Critical Walking – NYC

Engage the city, your body, and others, by putting yourself in motion on a set of 6 summer discussion-walks to engage the political, ecological, and your embodied urban environment – New York City.

How we engage the environment influences our understanding of that reality. Consequently, to learn about our environment it is critical to directly engage the space of study. In addition, learning should not be limited to a solitary and stationary undertaking. Through bodily motion and continual dynamic group discussions, concepts and ideas can be connected with your physical and communal body.

These walks pose the following questions:

  • How can we situate ourselves in our environment to best perceive the complex urban
    landscape, and develop methods to translate this perception into conceiving new realities?
  • By activating our body in the act of walking, how can we enhance our knowledge of the city
    and ourselves?
  • The radical ways we can reconceive of the city we live in when we mobilize everyday
    experience and a mundane act such as walking as a method to shift our body and mind to
    no longer take the city for granted and fixed relative to change.
  • How to ENJOY learning about the city while being IN the city !?

Urban landscapes are defined by complex relationships, be they physical or mediated, spatial or virtual,
radically multi-cultural. How we experience these landscapes is critical. To navigate this reality as a body and
mind we must be adept at situating oneself. These 3-4 hour walks will be sequenced and paced to provide
spaces of motion, discussion and reflection. Each walk will start at different point in the city (see below) with
a short inspirational text and space from which to launch our journey and discussion. Ultimately, these walks
challenge us to critically understand how we situate our body and mind to critically understand the city
toward shaping our future.

Walk Origin Points – Schedule

May 26th – 1:00 pm

Union Square – Gandhi Statue

June 2nd – 1:00 pm

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory – 23-29 Washington Place

July 14 – 1:00 pm

The South-West corner of 90th & Central Park West

July 28th – 1:00 pm

Brooklyn Transect – Union Street @ Gowanus Canal

August 4th – 1:00 pm

South Bronx River Watershed – SE corner of Longwood Ave & Southern Blvd. Take 6 Train to Longwood Stop.

August 18th – 2.00 pm

Governor’s Island

Meet at the LIBRARY OF IMMEDIACY on Governors Island!
For directions to Governors Island:

Once there, follow signs to SUPERFRONT’s Library of Immediacy.

We are adjacent to the FIGMENT Sculpture Park and Mini Golf Course.

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  1. rebecca


    I will be launching a series of radical wall st walking tours soon and would love to connect! Please reach out to rebeccaction at


  2. Matthew

    Two excerpts of reflections from our walk through the Bronx River Watershed:
    Bev wrote –
    My highlight yesterday was listening to the plans and dreams of the young senior high school student who rowed us about the river…
    Buddy wrote –
    This brings me to think about the senses as avenues to perceive the “urban experience.” I am thinking about how the role of imagination could become part of the mix. Who are these people: the real estate developers, the landscape architects (in the two parks in the Hunts Point region), the city planners (the market) and transportation engineers (Moses)?…

  3. maria

    I really enjoyed the walk and learning a little about my neighborhood last weekend. I have a suggestion that the walks become more a collective effort. Everyone could select and research a place or some information related to the area to present along the way. It was great bumping into that guy on the Gowanus canal, the information and history he was able to share was really interesting, which makes me think it would be possible to integrate more with the “locals”. Perhaps a part of the walk could be to stop and ask questions to people who look like they might have some history in the area- shop owners, old ladies waiting for the bus, kids hanging out in the park…

  4. Matthew

    Still thinking about the thought from Helen on our walk last week across Brooklyn – “we have to trust our feet”
    So often we bias our mind over body. It is nice to let the body lead allowing the mind to follow…

  5. Matthew

    For those joining us tomorrow for our Brooklyn walk, please meet on the draw bridge where Union Street crosses the Gowanus Canal. The best trains are the R to Union or the F-G to Carroll.

    • Matthew

      @Ted – Yes, no registration is needed, just show up at the designated meeting place and join us. Hope to see you for the June 2nd walk.

  6. Mel

    My parents are visiting NYC for the first time on June 8th – would love to bring them on the June 9th walking tour! Q: will it be suitable for tourists?

    • Matthew

      @Mel – All walks will be suitable for tourists. The walks will not be your typical tourist walking tour but we hope they are fun and exploratory. Unfortunately, we have had a schedule change in June and the June 9th walk has been moved to June 2nd. See the schedule above. Hope you can make some of the walks.

  7. Samuel Barnes

    Beautiful concept. Nowhere do I learn more than as I walk down my city’s streets.
    Who is leading/organizing the late-May walk? Please feel free to get in touch. I would love to lend a hand.

    • Matthew

      @Samuel – I will be facilitating the walks this summer. Walking is a beautiful learning environment : ) Hope to see you on Saturday. A lending hand would be great!