• Central Park in color: Foliage, flowers, fabulous bird & museum!

    Park side of 5th Ave. at E. 60th St.

    I'm baaaaaack!!!! The trees will be ablaze with color, as we walk from the bottom to the top of the park, on the East Side. Special features: * A spectacularly colored Mandarin duck, native to China. No one knows how it got here, a few weeks ago. But we know where it's hanging out, and hopefully it will be kind enough to stay there when we arrive. * A huge display of Korean Chrysanthemums, which bloom, strangely enough, at the start of November. * The relatively new and still pristine Hallett Bird Sanctuary, with beautiful paths through the secluded woods next to Central Park South. * Museum of the City of New York (pay what you wish). Current exhibitions include photographs by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick (2001, Lolita), rebel women in Victorian New York, fashions from Phantom of the Opera, and Chinese life in the City, plus a wonderfu short film about the history of the City. DISTANCE: About 3 miles LUNCH: PLEASE DRESS WARMLY ENOUGH TO SIT OUTDOORS FOR A HALF HOUR WHILE EATING. PREDICTED HIGH: 46 DEGREES. Bring your own or buy it at the sailing boat pond cafe or the nearby boat house cafe. We'll eat at the pond, starting at around 2:15 PM. So eat a big breakfast or bring a snack to tide you over till then. COST: $3, to cover Meetup's organizer fee and my time and effort. ENDING TIME: Around 5:15 PM, but you can leave earlier, of course. (Please ignore the ending time indicated above, which I was unable to change.) TRANSPORTATION: N, R, train to 59th St (and 5th Ave.); F train 57th St. (and 6th Ave.); M train to 53rd St. (and 5th Ave.); or 4,5,6 train to 59th St. (and Lexington Ave.) For more details, go to tripplanner.mta.info, a subway map (available online) or both (since the tripplanner is occasionally inaccurate). Also check mta.info/weekender for weekend service changes.

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  • Staten Island's Stapleton: Spectacular mansions, lovely parks!

    Inside Whitehall Terminal (Staten Island Ferry) in lower Manhattan

    DON'T BE LATE: THE FERRY LEAVES AT 4 PM! NOTE: WE'LL TAKE A BUS AT THE START TO SHORTEN THE WALK AND AVOID MOST OF THE UPHILL WALKING I MENTIONED EARLIER. The Stapleton Heights Historic District the oldest collection, to my knowledge, of elegant, richly creative wooden mansions in New York City. We'll take a short bus ride there from the S.I. ferry terminal. (The boat ride itself is a beautiful, serene, cooling treat on a hot summer day.) After viewing the mansions we'll walk to nearby Silver Lake Park, with its big reservoir and many rabbits. Then we'll take another bus to nearby Clove Lake Park, which is somewhat more natural and less manicured, with big herons and egrets. Finally we'll hop a third bus back to the terminal. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DETAILS SO YOU'RE PROPERLY PREPARED: DISTANCE: About 3-4 miles, including one short but moderately steep hill. (That's shorter and easier than before, because we'll take a bus to avoid most of the uphill walking. And we'll climb the one remaining hill slowly to make it easier.) ENDING TIME: You should get back to the ferry terminal in Manhattan by 9:30 PM, give or take half an hour. If you want to leave earlier, I'll provide instructions for taking a bus back to the ferry terminal in S.I. * DINNER: Eat early or bring your own food. You could also stop for a late meal at an inexpensive Sri Lankan restaurant if you wish, but I may not join you if I'm bushed. COST: $3 for me, to cover Meetup's organizer fee plus my time and effort; $8.25 for three bus rides if you don't have an unlimited Metrocard; and the cost of dinner if you decide to eat out. TRANSPORTATION: R, W, 1 train to Whitehall/South Ferry, or 4,5 train to Bowling Green. For details consult tripplanner.mta.info and/or a subway map (available online). Also consult http://web.mta.info/weekender.html for weekend changes on your trains.

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  • Boat ride, art, and 2 clean beaches

    Pier 11

    BUS INSTRUCTIONS: THE SHUTTLE BUS OR BUSES ARE LARGE, COLORFUL FANS RIGHT OUTSIDE THE FERRY LANDING IN ROCKAWAY. THERE MAY NOT BE ROOM FOR ALL OF US, SO PLEASE TRY TO LEAVE THE FERRY PROMPTLY, BY MOVING TO THE REAR OF THE BOAT (THE EXIT) BEFORE IT DOCKS. IF YOU HAVE AN UNLIMITED METROCARD, PLEASE BOARD THE SHUTTLE ONLY IF THERE'S ROOM FOR EVERYONE ELSE. YOU AND OTHERS WITH THE CARD WILL JOIN ME ON THE NEARBY Q22 BUS IF THERE'S NO ROOM ON THE SHUTTLE. WE WILL ALL MEET AT THE BUS STOP AT RIIS PARK. DON'T BE LATE: WE NEED TO BE ON LINE NO LATER THAN 11:35 AM FOR THE 11:55 BOAT. (DO NOT TAKE THE 11:30 BOAT.) It's the best bargain in town: An hour-long, $5.50 round-trip cruise from lower Manhattan to Rockaway Beach. From there we will take the Q22 bus and possibly the free shuttle bus from the ferry landIng to Riis Park beach, featuring a new food and music center. After lunch (bring your own or buy it there), we'll view an art installation by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, then walk along Fort Tilden's dunes and shrub forest. We'll see abandoned fortresses and bunkers, and bask in the tranquility of this otherworldly environment, a renowned refuge for shore birds and free spirits. We'll stop on the beach for a leisurely rest, snack, or wade. (No lifeguards, so please do not swim here--there are strong undertows and riptides. You can wade in shallow water, but If you want to swim, use the adjacent Riis beach, which has lifeguards, at the end of the day.) Finally, we'll catch the bus and ferry back to Pier 1 SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: *Buy a boat ticket before getting on line. You can buy it at the ticket office or by downloading the Rockaway ferry app. * We won't be able to all stand together on line. (Please don't join me by cutting in line; it's not fair to others behind us.) So we'll meet on the boat or outside the Rockaway dock. *You can also meet us outside the dock at 12:55 PM, when the boat arrives, if You wish. LUNCH: Buy it at riis or bring your own. We will start eating at around 1:15 or 1:30 PM. Pack a snack for later in the day if you wish. DISTANCE: About 4 miles ENDING TIME: We should get back to Pier 11 by around 6 PM. You can leave earlier by catching an earlier ferry. COST: $5.50 for the round trip boat ride; possibly another $5.50 for the Q22 bus If you can't squeeze onto the free shuttle bus and don't have an unlimited metrocard; $3 for me, to cover Meetup's organizer fee plus my time and effort; and whatever food or drink you buy. TRANSPORTATION: 2,3, 4 or 5 train to Wall St. Then walk east toward South Street at the East River. For details consult tripplanner.mta.info and/or a subway map (available online). Also consult http://web.mta.info/weekender.html for weekend changes on your trains.

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  • SUNSET STROLL REPLACES SNUG HARBOR: River & Bridge Walk plus Food-Court Dinner

    Outside Fulton St. subway station on 4,5 line

    It's going to be 92 degrees on Saturday--too hot for the Snug Harbor Walk. Instead, we'll stay cool by meeting in the early evening in Manhattan, dining indoors, then walking along the rivers, where we'll see the sunset. We'll start at Hudson Eats food court in Brookfield Place (formerly the Winter Garden). Then we'll walk along the Hudson River Promenade, one of the most interesting and beautiful spots in the city, especially in the evening. We'll tour Battery City Park then head uptown along the East River, where we'll briefly visit the South Street Seaport to see the latest developments. Then we'll walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and head for the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, both of which offer stunning views of the water and city at night. Finally, we'll catch the F or A train in Brooklyn Heights. DISTANCE: 3-4 miles. ENDING TIME: About 10:30 PM. But you can leave earlier, of course. COST: $3 (plus whatever you spend for dinner). PACE: MODERATE, NOT SLOW (Unless it's still hot). TRANSPORTATION: 4, 5 to Fulton St. For details, consult tripplanner.mta.info, a subway map, or both.

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  • Last-minute walk: Scenic bay, horseshoe-crab mating, and possible late dinner!

    Outside the B/Q train station at Sheepshead Bay

    The hot weather has the horseshoe crabs dreaming of love! These formidable creatures, old as the dinosaurs, come flocking ashore during May and June, where the females lay their eggs in the sand, and the males, hitching a ride into shore on the ladies' backs, fertilize the eggs. We'll go at the ideal time and place: High tide and full moon at Plumb Beach (part of Gateway National Park) in south Brooklyn. Nature gives no guarantees, but we should experience a fascinating view of nature's ancient rhythms, still visible at the edge of the city. We'll walk along the scenic bay and through a seaside fishing community to our destination. We should arrive with about 45 minutes of daylight remaining, but consider bringing a flashlight (or using your cellphone light) if you wish. On the way back from the beach you can stop for an optional late dinner (see details below). PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DETAILS SO YOU'RE PROPERLY PREPARED DISTANCE: About 4 miles, ending at around 9:30, later if you stop for dinner after the walk. You cannot leave earlier unless you drop out before reaching Plumb Beach. PACE: Moderate (about 3 blocks per 4 minutes) NOT SLOW. If you wish to walk slowly, this is not the right event for you. DINNER: You could eat before coming or bring something to eat on the beach. (Bring a sheet, towel, or pillowcase to sit on.) You can also stop for an optional late meal on the way back to the subway at one of the many restaurants in Sheepshead Bay if you prefer. COST: $3, in part to cover Meetup's recently increased organizer fee. TRANSPORTATION: B (express) or Q (local) train to Sheepshead Bay. Waiting for the B probably should be faster unless you live in South Brooklyn. For more details, consult mta.tripplanner.org, a subway map, or both, since the planner is occasionally inaccurate (and gives ideal travel times, which are often shorter than the reality).

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  • NEW WALK REPLACES SNUG HARBOR: Brooklyn boat, gardens, mansions, & shore walk!

    SNUG HARBOR WALK RESCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEEKEND BECAUSE OF GIANT, LOUD POLISH FESTIVAL THIS SUNDAY (I'LL POST THAT SOON). INSTEAD WE'LL TAKE ANOTHER FERRY ON SUNDAY, TO VIEW THE LOVELY MANSIONS, GARDENS, AND WATERFRONT OF SUNSET PARK AND BAY RIDGE, BROOKLYN We'll take a 35-minute ride on the NYC Ferry from Wall Street to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. (Get a ticket by purchasing them on the dock or downloading the NYC Ferry app.) Then we'll walk south on the promenade skirting the water, which offers wonderful views of the harbor and shorebirds. We'll take a few detours, to explore a botanical gardens and view some of Bay Ridge's old, magnificent mansions. We'll continue south along the water to the Verrazano Bridge, then return by subway. If you'd rather skip the ferry, you can meet us for lunch near the restrooms in the south end (toward the higher street numbers) of Owl's Head Park (find it on a google map) between approximately 1:20 and 1:55 PM. DON'T BE LATE: THE FERRY LEAVES AT 12:12 PM AND YOU NEED TO BUY A TICKET ($2.75)! PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DETAILS SO YOU'RE PROPERLY PREPARED. DISTANCE: About 3-4 miles FINISH AT: Around 4:30 PM though you can leave earlier, of course. COST: $2.75 for the ferry, plus $3 for me, to cover Meetup’s organizer fee and my time planning and leading the walk. LUNCH: BRING YOUR OWN. We'll start eating at around 1:20 PM in the southern part of Owl's Head Park. TRANSPORTATION: 1,2,3 train (best) or 4,5,6 train, all to Wall St. Then walk east to the river, cross South St., and turn right, reaching Pier 11 in a block or two.

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  • Governor's Island Jazz Age Party, art exhibitions, new slides, & more!

    Governor's Island Ferry Terminal

    DON'T BE LATE: THE FERRY LEAVES AT 11:30 AM AND IT MAY BE EXTRA-CROWDED BECAUSE OF THE JAZZ AGE PARTY. Let's take a free ferry ride to Governor's Island, a former Coast Guard base converted to a huge park. Expect beautiful views of the city skyline and waterways; tree-shaded paths, rolling lawns, and lovely old houses and churches; relics of the island's military past, including a large fort from 1810; the "hammock grove;" and a pair of food courts. In addition, we'll view the annual Jazz Age party, where people dress in elegant 1920s outfits and dance to a live jazz band, as well as several art exhibitions, the giant slides (optional) for all ages--including the longest in NYC--and a recently created hill with great 360-degree views of the harbor. Please note: I am raising my fee for organizing the walks to $3 (see "Cost" below.) This puts my fee in line with other walking groups on Meetup. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DETAILS SO YOU'RE PROPERLY PREPARED. DISTANCE: About 3 miles. ENDING TIME: We'll return to the Manhattan ferry terminal at around 4:30 to 5 PM. But you can catch an earlier ferry if you wish. LUNCH: Buy it at the food courts or bring your own. We'll eat at around 1:30 PM. COST: I am raising my fee, which covers Meetup's annual organizer charge plus my time and effort, to $3. In addition, there's whatever you spend at the food courts. The ferry is free until 11:30 AM. TRANSPORTATION: 1 or R train to South Ferry (closest) or 5 train to Bowling Green. * From South Ferry, facing the big Staten Island Ferry building, walk to the left (northeast) along the waterfront to the nearby Governors Island Ferry building on South St. * From Bowling Green, walk south on State St. to the S.I. ferry building, then left (northeast) along the water to the Governors Island ferry on South St. Consult mta.tripplanner.org, a subway map, or or both, since the planner is occasionally inaccurate. Also consult mta.info/weekender for weekend subway changes. RSVPs: No need to let me know if you can't come. But please change your RSVP online if you signed up but cannot attend.

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  • NY Botanical Gardens: Roses, forest, river, & more

    Mosholu Gate, NY Botanical Gardens

    TRAIN SCHEDULE HAS CHANGED FOR FIRST TIME IN SEVERAL YEARS. TRAIN LEAVES GRAND CENTRAL AT 8:42, HARLEM AT 8:52, ARRIVING AT 9:05. SO WE ARE MEETING AT 9:10 AM. SEE DETAILS BELOW This is a great time to visit the Gardens, as the gigantic rose garden should be in full bloom. There are numerous other gardens here as well as an original tract of old-growth forest plus a beautiful river, waterfall, and wetlands. (Admission is free before 10 AM on Saturday, hence the ungodly meeting time. Metro North will get you there before 10 AM. If you're coming by subway, don't be late: We'll enter the gardens at or just before 10 AM. Please note: I am raising my fee for organizing the walks to $3 (see "Cost" below.) This puts my fee in line with other walking groups on Meetup. Also note: Viewing the Georgia O-Keefe exhibition of Hawaiian paintings, requires the full admission price of $28 ($25 for seniors). You can leave the group at any time to see it--at the end of the walk might be ideal. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DETAILS SO YOU'RE PROPERLY PREPARED. DISTANCE: About 2-3 miles. PACE: Moderate, NOT SLOW. If you want to walk slowly, this is not the right event for you. FINISH AT: Roughly 1:40 PM, at the train station near the garden; you can leave earlier, of course. LUNCH: Around 12 PM. Bring your own or eat in the cafeteria. And bring a snack if you think you'll be hungry before lunchtime. TRANSPORTATION: NOTE: SCHEDULE HAS CHANGED! Metro North train from Grand Central (8:42 AM) or Harlem/125th St (8:52), both arriving at Botanical Garden station at 9:05. Then cross Southern Blvd (also called Kazamiroff Blvd) to the Garden's Mosholu gate. Subway: D or 4 train to Bedford Park Blvd Station. Then: * Take the Bx 26 bus east to the Garden's Mosholu Gate entrance. * OR walk eight blocks down the hill on Bedford Park Blvd to the end (approximately 20 minutes). Turn left onto Southern/Kazimiroff Blvd and walk about one block to Mosholu Gate entrance. For more details, consult tripplanner.mta.info, a subway map (available online) or both, since the planner is occasionally inaccurate. COST: I am raising my fee, which covers Meetup's annual organizer charge plus my time and effort, to $3. If that is a burden for you please feel free to stick with the old $2 fee, guarantee no raised eyebrows or questions asked. Other costs are $4.25 (ask for City Ticket) for Metro North each way to and from Grand Central or Harlem plus the cost of lunch (at about 12:30) if you eat in the cafe. Entrance to the Garden grounds is free before 10 AM; it does not provide access to the buildings or exhibitions.

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  • Greenpoint Open Art Studios and other highlights!

    Outside McDonalds near the Greenpoint Ave. G train station

    Numerous artists will be opening their studios to the public in Greenpoint, Brooklyn this weekend. We'll visit the largest studio buildings and explore this historic but rapidly changing neighborhood, with its curious mix of Polish immigrants and young artists and hipsters. We'll view some of the elegant 19th-century mansions and churches, the many Polish stores, and the influx of quirky, innovative places catering to the newcomers. DISTANCE: About 3 miles. We'll finish at around 5:30 PM, but you can leave earlier, of course. PACE: Moderate (about 3 blocks in 4 minutes), NOT SLOW. If you wish to stroll rather than walk moderately, this is not the right walk for you. LUNCH: Bring your own. We'll eat at around 2:30 PM. Consider bringing something for sitting on the grass, since there may not be enough seats at the tables. COST: $2 for me, in part to cover Meetup's organizer fee. TRANSPORTATION: G train to meeting place. Consult tripplanner.mta.org, a subway map (available online), or both, since the tripplanner is occasionally inaccurate.

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