Public transportation in NYC is perceived around the subway system which itself is designed to best serve midtown Manhattan. Adventure tours take participants to less frequently visited places in Greater NYC and/or connect places with less frequently used means of transportation that don’t require a midtown subway connection.
Mare In Cognito and Terra in Cognita (1566) NYPL Map Division
Two states, three counties, four modes of transportation (five, counting walking!) We link the World Trade Center site with Jersey City and Bayonne, NJ then Port Richmond and Snug Harbor on Staten Island and South Ferry in Manhattan. Transportation is with PATH, NJTransit light rail, a walk through Bayonne and over the Bayonne Bridge, MTA buses, and the Staten Island Ferry. Local guides join us in Jersey City and on Staten Island. Lunch in Bayonne. This excursion connects dots many have never been to using some unusual modes of transportation.
Northeast Queens via the Long Island Railroad
The communities of Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck were nurtured by what is now the Port Washington branch of the LIRR. An Old Bayside walk departs from LIRR station to include homes and churches from Bayside’s “Beverly Hills” period- housing the stars of the stage and silent screen as well as the Lawrence family graveyard. We use the LIRR to get to Little Neck and walk back to Douglaston around posh Douglas Manor in time to catch a westbound train.
Since the 1965 change in immigration laws, Chinatowns in Brooklyn (Sunset Park) and Queens (Flushing) have developed along with Manhattan’s traditional Chinatown. As a Flushing native, I lead a walk in Flushing focused on the transformation of this neighborhood. Colleagues in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Sunset Park will lead similar walks in those neighborhoods. We begin with an (optional) dim sum meal in Flushing. Transportation is in part via public van services connecting the three Chinatowns.
Interborough Bus Adventures
Some NYCTA buses have relatively long routes connecting transit hubs outside midtown Manhattan. They allow us easy access to places of interest not served by the subway system. These tours include a lunch break and run for about 4-5 hours.
1. Q44 (Bronx Zoo to Jamaica Center) The tour centers on walks within three unusual housing developments: Parkchester, a Metropolitan Life Insurance funded apartment complex in the East Bronx; Malba, a wealthy waterfront enclave adjacent to the Whitestone Bridge in Queens; Parkway Village, garden apartments built for United Nations personnel in Kew Garden Hills. Lunch is in the vibrant Asiatown in Central Flushing. The bus passes by neighborhoods of different class and ethnicity and offers a stunning Manhattan skyline view from the Whitestone Bridge.
2. M60 (Upper West Side to LaGuardia Airport) The route shadows the movement of some of the black middle class from Harlem to East Elmhurst in Queens after the construction of LaGuardia Airport and the Grand Central Parkway devalued the area for a white elite. Three diverse walks are offered: Mount Morris, a geographic anomaly in Central Harlem; the Arab community centered on Steinway St. in Astoria, also site of our lunch break; a walk from the Malcolm X house in East Elmhurst to Louis Armstrong’s home in Corona. Armstrong’s home is now a museum which participants may want to visit before continuing to a #7 subway connection.
3. B62 (Long Island City to Brooklyn) The B62 links a string of East River communities in Queens and Brooklyn that I call “La Rive Gauche” (or Left Bank). This is the locale for artists and young professionals priced out of Manhattan and/or attracted to more spacious, pioneering communities. The walks are in the vicinity of Jackson Ave in Long Island City, the waterfront and Bedford Ave. strip in North Williamsburg and the waterfront communities of D.U.M.B.O. and Vinegar Hill. In each of these communities recent zoning changes have made possible the transformation of declining industrial neighborhoods. The B62 continues to downtown Brooklyn.