NYC Walking Tours with Geography Professor Dr. Jack Eichenbaum
For more than 160 years, the American Geographical Society has been working to harness the power of human exploration and geographic inquiry to enhance policymaking, scientific research and public education.” New York City again plays host to Geography 2050 in November, 2015. This event is complemented by two walking tours that will help participants, particularly out-of-town visitors, become familiar with evolving urban geography. These walks bring folks to places where new plans and changing demography are dramatically altering the city.
1. Transformation of the Waterfront and
Daylight Factory Buildings
A century ago Long Island City, Queens, with superior transportation access, was NYC’s
greatest industrial complex. Heavy industry on the waterfront has now disappeared, replaced by parks and condos. The daylight loft building, which was to industry what the skyscraper was to offices, was an architectural innovation that modernized manufacturing and permitted assembly line production. Many of these buildings are finding a variety of new uses, notably as artists’ studios, while Long Island City is rezoned as a post-industrial city.
2. Immigrants in NYC: From Ghettos to an
Beginning in the 1840’s with Irish and Germans, the overwhelming majority of immigrants to NYC have not come from England. Instead, because of poverty, language, religion, social ties, and/or “race,” initial settlement was clustered in relatively confined and homogeneous neighborhoods. As succeeding generations became better educated, wealthier and assimilated they relocated to more heterogeneous neighborhoods. Immigration Acts in the1920’s sharply decreased open immigration from Europe. Then, until 1965, most immigrants were political, religious or humanitarian refugees from Europe. That same year, the Hart-Cellar Act overhauled immigration policy so that immigration favored those with needed professions, small businessmen bringing capital and family reunion. Immigration was no longer restricted by national origin and today’s immigrants are primarily from Asia and Latin America. Second and third generations have increasingly intermarried, formed political coalitions and blended cultural traditions. Queens is now 50% foreign born and the most diverse county in the USA, if not the world. The Jackson Heights- Elmhurst neighborhood is the epicenter of this “interwoven fabric”.
Both walks are conducted by geographer and AGS member, Dr.Jack Eichenbaum, who has led geographically themed walks in NYC for 35 years. In 1990, Jack founded GISMO, NYC’s GIS user group. Jack has taught Geography of NYC at Hunter College (CUNY) annually for 15 years and was appointed Queens Borough Historian in 2011. Information about all of Jack’s walks may be accessed at his website www.GeogNYC.com. Information about the November walks also appears on the website under “Current Schedule.”
Walk 1. takes place on Saturday, November 21 from 11AM to 1PM beginning at Queensboro Plaza.
Walk 2. takes place on Sunday, November 22 from 11AM to 1PM beginning at 69 St. (#7 train)
Each walk is limited to 30 participants who must register in advance with Jack (email@example.com)
but pay on the tour. Fees are $25/person, $20/person for those registered with AGS for
Geography 2050 Registrants will be confirmed or wait-listed and asked to reconfirm shortly before
the tour. As each tour ends at lunchtime, restaurant suggestions in the vicinity will be distributed.
In 2015, Lonely Planet guidebooks named Queens as the Number 1 tourist destination in the USA.