Stop And Smell The Roses: Two Sunset Park Walking Tours Are Happening This Month

Stop And Smell The Roses: Two Sunset Park Walking Tours Are Happening This Month
Photos courtesy of Municipal Art Society.
Photos courtesy of Municipal Art Society.

There’s nothing like a walking tour of neighborhood sights and sounds to introduce — or reintroduce! — people to the unique things about a community. That’s one of the ideas behind Jane’s Walk NYC, which is back and ready to remind New Yorkers new and old/grizzled how wonderful and awesome their city and neighborhood is.

Unfortunately, this year, there are no Sunset Park tours planned from May 6-8 as part of the annual weekend of “free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs” — the 20th century journalist and champion of community-focused urban planning (aka the anti-Robert Moses).

That said, that doesn’t mean we’re going without local tours this month. Thanks to a couple of local history and neighborhood buffs, we have two to speak of, detailed below!

Photo by Heather Chin.
Photo by Heather Chin.

Saturday, May 14, 1:30-3:30pm – “Join veteran Brooklyn tour guide (and City Limits contributor) Norman Oder, along with neighborhood activist Maria Roca, on a wide-ranging tour of the Sunset Park neighborhood in Brooklyn. Once part of Bay Ridge and a Scandinavian stronghold, Sunset Park is now home to a diverse Latino population and the anchor of New York City’s largest Chinese community, as well as a perpetual “next” neighborhood in real estate lore. Both working-class and gentrifying, Sunset Park faces tensions over growth, equity, and environmental justice. Its progress and challenges will emerge as we walk on residential and commercial streets, past churches, civic buildings, and notable murals, and into the busy namesake park, with its great views and WPA-era pool. The tour will last 2-2.5 hours.”
Please be prepared for some brisk walking. Sponsored by City Limits.  Free to City Limits members. $20 suggested donation.
Meet outside Sunset Park High School at 153 35th Street. For more info, click here.

  • Saturday, May 21, 11:00am “When tour guide and preservation activist, Joe Svehlak, was growing up in Sunset Park, Norwegian Independence Day would be celebrated with a grand parade on 8th Avenue, which is now the commercial heart of New York City’s 3rd Chinatown. Also there is now a mosque on 8th Avenue reflecting the great diversity of Joe’s old neighborhood.
    Join Joe for a walk up and down the hill of tree lined row house streets in New York City’s largest National Register Historic District of over 3,000 buildings. The Sunset Park Landmarks Committee is now seeking New York City landmark designation for many of its intact streets of fine middle and working class housing constructed mostly at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century.
    We’ll discuss the campaign for landmarks and sensible development in this ever changing neighborhood. Enjoy great harbor and city views from the recently renovated 24.5 acre hilltop park. Learn about New York City’s first major development of non-profit co-op housing started by the Finns in the early 1900s. View some grand civic buildings and magnificent churches, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is the largest religious edifice on Long Island. We’ll end on 8th Avenue where there are many choices for lunch in Brooklyn’s Chinatown.
    Sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society. Cost: $30 / $20 for members of the Municipal Arts Society. For more info, click here.

If you’d like to also explore neighborhoods you’re unfamiliar with, check out the full list of NYC Jane’s Walks, as well as a list of other walks sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society.


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