The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space promotes grassroots urban space activism by researching and archiving efforts to create community spaces and educating the public on the political implications of reclaimed space.
Tour revenue will be invested in the preservation of the East Village’s 39 remaining community gardens.
Easy (short walking distances, low or no physical effort)
Clothing & Equipment
Closed toe shoes
Discover New York City’s greener side! The Lower East Side of Manhattan has the highest concentration of community gardens and squats of any neighborhood in the country. Come explore these cutting-edge, sustainable buildings and spaces on this one-of-a-kind, full-access walking tour. Begin your tour at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space and make your way to local neighborhood gardens like La Plaza Community Garden and El Jardin del Paraiso. Learn from your knowledgeable guide about community leaders and activist groups who have led the charge for sustainability in New York. Gain insight into urban farming techniques and learn how to compost. Visit famous squats, an urban roof garden, and a radical art gallery while exploring themes like urban design, gentrification, and recycling. This tour is ideal for those who care about activism, green design, radical neighborhoods, and historic New York. You will gain empowerment on issues of sustainability as well as an understanding of the benefits of sustainable design.
Custom tours are also available.
The overall experience was very interactive because while we were walking, we could listen to the tour guide, see, feel, and learn about these community gardens and know more about sustainability in the city. We walked to the gardens and he showed each element that the garden has, such as composite facilities, organic medicine plants, rainwater converter, and so much more. I was amazed by having beautiful gardens in the middle of the city and the graffitis that they have on the walls. These visual arts attracted us more because these made the gardens more beautiful. Moreover, we were lucky to sneak into a museum because it was opened to the public on that day (according to the tour guide, it is usually not opened to the public). We listened to the guide from that museum too and learned more about the neighborhood. We also visited the rooftop garden that was attached to the aprtment that the tour guide lives. Although we needed to climb the stairs, it was a great opportunity because I have never seen a rooftop garden in the city. It was amazingly beautiful! I love to see flowers and plants. All in all, this walking tour has given me a good impression about the city.
The tour was very immersive since the guide encouraged everyone to participate and experience what we see by tasting the medical plants, climbing on the tree, etc. He also encouraged us to touch and smell flowers and plants throughout the tour. All the green spaces were amazing! Listening to the history and political implications of the gardens and parks were incredibly interesting as well. I've never seen so much greenery in New York City so I was mesmerized throughout the entire tour.
The tour was amazing and we are mesmerized with all the structure.
Very informative tour guide and local of the community. He went above and beyond by showing us what a sustainability apartment and rooftop looks like. Something I was interested in. The museum was also informational. I look forward to learning more about community gardens in that area.
It is so hard to decide upon a particular highlight of the tours. I think I would have to say entering the squats, and meeting the squatters, an experience that was different each time even when we met the same hosts. Heading into Paz’s apartment while he was jamming with his friends http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9ayKqwAh1c …again to Paz’s apartment on a second tour, this time hearing instead of music, the gripping story of how he and others created their spaces out of the bare bones of broken buildings. From campfires to radiant heat floors! Each tour lead us from one squat to another, from one person’s home to another’s, greeting a variety of people, in apartments in contrasting stages of renovation; through it all there was that amazing energy, the shared struggle of creating one’s personal space. It was a different dynamic than any I have encountered, a strong sense of community far beyond that of my bland suburban neighborhood.
155 Avenue C (between 9th and 10th Street), New York, NY, United States
By subway: You can take the L train to 1st Ave, the 6 train to Astor Place, the F train to 2nd Ave, or the FJMZ trains to Delancey/ Essex.
By bus: 9 Bus to Ave C between 9th and 10th.
To preserve the history of grassroots activism and promote environmentally sound, community-based urban ecologies.
Archiving the community’s history
Hosting the annual film festival
Preserving and protecting the community gardens of the East Village
Serving as a local community history museum