"Passing Stranger" is an audio walking tour of poets and poetry associated with the East Village, created by award-winning radio producer Pejk Malinovski. The tour – narrated by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, with music by new music pioneer John Zorn – provides an anecdotal, digressive tapestry of the poetry that lived and continues to live in the neighborhood.
You can download the map and audio file for free here. Expect recordings from all the Village greats-- Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Koch, and Joe Brainard--and commentary from Richard Hell, Ron Padgett, Ed Sanders and Anne Waldman.
The tour clocks in at about an hour and a half so you'll have plenty of time to pause your MP3 player and make detours--maybe a sandwich at Veselka? An open mic at the Nuyorican Cafe? A slam at the Bowery Poetry Club?
And if it's been awhile since you've read the poetry of our great city, may we humbly suggest these two verses from Miguel Pinero's "A Lower East Side Poem" to get you going:
From Houston to 14th Street
from Second Avenue to the mighty D
here the hustlers & suckers meet
the faggots & freaks will all get
on the ashes that have been scattered
thru the Lower East Side.
There's no other place for me to be
there's no other place that I can see
there's no other town around that
brings you up or keeps you down
no food little heat sweeps by
fancy cars & pimps' bars & juke saloons
& greasy spoons make my spirits fly
with my ashes scattered thru the
Lower East Side . . .
"Passing Strangers" is produced with support from The Poetry Foundation and is not the only substantive walking tour in New York. For a look at some others, check out the slideshow below:
Follow New York's most famous (and eccentric) tour guide, Speed Levitch, through the city this May 5-8th when he makes his grand return to Gotham. This round of tours have some deliciously heady titles including, "Greenwich Village: Landmark of Neurotic Genius," "Madison Square Park & Chelsea: Is Immortality Scarier Than Death?" and "Central Park: Why This is Not Really a Public Park." Yes, the tours are 60 bucks, but hey, it's Speed.
Brooklyn's home to one of the world's largest enclave of Chassidic Jews. Take an intimate walking tour of the tight-knit community in Crown Heights sponsored by the Chassidic Discovery Welcome Center.
New York Magazine described Big Onion as a " fleet of wisecracking Ph.D. candidates (most studying history) lead[ing] well-attended daily excursions around town." Nice. Tours offered include "Historic Lower Manhattan," "Historic Harlem," "Chelsea and The High Line" and "Satan's Seat: New York During Prohibition," among others.
New York is a fast-paced city. Slow down and see the world "at 3 miles per hour" with Shorewalkers--an advocacy group for state's shoreline habitats. They offer walks along the waters at Fort Totten, a tour of the monuments in Manhattan, even a trip to the historic Little Red Lighthouse underneath the George Washington Bridge. Photo: Fort Totten