Louise Harpman launched the BIG WALK at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2011.
During this annual event, students, faculty, staff, alums, and other urban enthusiasts embark on an all-day walking tour along notable New York City streets. The BIG WALK pulls together a diverse constituency from Gallatin, the larger NYU community, and the general public, all of whom enjoy “seeing the city” that’s already here.
Short talks on items of architectural and social interest punctuate the journeys. Special “guest lectures” have been offered by Karen Hornick on André Aciman, Stacy Pies on the poetry of the city, Nicholas Dungan on Albert Gallatin, Michael Dinwiddie on the Harlem Renaissance, Myisha Priest on red-tailed hawks and their nesting sites, Kim DaCosta on luxury branding and race, Mary Rowe on Jane Jacobs, Michael Ryan on “sliver towers” and Andy Romig on medieval antecedents of the Plaza Hotel. Curators from the Dyckman Farmhouse, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the New York Public Library Firyal Map Room, and the Museum of the City of New York have offered private tours of their collections to our group.
The inaugural BIG WALK traveled the entire length of Broadway. The second BIG WALK charted the full course of Fifth Avenue. The third BIG WALK navigated the complete perimeter of Roosevelt Island. The fourth BIG WALK traversed the Hudson waterfront from the George Washington Bridge to Chelsea Piers. The fifth BIG WALK went river-to-river across 59th Street and returned along 42nd Street.