What we're about

We have fun, informative, sociable, and scenic walks or events in NYC, NJ, LI, PA, CT, DC, & Westchester.

These walks or events go to historic neighborhoods/towns, scenic waterfronts, gardens/arboretums, museums, art studios/galleries, historic houses/mansions/estates, forestland, waterfalls, annual festivals/events, zoos, animal sanctuaries, and National historical parks.

Some of our walks are similar to walking tours, 1 1/2 to 3 miles in length, with the guide commenting and stopping at many points of interest; other walks, 5 to 9 miles long, explore a larger area with the guide commenting at points of interest but not stopping as much as a regular walking tour.

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A modest organizer fee, which is listed in the description of each walk or event, is paid at the start of each walk or event. This charge is for the semi-annual Meetup fees as well as the preparation costs, such as spending a great deal of time and effort in planning and researching the walks or events, scouting out the walks or events (sometimes multiple times) in the New York metropolitan area and beyond, purchasing stationery supplies (presentation books, index cards, et cetera), and making photo copies. Each of the three organizers has her/his own fee structure.

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Aurelia's Policy:

New Policy for Aurelia's events: (Please read & follow)

Cancellation policy effective September 4, 2018:

As you know we need at least three (3) people to run an event outside of NYC. If we do not have 3 people, the event will be canceled and will not be rescheduled until the following year. For events within the 5 boroughs there is no limit on the number of attendees.

1) Cancellations must be received at least 2 hours prior to the meeting time of the event.

2) You will be considered a NO SHOW if you cancel after the 2 hours prior to the event.

3) After 5 No-Show's, you will not be able to register for one of my events.

Please note that these policies do not apply to events organized by John C.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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John's Policy:

Members who incur more than a small number of no-shows (aka excused absences) might be removed from this Meetup group. This no-show policy pertains to John's events, not the other organizers' events. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

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Liability Waiver: By going on an event/walk with NYC/NJ: Explore Architecture, Art, History and Nature, you agree to participate in the event/walk completely at your own risk and to take full responsibility for your safety and the safety of your guests. You agree not to hold the organizer, the co-organizer, and any other member of NYC/NJ: Explore Architecture, Art, History and Nature liable for any mishaps.

Upcoming events (5)

Visit to the Jets & Sharks neighborhood - San Juan Hill

Time Warner Center

When you're a Jet, You're a Jet all the way From your first cigarette To your last dyin' day. From: West Side Story The land of the Jets and Sharks was the neighborhood around San Juan Hill in the play and movie, West Side Story. This was where they played, sat on the stoop, sang and fought. Today, it is a cultural center and San Juan Hill is only a memory. The original boundaries stretched from 59th Street to 65th Street from Amsterdam Avenue to 11th Avenue. The Italians were north of this area and the Irish to the south in Hell's Kitchen section. So, who lived here? In the 1940's this was mainly an African-American area, the original Harlem. In the 1950's & 60's Puerto Ricans moved into the area. Change came to the area with the help of Robert Moses, John D. Rockefeller, Fordham University, Metropolitan Opera and other groups. Robert Moses wanted to create a project to keep the fleeing white community from leaving New York. The Metropolitan Opera wanted a new home. Fordham University was looking for space in Manhattan. Soon after World War II, the demolition of San Juan Hill began with the construction of Amsterdam Houses. This is a NYCHA building which still stands. This was the first step to the elimination of San Juan Hill from our memories- the jazz songs that rang out of the black night clubs were silenced. We will see what was and what is now. Some of you who have attended my walks know that I love to learn what was beforehand. This also applies to my family roots. So I thought that it would be good to visit the genealogy center of the Church of Latter Day Saints after our walk. We will have a person talk to us about researching your family history. OPTIONAL: Visit to the Folk Art Museum (free). The exhibition is that of "John Dunkley: Neither Day or Night". He is a Jamaican artist whose landscapes are very distinctive. We will also see his wood sculptures. Transportation: A/D/C/#1 to Columbus Circle-59th St. Meeting time: 12:30pm Meeting place: Time Warner Building (59th & Columbus Circle) Organizer fee: $7.00

Historic Bloomingdale to Hamilton Heights Walk, including Morningside Park

This "Bloomingdale to Hamilton Heights Walk" is on a scenic route filled with interesting places. I will comment on architecture & history, but you will have plenty of time to socialize with others. Cost: The cost of this event is $4 per person, which is paid at the start of the walk. This is for the organizer's Meetup preparation costs and fees. (Please read the "About Us Section" for more information regarding the $4 per person fee for each event.) The one-way walk is moderate paced for 5 to 6 miles, with some ups and downs. This walk will cover more ground & go to more scenic places than one of my regular walking tours. Bring walking shoes, EXTRA LAYERS OF CLOTHING. If you are registered for this walk and can't attend, please change your RSVP online from "YES" to "NO". (PLEASE READ THE "ABOUT US SECTION" FOR THE GUIDELINES REGARDING THE NO SHOW POLICY.) THERE IS NO NEED TO POST WHY YOU CAN'T MAKE THE EVENT. No young children, service animals or pets allowed on walk w/o prior approval of organizer. No smoking, please. If you have a personal matter/question, please contact John, the Event Host, directly to his private Meetup account. The feature photo above shows the Alexander Hamilton House, built in 1802, tightly squeezed in between an apartment building and a church. In 1889, the Alexander Hamilton House was moved from its original location to the spot shown in the photograph. In 2008, the Alexander Hamilton House was once again moved, to just around the corner. (Photograph by Charles Von Urban in 1932) Description: We’ll first explore the seldom-traveled Manhattan Valley Historic District (now more commonly called the Bloomingdale neighborhood but not to be confused with the Bloomingdale Department Store area). We'll then walk atop Morningside Park and from its scenic sightseeing bays, we'll see the park and the Harlem Plains below. We'll finally zigzag around the picturesque/historic neighborhood of Hamilton Heights. We'll go past amazing Neo-Gothic architecture; several historic districts; a church made from recycled/used materials; an adaptive reuse building with a long uneasy past; a nowadays real estate holdout; and an unusual remnant from a 1960s college student protest. We'll also look at & discuss various sculptures on buildings (mythical griffins, comical grotesques & monstrous gargoyles) and a statue that caused so much controversy in the very late 19th century/early 20th century but is mostly forgotten today. Article from The New York Times about the Alexander Hamilton house being moved over the years two times. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/18/nyregion/18grange.html Article from West Side Rag about the Bloomingdale neighborhood name. https://www.westsiderag.com/2013/03/17/bloomingdale-an-old-name-resurfaces-but-will-it-stick Meeting Time: (after lunch) 1:30 PM Meeting Place: In front of the entrance to Modell's Sporting Goods Store, 795 Columbus Avenue, which is at about 98th Street. Before the walk, restrooms are available downstairs in Modell's Sporting Goods Store or Whole Foods Market, which is directly across the street. During the walk we'll also stop for restrooms in one or two places. Transportation: Take the 1, 2, or 3 subway train to 96th Street & then walk northeast about 4 blocks to Modell's Sporting Goods Store. Finishing Time: 5:00 PM (Sunset 5:06 PM). Finishing Place: 144th Street & Convent Avenue. At that point, you can catch the No. 1 subway train at 145th & Broadway OR the A or D subway trains at 145th & St. Nicholas Avenue. Bad weather cancels this walk. Therefore, if it is bad weather, I'll sent an email cancellation notice on Saturday morning sometimes before 10:30 AM. If I don't send an email cancellation notice, I plan to be at the meeting place.

Bowery/SoHo History Walk: From a Grimy/Tough Past to Trendy Living Today

Outside of entrance to The Whole Foods Market

This "Bowery/SoHo History Walk" is on a scenic route filled with interesting places. I will comment on some things (architecture/history), but you will have plenty of time to socialize with others. Cost: The cost of this event is $4 per person, which is paid at the start of the walk. This is for the organizer's Meetup preparation costs and fees. (Please read the "About Us Section" for more information regarding the $4 per person fee for each event.) BECAUSE OF THE DEMAND, I HAVE SCHEDULED THIS SAME WALK A 2ND TIME ON SUN. JAN. 27TH. I ALSO SCHEDULED THIS SAME WALK ON SUN. JAN. 6TH. This walk is similar to a guided walking tour with a number of stops. If you don't like to stop at a number of points of interest, then this walk is not good for you. This walk is about 2 1/2 miles & moderate paced. Bring water and an EXTRA LAYER OF CLOTHING. If you are registered for this walk and can't attend, please change your RSVP online from "YES" to "NO". (PLEASE READ THE "ABOUT US SECTION" FOR THE GUIDELINES REGARDING THE NO SHOW POLICY.) THERE IS NO NEED TO POST WHY YOU CAN'T MAKE THE EVENT. No young children, service animals or pets allowed on walk w/o prior approval of organizer. No smoking, please. If you have a personal matter/question, please contact John, the Event Host, directly to his private Meetup account. The feature photo above was a patron at Sammy's Bowery Follies (a slumming tourist bar) on the Bowery He was sleeping while the resident bar cat sips at his beer. (Photo Alfred Eisenstaedt, December 4, 1944) Article/photos from Life Magazine about Sammy's Bowery Follies. (Source Gothamist) http://gothamist.com/2013/01/04/sammys_bowery_follies.php#photo-1 Article from The New York Times about corrupt Tammany Hall Politician Tim Sullivan whose headquarters was on the Bowery. https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/big-tim-sullivan-tammany-kingmaker/ From nyc architecture.com, historic buildings in SoHo. http://www.nyc-architecture.com/walks-Soho.htm Description: We'll be walking along the Bowery and then through the NoLita and SoHo neighborhoods. We'll be discussing the architecture & historical events in these neighborhoods, including the following: the history of street art in these areas; not having a fun time in disorderly houses; playing the dangerous game of William Tell; what was until recently the largest single family house in Manhattan & maybe the greatest real estate coup of all time; the possible eerie remnants of a very old crime scene; the life & times of a night shift tabloid photographer; architectural deception in SoHo; the heyday of cast-iron architecture; going "slumming" for a good time; and the Bowery, a street that was often associated with the poor and political corruption. Meeting Time: (after lunch) 1:45 PM. Meeting Place: Outside the entrance to the Whole Foods Market at 95 East Houston Street.(This is the Whole Foods Market entrance that is the nearest to the Bowery [Street]). Before the walk, restrooms are available on the 2nd floor of Whole Foods Market. During the walk, we'll stop at one location for a restroom stop. Transportation Options: Take the F subway train to 2nd Ave/ East Houston St, the 6 subway train to Spring St/Lafayette St or the J or Z subway train to the Bowery/Delancey St. Finishing Time: 4:45 PM (Sunset 5:07 PM) Finishing Place: Houston Street & Greene Street, which is six long blocks west from the starting point. Bad weather cancels this walk. Therefore, if it is bad weather, I'll send email a cancellation notice sometime before 10:30 AM Sunday morning. If I don't email a cancellation notice, I plan to be at the meeting place.

History of Rich People during Gilded Age and Beyond Walk

Outside of the entrance to Barnes & Noble

This Rich People during Gilded Age & Beyond walk is on a scenic route filled with interesting places. I will comment on architecture & history, but you will have plenty of time to socialize with others. Cost: The cost of this event is $4 per person, which is paid at the start of the walk. This is for the organizer's Meetup preparation costs and fees. (Please read the "About Us Section" for more information regarding the $4 per person fee for each event.) BECAUSE OF THE DEMAND, I HAVE SCHEDULED THIS SAME WALK A 2ND TIME ON SUN. FEB 3RD. I ALSO SCHEDULED THIS SAME WALK ON SUN. JAN. 13TH. This walk is similar to a guided walking tour with a number of stops. If you don't like to stop at a number of points of interest, then this walk is not good for you. This walk is about 2 1/2 miles & moderate paced. Bring walking shoes & EXTRA LAYERS OF CLOTHING. If you are registered for this walk and can't attend, please change your RSVP online from "YES" to "NO". (PLEASE READ THE "ABOUT US SECTION" FOR THE GUIDELINES REGARDING THE NO SHOW POLICY.) THERE IS NO NEED TO POST WHY YOU CAN'T MAKE THE EVENT. No young children, service animals, or pets allowed on walk w/o prior approval of organizer. No smoking, please. The feature photo above is of Aimee Crocker, who was nicknamed the "Python Lady". During the Gilded Age in 1875, the then eleven year old Aimee Crocker inherited $10 Million (equivalent to over $220,000,000 today) when her father Edwin B. Crocker died. (Photograph by J. Schloss) Description: During the Gilded Age, Americans achieved wealth as never as before. In NYC, the opera, the theatre, and grand parties consumed the ruling class' leisure hours. Sherry's Restaurant hosted formal horseback dinners for the New York Riding Club. Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish once threw a dinner party to honor her dog who arrived sporting a $15,000 diamond collar. Millionaires built stately & often gaudy homes in NYC. For example, the childhood home of Huguette Clark, built in 1907 by her father, William Andrews Clark, had 121 rooms, 31 baths, 4 art galleries, a swimming pool, and a private underground rail line to bring in the tons of coal for heating this vast mansion. It cost Clark $7 Million - that's about $162 Million in today's dollars—to build, but stood for only 20 years, bought by a developer after Clark's death for less than half the construction cost & demolished to make way for a wealthy apartment house at 960 Fifth Avenue. On this walk, we will discuss rich people's grand mansions, wraparound terraces, extravagant wedding parties, lavish entertainments, over-sized carriage houses, conspicuous leisure, costly hobbies, spacious apartments & wealth fest! Article/photos from Ephemeral NY about William Andrews Clark's extravagant mansion on Fifth Avenue. https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/fifth-avenues-most-insane-gilded-age-mansion/ Article/photos from The Bowery Boys about the rise of the Fifth Avenue mansions. http://www.boweryboyshistory.com/2017/11/rise-fifth-avenue-mansions-forgotten-architecture-new-yorks-gilded-age.html Meeting time: (after lunch) 1:45 PM Meeting place: Outside of the entrance to Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 150 East 86th Street, which is on the south side of East 86th Street between Lexington Avenue & 3rd Avenue. Before the walk, restrooms are available in Barnes & Noble. Public Transportation: Take the 4, 5, or 6 subway train to 86th Street & Lexington Avenue. Finishing Time: 4:45 PM (Sunset at 5:15 PM). Finishing Place: 84th Street & Madison Avenue. This is about five blocks from the starting point. Bad weather cancels this walk. Therefore, if it is bad weather, I'll send emails about the cancellation notice sometime before 10:30 AM on Sunday morning. If I don't send an email about a cancellation notice, I plan to be at the meeting place.

Photos (11,486)