the top of the stairs to the SIR.

Brooklyn: Plumb Beach: Horseshoe Crabs Summer Solstice
Monday, June 20, 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
      Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
This walk will take your mind on a raucous journey: the spring high tide pre-historic mating pilgrimage of horseshoe crabs to east coast beaches to lay their eggs. Horseshoe crabs are one of the oldest creatures on earth, having evolved little in 250 million years. Full and new moons bring higher tides which bring the “crabs”, really more closely related to terrestrial spiders, higher on the beach to deposit their eggs. The primal orgies of the instinctual hook-ups in the sand and surf truly need to be seen to be believed. Bring a picnic dinner. We hope it won’t be too nippy to enjoy a moonlit Summer Solstice soiree on the beach! Bring a flashlight. (Full Moon Rise 7:59pm/Sunset 8:12 pm)

Meet at the DOWNTOWN end of the 14th Street DOWNTOWN 2 Train platform. Board the FIRST car of the 2 Train to Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College (last stop). B44 Bus south on Nostrand Avenue to Knapp Street/Plumb Beach (last stop). Approximately 2 mile walk. Return to Manhattan by same route. [2 MetroCard fares: including subway/bus FREE transfers]

 
 Queens/Brooklyn: Newtown Creek Photography & Nature Tour
Tuesday, June 21, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
In the words of Newtown Creek historian Mitch Waxman, “You don’t get Manhattan without a place like Newtown Creek.” Curious—a nature walk around this notorious super-fund site—one of the most polluted waterways in the country? Curiouser and curiouser, flora and fauna have found a way to survive here. Be prepared for a shock to your perception. If industrial backyards and vistas of the New York City skyline from skewed perspectives are your idea of a good time—this walk's for you. The history of American industry, landmark bridges, pristine reflections in stagnant neon-green water, sun glinting off of orderly rows of cement trucks, and the confounding intricacies of oil refineries. But herons, waterfowl and gulls are regulars, weed trees shelter resident songsters, and wildflowers crack the pavement. This is one mind-altering itinerary. Wear sturdy hiking shoes. This is a very exposed walk, so wear a hat. Bring your CAMERA. Bring your lunch. We will picnic at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Nature Walk promenade (no that is NOT an oxymoron). NOTE: This is NOT a "how to use your camera" walk—this is a walk through an urban industrial environment ripe for letting your creativity enthrall you!

Meet at the FRONT of the Flushing-bound 7 Train platform at Times Square. Board the FIRST car of the 7 Train to 45th Road/Court House Square (Queens). Approximately 3 mile EXTREMELY urban walk! Return on the 7 Train from Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Avenue to Times Square. [2 MetroCard fares]

Manhattan: Inwood Hill Park Nature Tour
Wednesday, June 22, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
We start under the sprawling branches of a New York City Great Tree—a magnificent ginkgo—a block from getting off the A Train! Then we head for Inwood Hill Park. This glorious Manhattan forest is stunning —colossal oaks, tulip trees and another grandfather ginkgo, many trees dating from the Revolutionary War. The traditional site where Mannahatta was purchased in 1626 from the Lenape is commemorated. Glacial potholes are remnants of the retreating glacier 12,000 years ago. Spectacular panoramas of the New Jersey palisades spill out in front of us. Treetop views make avian resident Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, and Baltimore Orioles seem like exotics in this very un-Manhattan-y northern part of Manhattan. Bring your lunch for a picnic along a hidden rocky cove next to the Hudson River.

Meet at the UPTOWN end of the Columbus Circle/59th Street UPTOWN A Train Platform. Board the FIRST car of the UPTOWN A Train to 207th Street (last stop). Approximately 2 mile walk—includes a gentle though dramatic rise (and descent) in elevation. Return by the A Train (207th Street) or the #1 Train (215th Street). [2 MetroCard fares]


Staten Island: Wolfes Pond Nature Tour
Friday, June 24, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
If you weren’t available for the Saturday, June 25 excursion to the North Mount Loretto State Forest and Unique Area on Staten Island, here is another opportunity to explore the “wilds” of this greenest of boroughs. Wolfes Pond Park is another collection of contrasts: east coast forest, secluded ponds, burbling streams, swampy land, tidal basin and ocean beach. Osprey sightings are likely, and we may be lucky: “Vito” the resident Bald Eagle may make an appearance. This is a bird, wildflower and mushroom rich area, so there should be lots to see. OH! And there's that Staten Island Ferry ride with the whole New York Harbor and NYC, Jersey City and Brooklyn skylines unfolding before you. Glorious. Bring your lunch for a picnic on the beach. And bring your camera to remind yourself that you'll want to go back.

Meet at 8:30 am at the Manhattan Staten Island Ferry Terminal at South Ferry for the 9:00 am boat. (#1 Train to South Ferry or R Train to Whitehall Street/South Ferry.) Meet at the top of the escalators inside the “turnstiles” in the main waiting room of the Terminal. (Ferries leave every 1/2 hour so don't be late!) Staten Island Railway (SIR) to Prince’s Bay. Approximately 3 mile walk. Return on the SIR to the St. George Ferry Terminal, and Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan. Plan on a full day outing—we will try to be back to Manhattan by 4:00 pm, but depending on train and ferry connections, it may be later! [2 SIR MetroCard fares. The Staten Island Ferry is FREE.]

Queens: Hamilton/Howard Beach Photography & Nature Tour
Saturday, June 25, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Click HERE to make your reservation on EventBrite NOW!
Getting off the A Train at the Howard Beach/JFK Airport station, we are immediately immersed in this “bayou country” of New York City with houses on stilts and tidal canals! Wet basements, floods and streets dead-ending on waterways are a way of life in this one-time isolated hamlet on the outskirts of Queens. The storm surge of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 completely inundated this hardy community—but it is back, resilient as ever. The avian highlight of this walk is the multiple Monk Parakeet nests on telephone poles. These green, white and gray-headed natives of the Andes Mountains are descendants of illegally trafficked birds released in the 60s (there are multiple versions of the story of their provinence). New York’s climate suits them as similar to their South American homeland, and their communal stick nests help insulate them against our northern winters. Bring your lunch for a picnic on the beach. NOTE: This is NOT a "how to use your camera" walk—this is a walk through a surprising and enduring waterworld community in New York City ripe for letting your creativity enthrall you!

Meet at the DOWNTOWN end of the West 4th Street DOWNTOWN A Train Platform. Board the FIRST car of the A Train (toward Far Rockaway NOT toward Lefferts Boulevard) to Howard Beach/JFK Airport. Approximately 2 mile walk. Return to Manhattan by same route. [2 MetroCard fares: 2 subways]

NEW WALK INFORMATION FOR SUMMER and FALL 2016!
CLICK HERE TO VISIT EVENTBRITE FOR FULL CURRENT LISTINGS:


Tuesday, June 28 - East River: Roosevelt Island Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Wednesday, June 29 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk #1:
                                        Jersey City: Hudson River Waterfront ($)

Thursday, June 30 - Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)



Wednesday, July 6 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Nature Walk #2:
                                        Manhattan Westside: Downtown to Christopher Street ($)


Saturday, July 9 - New York Harbor: Governor's Island Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)



Wednesday, July 13 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk #3:
                                        Manhattan Westside: Christopher Street to 44th Street/Pier 84 ($)



Wednesday, July 20 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk #3:
                                        Manhattan Westside: 44th Street/Pier 84 to 79th Street Boat Basin ($)

Thursday, July 21 - Queens: Hamilton/Howard Beach Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Friday, July 22 - Queens: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk (FREE)

Saturday, July 23 - Staten Island: Mount Loretto Unique Area Photography & Nature Walk ($)




Wednesday, July 27 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk #4:
                                        Manhattan Westside: 79th Street Boat Basin to 125th Street ($)

Thursday, July 28 - Queens/Brooklyn: Newtown Creek Photography and Nature Walk (FREE)

Friday, July 29 - Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Saturday, July 30 - Queens: Fort Tilden Photography & Nature Walk ($)





Tuesday, August 2 - August Tuesdays Sunset Bridge Walk #1: Brooklyn Bridge ($)

Wednesday, August 3 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk #5:
                                        Manhattan Westside: 125th Street to George Washington Bridge ($)

Thursday, August 4 - Brooklyn: Dead Horse Bay Photography and Nature Walk (FREE)

Friday, August 5 - Queens: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk (FREE)

Saturday, August 6 - Queens/Brooklyn: Newtown Creek Photography and Nature Walk ($)




Tuesday, August 9 - August Tuesdays Sunset Bridge Walk #2: Manhattan Bridge ($) 

Wednesday, August 10 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk #6:
                                        Manhattan Westside: George Washington Bridge to Inwood Hill Park ($)

Thursday, August 11 - Manhattan: "The Memorial Tour" Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Friday, August 12 - Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Saturday, August 13 - Queens: Dead Horse Bay Photography & Nature Walk ($)





Tuesday, August 16 - August Tuesdays Sunset Bridge Walk #3 - Williamsburg Bridge ($)

Thursday, August 18 - Staten Island: High Rock Park Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Friday, August 19 - Queens: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk (FREE)

Saturday, August 20 - Manhattan: "The Memorial Tour" Photography & Nature Walk ($)





Monday, August 22 - Queens: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk (FREE)

Tuesday, August 23 - Queens: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk (FREE)

Tuesday, August 23 - August Tuesdays Sunset Bridge Walk #4 - Queensboro Bridge ($)

Wednesday, August 24 - Summer Wednesdays Sunset Photography & Nature Walk:
                                        Manhattan Westside: Christopher Street to West 44th Street/Pier 84 ($)

Thursday, August 25 - Brooklyn: Prospect Park Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Friday, August 26 - Staten Island: Wolfes Pond Photography & Nature Walk (FREE)

Saturday, August 27 - Staten Island: High Rock Park (and Beyond) Photography & Nature Walk ($)




Tuesday, August 30 - August Tuesdays Sunset Bridge Walk #5 -
                                        George Washington Bridge and Little Red Lighthouse ($)

Saturday, September 3 - NYC Essentials: Queens: Flushing Meadows/World's Fair Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, September 4 - NYC Essentials: Brooklyn: Green-Wood Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Monday, September 5 - NYC Essentials: Queens: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)




Saturday, September 10 - NYC Essentials: Manhattan: Central Park "The Whole Thing" Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, September 11 - 9/11 15th Anniversary NYC/NJ Memorials Walking Tour ($)


Wednesday, September 14 - NYC Essentials: Brooklyn Bridge Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, September 17 - NYC Essentials: Staten Island: Mount Loretto Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, September 18 - NYC Essentials: Staten Island: Freshkills Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)





Saturday, September 24 - NYC Essentials: Manhattan: Downtown "The Memorial Tour" Photography & Nature Walk ($)

Sunday, September 25 - NYC Essentials: Governor's Island Photogrpahy & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)





Saturday, October 1 - Staten Island Greenbelt: High Rock Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, October 2 - Brooklyn: Prospect Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)




Saturday, October 8 - The Bronx: Bronx River Greenway Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, October 9 - Manhattan: George Washington Bridge & Fort Lee Historical Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)




Saturday, October 15 - Open House New York Weekend - Go to www.ohny.org and INDULGE!

Sunday, October 16 - Open House New York Weekend - Go to www.ohny.org and INDULGE!





Saturday, October 22 - The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, October 23 - Manhattan: Inwood Hill Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)




Saturday, October 29 - The Bronx: Woodlawn Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)

Sunday, October 30 - Manhattan: Central Park - "The North End" Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)




WATCH FOR MORE New York City WILD! Walks to be scheduled in November and December!


Sunday, November 6 - New York City Marathon! Photography Walk ($)

Sunday, November 13 - Brooklyn: Green-Wood Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)

Sunday, November 27 - Queens: Fort Tilden Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)




Sunday, December 4 - Flushing Meadows/World's Fair Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, December 18 - Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Wednesday, December 21 - Winter Solstice: "Celebrate the Night" Downtown Manhattan Photography Walking Tour ($)

Tuesday, December 27 - Winter Owls: The Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Wednesday, December 28 - Winter Owls: Brooklyn: Dead Horse Bay Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Thursday, December 29 - Winter Owls: The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Friday, December 30 - Winter Owls: Manhattan: Central Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, December 31 - Winter Owls: The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

New York City WILD!
2017 Walking Tour Schedule


Click HERE to Make Your Eventbrite Reservation NOW!

WATCH FOR MORE New York City WILD! Walks to be scheduled in 2017!


JANUARY

Sunday, January 1 - Winter Wonders: New Year's Day: Queens: Fort Tilden Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, January 7 - Winter Wonders: Staten Island: Mount Loretto Unique Area Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Friday, January 13 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn/Manhattan Bridge: Sunset/Full Moon Rise Photography Walking Tour

Sunday, January 14 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn: Coney Island and Coney Island Creek Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, January 15 - Winter Wonders: Manhattan: Central Park South End to Reservoir Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, January 21 - Winter Wonders: Manhattan: Photograph History: Women's March on NYC (FREE)


Saturday, January 22 - Winter Wonders: The Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, January 28 - Winter Wonders: Bald Eagles: Croton Point Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, January 29 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn: Prospect Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

FEBRUARY

Saturday, February 4 -  Winter Wonders: Bald Eagles: Croton Point Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Sunday, February 5 - Winter Wonders: Queens: Fort Tilden Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, February 11 - Winter Wonders: Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridges Sunset/Full Moon Photography Walk

Sunday, February 12 - Winter Wonders: Manhattan: Inwood Hill Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, February 18 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn: New York Harbor Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Sunday, February 19 - Winter Wonders: Staten Island: Fort Wadsworth to South Beach Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, February 26 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn: Dead Horse Bay Photography & Nature Walking Tour


MARCH

Saturday, March 4 - Westchester: Marshlands Conservancy Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Sunday, March 5 - The Bronx: Upper Bronx River Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Saturday, March 11 - Brooklyn: Dead Horse Bay Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Sunday, March 12 - Jersey City: Sunset and Full Moon Rising (Over Manhattan) Photography Walking Tour


Sunday, March 19 - Staten Island: Wolfe's Pond Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour


Sunday, March 26 - Manhattan: Spring at Inwood Hill Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour


APRIL

Saturday, April 1 - Manhattan: Highbridge Park to Dyckman Street Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, April 2 - Brooklyn: Spring in Green-Wood Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)

Saturday, April 8 - The Bronx: Spring in Woodlawn Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)

Sunday, April 9 - Brooklyn: Spring in Prospect Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, April 16 - Easter: Spring on Roosevelt Island Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, April 29 - Westchester: Rye Playland and Edith G Read Wildlife Sanctuary Walking Tour

Sunday, April 30 - Manhattan: Spring in Central Park: North End to Reservoir Photography & Nature Walking Tour


MAY

Sunday, May 7 - Staten Island: Spring in Clove Lakes Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour


 


 
 
GENERAL INFORMATION

WHY WALK WITH NEW YORK CITY WILD! RATHER THAN HEADING OUT ON MY OWN WITH A SUBWAY MAP AND A GUIDEBOOK?
An “urban wilderness” walk is not an oxymoron. Keith Michael has been exploring the remotest corners of New York City for decades, gaining a collective eclectic knowledge that cannot be found in any guidebooks. These walking tours will bring you to his favorite destinations around this vast metropolis, taking the guesswork out of the legwork! With carefully researched information about where to go, what to see, how to get there, AND the camaraderie of fascinating people to enjoy the "there" with, each excursion provides a unique off-the-grid out-of-the-tour-bus immersive experience in the natural wonders available within one of the largest cities in the world. Once you do, you’ll be inspired to do even more and take advantage of the myriad other FREE tours offered by many parks and organizations throughout NYC—there is always more to see and learn!
 

HOW DO I RESERVE MY SPOT?
Follow instructions on the EventBrite site.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
New York City WILD! Walks are FREE! But DO make a reservation.

PLEASE NOTE: Participants cover their own public transportation costs (Metrocard fares for subway and bus) as well as bring their own picnic dinner.
 

WHAT IS THE NEW YORK CITY WILD! BAD WEATHER POLICY?
Trips will only be cancelled under extreme weather conditions. New York City summer weather is fickle! Rarely does the same kind of weather last all day, and the weather forecast for Central Park may be vastly different than what actually occurs on a far outer-borough beach. Most walks will go on rain or shine under the optimism that an inclement forecast will change. However:

Primarily beach walks WILL BE CANCELLED or re-routed if there is forecast of thunderstorms. Participants will be informed of a cancellation by e-mail at least the evening before a scheduled walk.
 

WHAT ABOUT MEET-UP LOCATIONS AND NYC PUBLIC TRANSPORATION?
Please carefully note meeting places and times. Trips will leave promptly from designated meeting sites. For meet-ups on a subway platform, we will generally leave on the FIRST TRAIN after the designated departure time. Return times are approximate.
 
NYC Wild! Walking Tours are GREEN in more ways than one! Walks frequently meet on a subway platform to take a train (average 45 minutes to an hour+) to and from the starting point of the walk. Please carefully note whether the meet-up location is on the UPTOWN or DOWNTOWN platform AND whether it is at the FIRST or LAST car of the train! Please arrive with a filled MetroCard so that trains or buses are not missed while you wait in line to put more money on your card.
 
Alternate meeting locations can be arranged en route to the destination if this is more convenient for individual travelers.
ALWAYS check the MTA Weekender online before you leave home for planned service changes on your subway lines! Leave additional travel time for delays in weekend service. Some Walk meet-up locations or destinations may be changed if subway service is unusually cumbersome to our starting point.
 

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Each walk is 3-5 miles and approximately 6 hours in length (including travel time to and from the starting point of the actual walking tour). Generally covering a variety of urban and natural habitats, we are frequently more than a mile from the nearest public transportation, store, restrooms, and occasionally, cell-phone service! Take these factors into consideration when agreeing to these outings.
 
It is difficult or impossible to catch up with the group if you are late, and as most of the walks are a loop it is usually not possible to leave early before the walk is completed.
 
These walks are usually not suitable for participants younger than 10 years of age.
 
Most excursions follow primarily level established trails though the walking surface can vary from city sidewalks to woodland path, boardwalks, grass, minor rock scrambling or sandy beach. Some stairs or a rise and descent in terrain are part of individual walks.
 
Poison Ivy may be prevalent along some trails, but it is easily identified and avoided by staying on the trails.
 
Insects should be a minimal concern for most trips, though some walks have posted tick habitat.
 
Restrooms are not always conveniently located or available. Take this into consideration.
 

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH or DINNER. We will stop, mid-trip, for a picnic—outside. Usually we will not be near a store to pick up your lunch “on the way.”
 
Water
 
Dress appropriately for the forecasted weather—hat, jacket, layers to take off or put on if temperatures change. In general, it can be windier and cooler (or hotter) at these locations than in Manhattan. Bring an umbrella for surprise changes in weather.
 
Sturdy closed-toed walking shoes that you aren’t too concerned about getting muddy or wet. No sandals or flip-flops.
 
Binoculars if you have them. If not, we will share.
 
A camera. Each walk offers endless photo opportunities.
 
Sun screen and insect repellent. Insects should be a minimal concern for most trips.
 
PLEASE use your cell phone sparingly for emergencies only (and generously for taking memorable photos of the walk!)
 
Enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.
 

DO I NEED TO SIGN A LIABILITY WAIVER?
YES. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver statement, agreeing to release and hold harmless Keith Michael and New York City WILD! from any and all liability arising out of or resulting from your participation. Your participation in these walks is on a completely voluntary basis and you are responsible for your own personal safety and well-being. Read the complete statement included with this event listing.

 

HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Write to newyorkcitywild@gmail.com for any additional information or to arrange special group walking tours or other events. When making inquiries, please indicate the date and destination of the walking tour for which you have questions. More detailed information about each walk will be sent by e-mail to participants a few days before each scheduled outing.

 

WHO IS THAT NEW YORK CITY WILD! GUY?


KEITH MICHAEL is a self-styled urban naturalist, avid birder, photographer, and a dedicated explorer of New York City's five boroughs. Watching birds drives his focus, but the breadth of NYC history, and the wealth of vistas, trees, wildflowers, grasses, mushrooms, butterflies, dragonflies, as well as scaled, slithery and furred fauna that can be observed within the city is truly remarkable. Mr. Michael has published four books of writing and photographs: Let’s Go Out!: A Birder's Year in the West Village (2015); Take Me to the River (2014); Once Around the Block (2013), and 1000 Days: World Trade Center Rising (2013); leads New York City WILD! nature walking tours, co-leads Hudson River Park WILD! walks, and is a monthly contributor to WestView News: The Voice of the West Village.
 
When not adventuring in the city and taking photographs, Mr. Michael is a ballet choreographer, having created The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies, Mother GOOSE! and The Nutcracker for New York Theatre Ballet, and is the Dance Production Coordinator at The Juilliard School. For more information about walks, books or photographs visit www.keithmichaelnyc.com

Photo of Keith Michael by Valerie Soll




New York City WILD!
Waiver/Release/Assumption of Risk Agreement

New York City WILD! is an urban nature walk series organized by freelance urban naturalist Keith Michael.

As used in this agreement, "The Coordinator" means collectively New York City WILD! and Keith Michael, its employees, representatives,  independent contractors and/or affiliate organizations involved in the selected program/activity, members, leaders, organizers, co-participants, volunteers, and all others involved in the selected activity/program.

As used in this agreement, "you" means the person who signs this agreement or on whose behalf this agreement has been executed. It is anticipated that you are accepting this agreement as a prerequisite to your participation in a New York City WILD! activity/program. If a person under 18 years of age participates, that person's parent or legal guardian must also accept this agreement.

In consideration of the services provided by The Coordinator and the opportunity for you to participate in the selected activity/program, you AGREE TO AND ACKNOWLEDGE the following:

1.) New York City WILD! nature walks are entirely volunteer activities led and organized by non-professionals. Other participants are not outdoor recreational or educational professionals.

2.) New York City WILD! activities have inherent RISKS, HAZARDS AND DANGERS. Such risks, hazards and dangers may include, though not limited to: adverse weather, crossing streams, falls from heights, travel, exposure to insects and animals; remoteness from shelter, restroom facilities, food, water, medical care and emergency rescue services; graded trails, uneven terrain, mechanical or equipment failures, and misjudgments by leaders, volunteers and/or co-participants. You acknowledge these and other risks, and you ASSUME THE RISKS of participating in the New York City WILD! activity and travel to and from the activity/program.

3.) The Coordinator cannot guarantee your health or safety. You are responsible for your own health and safety. You warrant that you have skills and overall health and physical conditioning adequate for the program/activity you have selected. If required, you will provide your own appropriate and adequate clothing, equipment and supplies. You will cooperate with the leader(s) and organizers to achieve a meaningful and safe experience for the group.

4.) You hereby RELEASE AND AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS The Coordinator from any and all liability arising out of or resulting from your participating in a New York City WILD! program or activity. You and your agents, heirs and assigns HEREBY WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS against The Coordinator in any court, forum, tribunal or jurisdiction, whether for personal injury, wrongful death, any act of negligence, property damage or loss, breach of contract, economic loss or consequential damages from delays, cancellation or changes in program or schedules.

5.) You are solely responsible for all transportation fares for and food or beverages consumed during this activity.

6.) You acknowledge that The Coordinator or co-participants may produce photographic or video recordings ("images") of programs. The Coordinator or co-participants may use such images to promote The Coordinator and their programs. You hereby consent to such images made while you are engaged in the activity/program and grant to The Coordinator or co-participants all of your rights to use such images and any copies or derivative works therefrom in any manner for promotional and other commercial purposes, in any medium. You release and assign to any right or interest that you may have in those images including rights in your appearance and or your voice recorded by employees, other participants, agents or contractors, whether or not on behalf of The Coordinator or co-participants, and you waive any right of any kind in or over such images including rights of (A) compensation, (B) publicity, privacy or copyright, or (C) review, inspection or approval.

7.) This Waiver/Release and Assumption of Risk Agreement is the entire agreement between you and The Coordinator, and cannot be orally changed or modified.

8.) This agreement entered into in the State of New York, is to be governed by the laws of New York and any suits, claims or actions concerning it are to be brought only in the courts of the State of New York.

9.) If a court with proper jurisdiction determines that any part of this document is invalid, illegal or against public policy, the remaining portions thereof shall remain in full force and effect.

I have read this agreement and I understand its terms and, in particular, that I am giving up substantial legal rights. Knowing this, I am voluntarily agreeing to this Waiver, Release, and Assumption of Risk Agreement.

Fields to be completed on hard copy at the start of the Walking Tour:                                                           

Print Name: __________________________________________


Signature: ___________________________________________


Date: ________________________________________________


Mobile phone #: _______________________________________   

e-mail: _______________________________________________     

Emergency Contact Name:_______________________________  

Emergency Contact Phone Number: _______________________

 


 

Hudson River Park WILD!

is a project of Hudson River Park

Visit www.hudsonriverpark.org for full Hudson River Park Events & Information

     Click HERE to make your FREE reservation on Eventbrite NOW.

 

NATURE WALKS

2016 Season - Sundays 9:00 am - June 5 through September 25

MEET: Christopher Street Fountain, north of Pier 40. Cross at Christopher Street.

COST: FREE

DURATION: Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours

DISTANCE WALKED: 1 1/2 to 2 miles

SUBWAY and BUS LINES: #1 Train to Christopher Street; M8 Bus

HUDSON RIVER PARK brings attention to its vital role in creating one of the scarcest resources in all of Manhattan - wildlife habitat! Learn about Hudson River Park's wildlife by joingin experienced naturalists on guided nature walks along the Park's esplanade.

Enjoy a meandering waterfront walk while viewing and learning about the park's flora and fauna, including some of the more than 100 different species of birds identified within Park boundaries. Peek into some of our gardens to discover butterflies, dragonflies and other interesting insects. Get to know the native plants that thrive in unexpected places in and around the river's edge. Each nature walk is unique and offers a one-of-a-kind treasure hunt-like experience.

Nature guides will meet participants at the Christopher Street Fountain (dry during Summer 2013), just north of Pier 40 (cross at Christopher Street) at 9AM sharp. Please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Loud noises and barking tend to startle wildlife and reduce viewing opportunites - please be considerate and leave your dog at home.

Hudson River Park WILD! walks are led by the following dedicated, volunteer park naturalists:

 

WALTER H. LAUFER is a self-taught urban naturalist, with a special interest in butterflies and dragonflies. For twenty-odd years, he spent part of his summer in Western Canada and the US hiking with naturalist guides. Since 2005 he has been converting the knowledge gained in the wild to knowledge useful in the urban environment.

To date, Laufer has learned to identify over 100 varieties of vegetation from pine trees to periwinkles found in the Park; over that time he has observed more than 80 bird species and 50 insect species living in or passing through the Greenwich Village and Tribeca segments. He loves sharing his expertise and passion for the flora and fauna of Hudson River Park.

 

KEITH MICHAEL is a self-taught urban naturalist, an avid birder and a dedicated explorer of the New York City Parks in all five boroughs. Birds are his driving focus, but the vistas, trees, wildflowers, grasses, butterflies, dragonflies, mushrooms; scaled, slithery and furred fauna that can be observed within the city are equally remarkable to him. Besides leading Hudson River Park WILD! walks, the Park is "home turf" for daily walks with his Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Millie. He is also a regular contributor to WestView: The Voice of the West Village.

For Michael, reconnecting with the rhythms and sheer wonders of the natural world in our urban midst is a potent antidote to the stress and electronic distractions of our daily routines. Michael believes that curiosity is the key - there will always be more to see and learn. JUST LOOK!