Neighborhood Walking Tours Highlight New Development and Green Spaces

By Rachel Holliday Smith on April 22, 2014 6:34am 

 About 30 people attended last year's "Where Change is Happening" walking tour, according to Mike Fagan, its host.
About 30 people attended last year's "Where Change is Happening" walking tour, according to Mike Fagan, its host.
View Full Caption
Mike Fagan/Brooklynian

CROWN HEIGHTS — People who want to meet their neighbors and learn the latest developments in the area can take educational strolls together the first weekend in May.

Two walking tours commemorating the life of urban planner and activist Jane Jacobs are slated for May 3 and 4, with a gentrification theme in Crown Heights and an environmental stewardship theme in Prospect Heights.

Mike Fagan, a longtime Crown Heights resident who's the blogger behind Brooklynian, will host the May 4 Crown Heights tour “Where Change is Happening,” which is on gentrification, though Fagan tries to steer clear of that “loaded” word.

“I just provide the information as to what is coming,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s good for some and bad for others.”

“It” is an influx of new stores and real estate developments in the area, including the condo building at 341 Eastern Parkway at Franklin Avenue and the mixed bar and office space 1000 Dean Street, both of which will be stops on the tour. New businesses including the baby clothes shop Stork on Franklin Avenue and Tinto coffee shop on Nostrand Avenue are also on the list.

Fagan said he hopes that by showing people all the sites all at once, they'll have a better sense of what's coming.

“People don’t understand how large the change is,” he said.

The Parks Department will lead a Prospect Heights tour May 3, teaching participants about stewardship of public green spaces. That means taking care of street trees, public gardens and bioswales, which are specially designed tree beds built to absorb rainwater.

“People are legally able to and encouraged to steward bioswales and street trees,” said Andrew Newman, one of the walk leaders from the Parks Department's Division of Forestry, Horticulture and Natural Resources. “That can be a hurdle for some people. They don’t realize they can actually adopt and care for this public infrastructure.”

Walk-goers will see part of that infrastructure on the tour, which will include a visit to Greenstreets spaces on Vanderbilt Avenue and the Grand Army Plaza farmers' market.

Newman says the Parks Department chose Prospect Heights for the walk because it already has an active green community, including those who take care of trees from the Washington Avenue-Prospect Heights Association, the Prospect Heights Street Tree Task Force and the Montessori Day School of Brooklyn.

The tours are both Jane's Walk NYC events hosted by the Municipal Art Society in honor of Jane Jacobs, who would have been 98 on May 4. More than 150 tours are planned citywide.

Those interested in attending the walks simply have to show up at the right place and the right time, all listed on the Municipal Art Society website. All walks are free, open to the public, dog-friendly (Mike Fagan’s dog will help lead his tour) and set to be held rain-or-shine.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement