Visually fascinating and endlessly energizing, New York City might be considered art unto itself. For those who wish to delve a bit deeper, art walks can provide hidden glimpses of the city and new insights into a wide range of artistic mediums. Ranging from classic to quirky, art walks can also be social, stirring and invigorating. Whether you’re a tourist or a native, here are three to try.
Street Art Walk
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays, 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Irreverent, moving and bold, graffiti-centric Street Art Walk traverses the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick, highlighting unique artistic mediums including paste-ups, murals, stencils, homeless objects and stickers. Artists range from well-known to who’s that. A vast compendium of hard-edged to gentle, individualistic expressions tap into the current city pulse and make these tours popular with tourists, so get there at least 10 minutes early and make sure to reserve your spot ahead of time. You must book online to receive the meeting location. Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon tours are in Bushwick. Sunday morning and Saturday afternoon tours are in Williamsburg.
DUMBO First Thursday Art Walk
Dates: The first Thursday of every month, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
A fascinating enclave nestled under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, Dumbo’s doors open wide and stay open late on the first Thursday evening of every month. Block after block of sleek galleries and eclectic shops offer up cultural events, performances and openings. Those in the know start their artistic adventure at 111 Front Street Galleries in the heart of Dumbo where atmospheric restaurants and eclectic neighborhood pubs and pit stops also abound. Maps outlining the full schedule of events will be available in virtually every store and gallery on cobblestone, winding streets, making your wanderings easy. A strong focus on photographic exhibits and conceptual art pepper the art walk experience here.
Dates: Tours are scheduled both during the week and on weekends by reservation only
Founded by Lia, a street art photographer and licensed NYC tour guide known for her adept sense of style and trend intuition, Saddleshoe Tours is dedicated to opening up your eyes, satisfying your curiosity and making you dig a bit deeper, both into your own unconscious and understanding of New York. You may have thought you knew this city inside out, but until you take at least one of these tours, you simply don’t. Saddleshoe Tours’ two main excursions focus on the city’s streets from the historical Lower East Side to Soho’s ever-changing landscape, and from the gritty yet glittering Meatpacking District to the Highline and rainbow-filled Chelsea. Both illegal and commissioned works will be discussed from an insider’s point of view. Saddleshoe Tours also hosts corporate tours, Brooklyn-based tours, adventurous scavenger hunts and in-depth, serious photography workshops.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.