New York City WILD!
Urban Nature Walks with Keith Michael
Get OUT!
There's a GREEN world in New York City just waiting to be discovered.

New York City WILD!

URBAN NATURE WALKS Exploring the GREEN of New York

See More of New York City! with Keith Michael, urban naturalist

Follow New York City WILD! on Instagram @newyorkcitywild

Write to for information about the current walk schedule.

NYC Wild! Walks are a playground for Birders, Naturalists, and Photographers.

Visit significant green spaces and historic destinations in NYC to reconnect with the rhythms and sheer wonders of the natural world in our urban midst as a potent antidote to the stress and frenzy of To Do Lists, hand-held devices, and alternate side of the street parking.



What People are Saying About New York City WILD! Walks with Keith Michael, urban naturalist:

Take a trip to a secret Brooklyn beach to watch prehistoric horseshoe crab mating rituals
..."Plumb Beach, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, is known as a prime breeding area for horseshoe crabs during May and June. As I quickly discovered, anyone in search of the crabs along the quiet strip of wilderness will not have to search very hard. My group, led by Keith Michael of New York City Wild!, spotted our first crab within minutes. Michael picked up the crab to show us the underside of the shell, explaining that horseshoe crabs are more similar to spiders than to crabs."...
        Emily Faber, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, June 2019

The 8 best wildlife activities in and around NYC:
#8 New York City WILD!

"Back in the city, urban naturalist Keith Michael leads wildlife tours through green spaces in all five boroughs, including Jamaica Bay in Queens, Great Kills Park and Mount Loretto State Forest in Staten Island, Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill in Upper Manhattan, and all over Central Park. Michael also offers quick trips to see wildlife in nearby spots like Bayonne, New Jersey, Jersey City, and Yonkers, should the local birds and possums not do it for you. The tours run $10-$50 per person, with wildlife and flora on tap including horseshoe crabs, butterflies, local birds, lethal mushrooms, and all sorts of other urban natural wonders, plus Michael will dig into each area’s cultural history in addition to its natural one, making each walk a real educational deep dive."
         Rebecca Fishbein, 6sqft, August 2018

"To go on an adventure with Keith Michael and friends is to discover a wild and magical world hidden in plain sight in the midst of NYC. I’ve hiked with him in all 5 boroughs, watching shorebirds and song birds and swans (dozens of them) in Jamaica Bay, wild turkeys in the Bronx scratching for food under ancient trees near a stunning memorial to the Titanic, horseshoe crabs in Brooklyn coming ashore to bury their eggs under the light of the full moon, a Staten Island nature preserve with bird filled forests, wetlands and shoreline, even the site of the tree in northern Manhattan beneath which  Peter Minuit is said to have purchased this island from the Lenape people. And each trip was meticulously researched and carefully planned by Keith, who is incredibly knowledgeable about birds and has an unerring knack for finding them.  Highly recommended!"     
          Lisa Kleger, Systems Consultant

"Keith’s walks showcase the details and edges of NYC where wildlife and beauty are abundant.  His strong trip organization makes each walk a breeze for participants.  You simply show up with interest and Keith leads you through one of NYC’s many wild spaces, highlighting the wildlife and stories that only a patient and trained eye can see.  These walks are also flocked to by wonderful people who are a bonus to the relaxing and enriching walk.
          Carrie Roble, Hudson River Park, Director of Environment and Education

"Every single time I joined Keith's nature walks, I experienced a never ever to forget moment of beauty. Keith is an experienced bird watcher and has pointed out rare species, i would have missed without him. Highly recommendable to experience in the area of NYC." 
          Addy Onstwedder, General Manager, The Netherland Club of New York

"Wise and witty, Keith Michael is a keen observer of people, places, and above all, things. With intrepid spirit and deep generosity, his walks explore the unexpected pockets of wildlife throughout the five boroughs. A self-taught naturalist with a swashbuckler's sense of adventure, he reveals how these surprising little spots thrive in their urban surroundings. Keith's unbridled fascination with everything around him and the great pleasure he takes in sharing their secrets make him a fantastic guide to the world few of us ever even notice, let alone get to experience."  
          Valerie S, Veteran Walker

"Keith's walks take one to parts of New York that one has been meaning to and go now and explore the hidden sights of New York."    
          Sarath Sochannam, Urban Explorer

"Keith Michael and his knowledge of the natural world is extraordinary.  I have gone on several trips with NYC WILD! and have been so impressed with his knowledge of everything: birds, earth, trees, history of where we are and what was before. I am always disappointed when I can't go on an outing."
          Nancy Shamban, NYC Birder



An “urban wilderness” walk is not an oxymoron. Keith Michael has been exploring the remotest corners of New York City for decades, gaining a collective eclectic knowledge that cannot be found in any guidebooks. These walking tours will bring you to his favorite destinations around this vast metropolis, taking the guesswork out of the legwork! With carefully researched information about where to go, what to see, how to get there, AND the camaraderie of fascinating people to enjoy the "there" with, each excursion provides a unique off-the-grid out-of-the-tour-bus immersive experience in the natural wonders available within one of the largest cities in the world. Once you do, you’ll be inspired to do even more and take advantage of the myriad other FREE tours offered by many parks and organizations throughout NYC—there is always more to see and learn!

Follow instructions on the EventBrite site.


There are various ticket prices for New York City WILD! Walks. Buy an "Early Bird" Discount ($10 - only 5 available), a $15 One Day Wonder Ticket, or Become a NYC Wilder! The $50 Pass gives you access to six months of upcoming NYC Wild! Walks (January through June or July through December) and the $90 Full Year NYC Wilder! Pass gives you unlimited access to a full year of adventures - what a deal! BUY the PASS as a Great GIFT IDEA too!

PLEASE NOTE: Participants cover their own public transportation costs (NYC Metrocard and PATH train fares) as well as lunch/dinner and beverages—either a bring-your-own-picnic or conviviality at a local eatery depending on the individual walk itinerary.


BAD WEATHER: Trips will only be cancelled under extreme weather conditions. New York City weather is fickle! Rarely does the same kind of weather last all day, and the weather forecast for Central Park may be vastly different than what actually occurs on a far outer-borough beach. Most walks will go on rain or shine under the optimism that an inclement forecast will change. However, primarily beach walks WILL BE CANCELLED or rerouted if there is any threat of thunderstorms.

CANCELLATIONS: Participants will be notified by e-mail 24 hours in advance if a forecast of extreme weather is imminent. You will recieve a FULL REFUND of your ticket OR you can transfer your order to another New York City WILD! outing by contacting (A REFUND can take 7-10 business days for your refund to be processed.)

"No Shows" WILL NOT be refunded.
Any request for a refund must be made within 4 days after an event has ended.


Please carefully note meeting places and times. Trips will leave promptly from designated meeting sites. For meet-ups on a subway platform, we will generally leave on the FIRST TRAIN after the designated departure time. Return times are approximate.
NYC Wild! Walking Tours are GREEN in more ways than one! Walks frequently meet on a subway platform to take a train (average 45 minutes to an hour+) to and from the starting point of the walk. Please carefully note whether the meet-up location is on the UPTOWN or DOWNTOWN platform AND whether it is at the FIRST or LAST car of the train! Please arrive with a filled MetroCard so that trains or buses are not missed while you wait in line to put more money on your card.
Alternate meeting locations can be arranged en route to the destination if this is more convenient for individual travelers.
ALWAYS check the MTA Weekender online before you leave home for planned service changes on your subway lines! Leave additional travel time for delays in weekend service. Some Walk meet-up locations or destinations may be changed if subway service is unusually cumbersome to our starting point.

Each walk is 3-5 miles and approximately 4-6 hours in length (including travel time to and from the starting point of the actual walking tour). Generally covering a variety of urban and natural habitats, we are frequently more than a mile from the nearest public transportation, store, restrooms, and occasionally, cell-phone service! Take these factors into consideration when agreeing to these outings.
It is difficult or impossible to catch up with the group if you are late, and as most of the walks are a loop it is usually not possible to leave early before the walk is completed.
These walks are usually not suitable for participants younger than 10 years of age.
Most excursions follow primarily level established trails though the walking surface can vary from city sidewalks to woodland path, boardwalks, grass, minor rock scrambling or sandy beach. Some stairs or a rise and descent in terrain are part of individual walks.
Poison Ivy may be prevalent along some trails, but it is easily identified and avoided by staying on the trails.
Insects should be a minimal concern for most trips, though some walks have posted tick habitat.

Restrooms are not always conveniently located or available. Take this into consideration.


  • BRING YOUR OWN PICNIC LUNCH or DINNER. We will stop, mid-trip, for a picnic—outside. Usually we will not be near a store to pick up your lunch “on the way.” Some walks have the option of gathering at the end at a local eatery for enjoying each others company - these will be noted in the walk description. To enhance the conviviality of the social experience, the group check will be divided evenly between the number of participants with a 20% tip for the restaurant servers. (If individual participants feel that they have had significantly more or less than others at the table, adjustments will be made - though, please, be generous.)
  • Water
  • Dress appropriately for the forecasted weather—hat, jacket, layers to take off or put on if temperatures change. In general, it can be windier and cooler (or hotter) at these locations than in Manhattan. Bring an umbrella for surprise changes in weather.
  • Sturdy closed-toed walking shoes that you aren’t too concerned about getting muddy or wet. No sandals or flip-flops.
  • Binoculars if you have them. If not, we will share.
  • A camera. Each walk offers endless photo opportunities.
  • Sun screen and insect repellent. Insects should be a minimal concern for most trips.
  • PLEASE use your cell phone sparingly for emergencies only (and generously for taking memorable photos of the walk!)
  • Enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.

YES. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver statement, agreeing to release and hold harmless Keith Michael and New York City WILD! from any and all liability arising out of or resulting from your participation. Your participation in these walks is on a completely voluntary basis and you are responsible for your own personal safety and well-being. Read the complete statement included with this event listing.


Write to for any additional information or to arrange special group walking tours or other events. When making inquiries, please indicate the date and destination of the walking tour for which you have questions. More detailed information about each walk will be sent by e-mail to participants a few days before each scheduled outing.



KEITH MICHAEL is a self-styled urban naturalist, avid birder, photographer, and a dedicated explorer of New York City's five boroughs. Watching birds drives his focus, but the breadth of NYC history, and the wealth of vistas, trees, wildflowers, grasses, mushrooms, butterflies, dragonflies, as well as scaled, slithery and furred fauna that can be observed within the city is truly remarkable. Mr. Michael has published four books of writing and photographs: Let’s Go Out!: A Birder's Year in the West Village (2015); Take Me to the River (2014); Once Around the Block (2013), and 1000 Days: World Trade Center Rising (2013); leads New York City WILD! nature walking tours, co-leads Hudson River Park WILD! walks, and is a monthly contributor to WestView News: The Voice of the West Village.

When not adventuring in the city and taking photographs, Mr. Michael is a ballet choreographer, having created The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies, Mother GOOSE! and The Nutcracker for New York Theatre Ballet, and is the Dance Production Coordinator at The Juilliard School. For more information about walks, books or photographs visit

Photo of Keith Michael by Valerie Soll

New York City WILD!
Waiver/Release/Assumption of Risk Agreement

New York City WILD! is an urban nature walk series organized by freelance urban naturalist Keith Michael.

As used in this agreement, "The Coordinator" means collectively New York City WILD! and Keith Michael, its employees, representatives,  independent contractors and/or affiliate organizations involved in the selected program/activity, members, leaders, organizers, co-participants, volunteers, and all others involved in the selected activity/program.

As used in this agreement, "you" means the person who signs this agreement or on whose behalf this agreement has been executed. It is anticipated that you are accepting this agreement as a prerequisite to your participation in a New York City WILD! activity/program. If a person under 18 years of age participates, that person's parent or legal guardian must also accept this agreement.

In consideration of the services provided by The Coordinator and the opportunity for you to participate in the selected activity/program, you AGREE TO AND ACKNOWLEDGE the following:

1.) New York City WILD! nature walks are entirely volunteer activities led and organized by non-professionals. Other participants are not outdoor recreational or educational professionals.

2.) New York City WILD! activities have inherent RISKS, HAZARDS AND DANGERS. Such risks, hazards and dangers may include, though not limited to: adverse weather, crossing streams, falls from heights, travel, exposure to insects and animals; remoteness from shelter, restroom facilities, food, water, medical care and emergency rescue services; graded trails, uneven terrain, mechanical or equipment failures, and misjudgments by leaders, volunteers and/or co-participants. You acknowledge these and other risks, and you ASSUME THE RISKS of participating in the New York City WILD! activity and travel to and from the activity/program.

3.) The Coordinator cannot guarantee your health or safety. You are responsible for your own health and safety. You warrant that you have skills and overall health and physical conditioning adequate for the program/activity you have selected. If required, you will provide your own appropriate and adequate clothing, equipment and supplies. You will cooperate with the leader(s) and organizers to achieve a meaningful and safe experience for the group.

4.) You hereby RELEASE AND AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS The Coordinator from any and all liability arising out of or resulting from your participating in a New York City WILD! program or activity. You and your agents, heirs and assigns HEREBY WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS against The Coordinator in any court, forum, tribunal or jurisdiction, whether for personal injury, wrongful death, any act of negligence, property damage or loss, breach of contract, economic loss or consequential damages from delays, cancellation or changes in program or schedules.

5.) You are solely responsible for all transportation fares for and food or beverages consumed during this activity.

6.) You acknowledge that The Coordinator or co-participants may produce photographic or video recordings ("images") of programs. The Coordinator or co-participants may use such images to promote The Coordinator and their programs. You hereby consent to such images made while you are engaged in the activity/program and grant to The Coordinator or co-participants all of your rights to use such images and any copies or derivative works therefrom in any manner for promotional and other commercial purposes, in any medium. You release and assign to any right or interest that you may have in those images including rights in your appearance and or your voice recorded by employees, other participants, agents or contractors, whether or not on behalf of The Coordinator or co-participants, and you waive any right of any kind in or over such images including rights of (A) compensation, (B) publicity, privacy or copyright, or (C) review, inspection or approval.

7.) This Waiver/Release and Assumption of Risk Agreement is the entire agreement between you and The Coordinator, and cannot be orally changed or modified.

8.) This agreement entered into in the State of New York, is to be governed by the laws of New York and any suits, claims or actions concerning it are to be brought only in the courts of the State of New York.

9.) If a court with proper jurisdiction determines that any part of this document is invalid, illegal or against public policy, the remaining portions thereof shall remain in full force and effect.

I have read this agreement and I understand its terms and, in particular, that I am giving up substantial legal rights. Knowing this, I am voluntarily agreeing to this Waiver, Release, and Assumption of Risk Agreement.

Fields to be completed on hard copy at the start of the Walking Tour:                                                           

Print Name: __________________________________________

Signature: ___________________________________________

Date: ________________________________________________

Mobile phone #: _______________________________________   

e-mail: _______________________________________________     

Emergency Contact Name:_______________________________  

Emergency Contact Phone Number: _______________________



Hudson River Park WILD!

is a project of Hudson River Park

Visit for full Hudson River Park Events & Information

     about upcoming events in Hudson River Park




New Season to be scheduled.

MEET UP: Christopher Street Fountain, north of Pier 40. Cross at Christopher Street.


DURATION: Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours

DISTANCE WALKED: 1 1/2 to 2 miles

SUBWAY and BUS LINES: #1 Train to Christopher Street; M8 Bus

HUDSON RIVER PARK brings attention to its vital role in creating one of the scarcest resources in all of Manhattan - wildlife habitat! Learn about Hudson River Park's wildlife by joingin experienced naturalists on guided nature walks along the Park's esplanade.

Enjoy a meandering waterfront walk while viewing and learning about the park's flora and fauna, including some of the more than 100 different species of birds identified within Park boundaries. Peek into some of our gardens to discover butterflies, dragonflies and other interesting insects. Get to know the native plants that thrive in unexpected places in and around the river's edge. Each nature walk is unique and offers a one-of-a-kind treasure hunt-like experience.

Nature guides will meet participants at the Christopher Street Fountain (dry during Summer 2013), just north of Pier 40 (cross at Christopher Street) at 9AM sharp. Please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Loud noises and barking tend to startle wildlife and reduce viewing opportunites - please be considerate and leave your dog at home.

Hudson River Park WILD! walks are led by the following dedicated, volunteer park naturalists:


WALTER H. LAUFER is a self-taught urban naturalist, with a special interest in butterflies and dragonflies. For twenty-odd years, he spent part of his summer in Western Canada and the US hiking with naturalist guides. Since 2005 he has been converting the knowledge gained in the wild to knowledge useful in the urban environment.

To date, Laufer has learned to identify over 100 varieties of vegetation from pine trees to periwinkles found in the Park; over that time he has observed more than 80 bird species and 50 insect species living in or passing through the Greenwich Village and Tribeca segments. He loves sharing his expertise and passion for the flora and fauna of Hudson River Park.


KEITH MICHAEL is a self-taught urban naturalist, an avid birder and a dedicated explorer of the New York City Parks in all five boroughs. Birds are his driving focus, but the vistas, trees, wildflowers, grasses, butterflies, dragonflies, mushrooms; scaled, slithery and furred fauna that can be observed within the city are equally remarkable to him. Besides leading Hudson River Park WILD! walks, the Park is "home turf" for daily walks with his Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Millie. He is also a regular contributor to WestView: The Voice of the West Village.

For Michael, reconnecting with the rhythms and sheer wonders of the natural world in our urban midst is a potent antidote to the stress and electronic distractions of our daily routines. Michael believes that curiosity is the key - there will always be more to see and learn. JUST LOOK!