The majority of bird walks take place in Central Park, in the heart of
New York City.
Scroll down the page to see written directions to the meeting location
Most walks start at the Boathouse (approx. 74th street and the East Drive), or the Dock on Turtle Pond (79th street in the center of the park next to
Friday walks generally meet at Conservatory Garden, 105th street and 5th Avenue (just inside the main gates and look straight ahead for the fountain at the end of the lawn - about 75 yards/meters away).
Bob also offers guided walks at Jamaica Bay, the New York Botanical Gardens and Pelham Bay Park.
Click a location below to get directions and tips on how to get there.
The Boathouse is located along the East Drive, adjacent approximately to 74th St. East and Fifth Avenue.
The easiest way to get there is to enter the park at 72nd and Fifth Avenue. Just a few feet inside the park there are steps at your right leading down to the Model Boat Pond or Sailboat Pond, known officially as Conservatory Water. This is a small body of water entirely surrounded by concrete. There is a tiny "boathouse" here for storage of model boats, but this is not the Boathouse you are seeking. If you pause to look up at the buildings here, you can see the nest of the world’s most famous redtail hawk, Pale Male. It’s located on the curved cornice over the top center window of the shorter apartment building nestled between two taller buildings.
At the bottom of the path at the pond, turn left on any of the several paths there (or into the interior of the park away from 5th Avenue, whichever direction you enter from) and walk about a hundred yards to the East Drive. You will see the Boathouse (pictured) across the drive on the Central Park lake. The group generally meets inside at the tables in the cafeteria area, or during good weather, out front. Just look for folks with binoculars. There is also a “Nature Book” located here, where Bob DeCandido, Deborah Allen and other birders log recent Central Park bird and nature sightings.
The Dock at Turtle Pond
Turtle Pond is located in the Center of Central Park, bordered by the famous outdoor Delacorte Theater and the Belvedere Castle.
The dock is on the north side of the pond, next to the theater. The most direct route to this point is to enter the park at 81st Street and Central Park West, near the Museum of Natural History. A few hundred feet down the path you will bear slightly left and come to a stop light and crosswalk. Ahead and across the street you will see the Delacorte Theater. Cross the street, but be extremely careful to look for cars, runners, roller bladers, and especially bikers, who won’t slow down or yield the right of way, despite the law. Follow the path straight up the hill past the theater on your right. After you pass the theater completely, bear slightly right along the pathway and then, where there’s a break in the fence, take your first right path leading out to the Turtle Pond dock, which is obscured by large trees and shrubs.
At the corner of 81st Street and Central Park West is a subway stop for the B and C lines. Since there are frequent subway disruptions due to construction, especially on weekends, you might want to visit the MTA service advisory web page before heading out. There is also #M79 bus service at this intersection. A subway alternative lies a few blocks away at 79th Street and Broadway, where the #1 train stops. The #M79 bus also stops at this corner.
You can also enter the park at East 79th St. near the Metropolitan Museum and make your way more or less west to Turtle Pond dock.
Walks in the north end of the park start at Conservatory Garden. We meet inside the huge gate and just down the steps at 105th Street and 5th Avenue. There are bathrooms open year-round at Conservatory Garden. Ways to get to Conservatory Garden:
1. By subway. Take the #2 or #3 IRT west side train to 110th street and Central Park North. Then cross the street to Central Park and head east (to the left) out to Fifth Avenue, and then south until you reach the main gate to the Conservatory Garden (about a 7-10 minute walk from the train station; easy and safe)
2. By train. Fom the East Side, you can take the IRT #6 train to Lexington Avenue and 103rd street. Walk west for three blocks and then north by two
3. By bus. Buses run north up Madison Avenue regularly, as well, such as the #1, #2, #3 and #4.
Strawberry Fields is located just inside the park at the corner of 72nd Streets and Central Park West.
At this corner sits the famous Dakota, home of the late former Beatle John Lennon. Our walks start at the Imagine Mosiac, which was installed in Lennon's honor. We will gather at one of the many benches surrounding the mosaic, which is one of New York City's most visited tourist attractions.
Both the B and C trains on the NY City Subway system stop right at this corner, making this the easiest way to get to the start point. Upon exiting the subway just cross the street and enter the park. Immediately after the entrance row of face-to-face benches you will see a walkway entering the trees straight ahead, while there are roads that split off both left and right at the this point. Take the path and you will immediately come to the Imagine Mosiac. The #1, 2, and 3 trains also stop at 72nd Street, but several blocks to the west, requiring about a 10 minute walk to the park.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
To get to the meeting place (The Environmental Center that has bathrooms, good drinking water but no food) we advise you to take the "R" train from 59th street and Lexington Avenue headed EAST towards Queens to the WOODHAVEN BOULEVARD STATION.
Here switch to the Q53-LTD (LIMITED) bus from HOFFMAN DRIVE & WOODHAVEN BLVD. If you use your Metro Card you will get a free transfer from the train to the bus. You want the bus headed towards ROCKAWAY PK - B. 116 ST via WOODHAVEN BLVD. Stay on the bus for about 35 minutes and ask the bus driver to let you out at CROSS BAY BLVD & the WILDLIFE REFUGE You are a 30 second walk from the meeting place...the Environmental Center is right in front of you...Total travel time is about 1 hour and 10 minutes once you get on the "R" train.
Use this trip planner.
Type in: 59th street train station (starting point) and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (ending point)
Date: date of bird walk you're attending
Arrive by: 9:30am
Travel By: check boxes for BOTH subway and bus
Start Service: subway. ignore "route"
End Service: bus (borough: Queens). Ignore "route"
By Car: there is a large and ample parking lot (free) right next to the Visitors' Center. The "official" address for your GPS is: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge / Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens, New York.
The phone number at the Refuge is (718) 318-4340. The parking lot is open from dawn until dusk. (The Visitors' Center is open 9am-5pm everyday of the year.)
For more info see: http://nyharborparks.org/visit/jaba.html
New York Botanical Gardens
Meet at the Mosholu Gate (Main Gate) of New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). The meeting location is across the street from the Metro North Train Station; it is not the gate opposite Fordham University, though we usually head in that direction once we start.
Admission to the grounds of NYBG is free on Saturday mornings from 9am until 10am. Trains to NYBG run hourly from Grand Central Station. It is possible to catch an 8:15am train (for about $6.50 one way - three stops) that reaches the NYBG stop at 8:50am. Trains back to Grand Central leave at approx. 39 minutes past the hour in the afternoon. People who live uptown can take the same MetroNorth train from 125th street station at 8:30am and arrive at 8:50am. OR, you can take the IRT #2 (7th Avenue Express) subway to the Allerton Avenue stop. Go downstairs and take the #26 bus westbound (about a 5-10 minute ride) to the Metro North train station. Then cross the street to the entrance of the NYBG. OR, you can take the #4 Lexington or #D Independent (IND) train to Bedford Park Boulevard, then catch the #26 bus headed Eastbound. The bus stops just about in front of the Main Entrance of NYBG.
Finally, you can also drive and park on site. (Parking is free if you put your car on Kazimiroff Boulevard in front of the entrance to Fordham University - just make sure to arrive/park by about 8:30am. Enter at the Fordham Gate [free on Saturdays until 10am] and walk 5 minutes to the Mosholu Gate to meet the group at 9:05am.) Lunch (a very nice cafe) and bathrooms are available on site. N.B. Parking is $18 in the lots operated by NYBG.
Pelham Bay Park
Directions via Subway to the "Southern Zone":
#6 Lexington Avenue local train to the last stop (Pelham Bay Station). The only exit is at the front of the train. Walk down one flight of stairs and go through the glass doors straight ahead. We meet just outside those doors...the doors open to an overpass that goes over the New England Thruway and then gradually down into the edge of the "southern zone" of Pelham Bay Park. Bob meets people on the overpass...meanwhile if you prefer to drive:
Directions via Car to the "Southern Zone":
the FREE (year-round) parking lot is located at the intersection of Middletown Road and Stadium Avenue. (Usually Deborah Allen meets people here, while Bob meets people at the #6 train - and then the two groups meet in the park.) If you are getting driving directions from Google, for your destination, type in: "Pelham Bay Park (Rice Stadium) Middletown Road (Stadium Avenue) Bronx, NY 10465" and try this site:
From Throgs Neck Bridge: Stay right on the New England Thruway, I-95 North, and exit at Country Club Road-Pelham Bay Park. Proceed on the service road to Middletown Road. Make a right onto Middletown Road and go all the way to the end. The parking lot is on the left.
From Westchester: Take I-95 South and exit at Westchester Ave. Continue straight, thru the traffic light and follow the service road to Jarvis Ave. Make a left at Jarvis Ave overpass (street changes to Country Club Road) and an immediate left at the end of the overpass. Follow the service road north to Middletown Road. Make a right onto Middletown Road and go all the way to the end. The parking lot is on the left.
Directions via Subway to the Parking Lot at Orchard Beach: take the #6 train to the last stop (Pelham Bay Station) and then walk downstairs
Directions via car to the Parking Lot at Orchard Beach: (FREE from after Labor Day, approximately 15 September, to approx. one week before Memorial Day, 24 May. Otherwise in summer, it is about $12 on weekends to park, and $10 during the week from Memorial Day to Labor Day (called "the Beach Season"). Check the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation web site for exact details.
We meet at the NE corner (far left) corner of the Parking Lot, that is opposite Section 3 on the Beach. Bathrooms are located in the center building on the Boardwalk and are open year-round. There is no food available for purchase from Labor Day through Memorial Day. When food is available for purchase, prices are very high.