As we enter the final weeks of what may turn out to be the hottest summer ever, temperatures could cool just enough to make for those less muggy perfect days that say, “take a stroll outside.”
The fall season is filled with walking tours, and whether your interest is culture, history, food, or nature, the borough offers something for everyone. So mark your calendars and check out the samplings from some of the tours on the horizon:
Jack Eichenbaum’s public walks
Queens Borough Historian Jack Eichenbaum has been leading tours through all five boroughs for years. This past spring the urban geographer conducted 10 Queens tours during which he discussed the history and culture of various neighborhoods. His walks have included educational tours of Flushing’s Koreatown, Queens Plaza and Jamaica.
This fall, Eichenbaum plans to lead a new tour called “Rejuvenating Queens,” which he says is “aimed at the young and young at heart who are changing western Queens.” He also plans to hold additional tours of historic Jamaica in September and October that will focus on Jamaica Avenue and includes visits to Grace Episcopal Church and the restored landmarked Valencia Theatre. The Jamaica tour meets on the front lawn of King Manor museum on, Jamaica Avenue between 150th and 153rd streets. Some tours are free, but most cost between $10 to $30.
Greater Astoria Historical Society
Explore pre-Civil War “mansions on the hill” in the Greater Astoria Historical Society’s Old Astoria Village walking tour. Despite pressure from developers who hope to replace the mansions with multi-family houses, the landmark-worthy houses still exist as part of old Astoria Village. See history come alive on Sunday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tour starts at the main gate of Socrates Sculpture Park at Vernon Boulevard and Broadway and will skirt the waterfront before entering old Astoria Village to discuss the community, the homes and the future. The cost is $10 for members, $20 for non-members.
To learn about the neighborhood’s more eerie history, join the society for the Astoria Halloween Haunted Waters Tour on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 3to 5 p.m. to hear about Hell Gate, the sinkings of the HMS Hussar and the General Slocum and events in and around the East River and Old Astoria Village. Meet under the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria Park on Shore Boulevard and walk along the waterfront to Socrates Sculpture Park. Tickets cost $20 for the general public and $10 for GAHS members and those in Halloween costumes.
For more information, visit astorialic.org or call (718) 278-0700.
Institute of Culinary Education
For a tasty tour of Astoria, join food writer and neighborhood local Stacey Ornstein on Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. to indulge in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delights. The walk begins with Greek pastries and Bosnian bureks and is followed by visits to old-world fish mongers and an Italian market for a demonstration in sausage stuffing. Finally, experience Astoria’s Egyptian, Moroccan and Lebanese sheesha at hookah bars and specialty shops. The tour meets in front of Omonia Cafe at 32-20 Broadway. Tickets cost $75 and may be purchased at rec.iceculinary.com/Courses. For more information call (800) 522-4610.
Cookbook author Myra Alperson offers culinary journeys through neighborhoods like Flushing and Jackson Heights, where she guides participants through little-known gems and eateries. Don’t miss out on her Sunnyside tour that will take place in September and will include Peruvian, Colombian, Romanian, Salvadoran, Lebanese, Turkish and Irish specialties plus a visit to Sunnyside Gardens, the first planned garden community in the United States.
In October, participants can experience the wide range of Asian food in Nosh Tours’ Asian Flushing program. Visits to Indian, Afghan, Chinese and Korean markets will be among those stops before visitors make their way to a noodle shop for a noodle-making demonstration.
Finally, a South Asian Jackson Heights tour will be offered in November with trips to Burmese, Tibetan, Nepali, Thai and Indian-Chinese markets as well as the better known Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan eateries. There will also be a visit to the Jackson Heights Beautification District.Bring your appetite and a tote bag to carry leftover goodies.
Tours cost $45 for adults, and $16 for children. Reservations are suggested. For more information on finalized programs or to book a private tour, visit noshwalks.com or call (212) 222-2243.
Fort Totten Park
Relax and rest your feet on Fort Totten Park’s trolley tour that winds its way through the former historic military base with peeks into the past. The tour takes place Sunday, Sept. 26 at noon.
Fort Totten will also be hosting a series of tours including Solid as a Rock on Sunday, Oct. 10 and 24, Saturday Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14 and 28. The tour explores the 19th-century fortress that helped protect New York Harbor from possible naval attack and the history of Willet’s Point. Meet at the park at 1 p.m. for this historical adventure.
On Sunday, Oct. 17, the park will host a Native American Tribes tour at 1 p.m. that will highlight the customs and culture of the area’s 13 different tribes that once lived in what is now Queens and Long Island.
All tours are free. For more information, go to nycgovparks. org/parks/forttotten.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Jamaica Bay’s Wildlife Refuge is a nature lover’s paradise, located one and one-half miles past the Addabbo Bridge on Crossbay Boulevard. With over 330 bird species that visit or inhabit the bay, the refuge is one of the best spots in the city for bird-watching. On Sept. 5 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., you can take the Shorebird Walk to identify local species and tour the eastern bound mudflats.
On Sept. 19 visitors can take part in a ranger-guided Refuge Trail walk to search for signs of fall from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The park is also hosting autumn walks on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. to celebrate the full harvest moon; on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. for an autumn ramble on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.; and Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. for a walking moon prowl.
To make reservations for the free walks or to get more details about the scheduled events, call (718) 318-4340, or visit nyharbor parks.org/visit/calendar.
Cunningham Park, Alley Pond Park
The city Parks Department is also offering free walks in September. Come to Cunningham Park’s Denizens of the Dark on Saturday, Sept. 4 for an after-hours exploration to look for nighttime creatures such as bats, raccoons and owls. Meet at the parking lot at Union Turnpike and 197th Street in Fresh Meadows at 7 p.m. Bring a flashlight and leave your fear of the dark at home.
On Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. Alley Pond Park will host a Ho, Ho, Ho, Green Giant tour to learn about the “Alley Giant,” the largest tulip tree on geographic Long Island. Meet at the Alley Pond Adventure Center, Union Turnpike and Winchester Boulevard.
For additional information on the parks tours, visit nycgov parks.org.