This weekend, thousands of New Yorkers will take to the streets for the Municipal Art Society’s Jane’s Walk Festival, which boasts over 275 free guided walking tours revealing the history, culture, architecture and industries that help make this the greatest city — and Brooklyn the greatest borough— on earth.

More than 40 of these tours will explore Kings County’s every corner, from East New York to Bushwick, Crown Heights, Clinton Hill, and many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. Now in its ninth year, the festival of volunteer-led walking conversations encourages people to share stories about their neighborhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and connect with visitors and neighbors alike.

Like, Preserving East New York, a local group dedicated to the preservation of East Brooklyn’s rich history and culture. During PENY’s walk on Saturday, titled “The New Lots Regeneration,” the group’s tour guides Zulmilena Then and Farrah Lafontant will share the history of the beginnings of the small town of New Lots, which eventually transformed into what we now know today as East New York. Sustained by “lots” of community love, Brooklyn’s last stop on the 3 line is home to both historic and cultural gems that contribute to the vibrancy of its surrounding community.

The free family-, pet- and wheelchair-friendly tour will kick off at 11:00am at Word Up Cafe, located at 652 Pennsylvania Avenue, and conclude two hours later at ARTS East New York on Livonia Avenue.  

Brooklynites who want to take in different views of their borough can also follow the paths of iconic city planners Olmstett and Pratt in the historic district of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill; revisit some of the most important Boaters, Batters and Boxers of early American sports while visiting their graves at Greenwood Cemetery; bring their puppies on a Jane’s Dog Walk in Prospect Park; or explore the healing properties of trees during a Medicinal Tree Walk in McCarren Park.

Jane’s Walk NYC, named after urban activist Jane Jacobs who advocated for more livable and walkable cities, started as a handful of tours in 2011 and has since grown into a three-day event featuring hundreds of walks across all five boroughs.

All walks are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged. For a complete listing of all tours taking place from Friday, May 3, through Sunday, May 5, go here.

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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