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New York’s Birding Hot Spots: Central Park, Prospect Park and Jamaica Bay

Program Number: 21100RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/22/2013 - 9/27/2013; 9/20/2015 - 9/25/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: New York City, New York
Price starting at: $1,399.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 11; 4 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 2 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

New York’s green spaces are a magnet for birds migrating up and down the East Coast, the so-called “Central Park Effect” that attracts everything from warblers to woodpeckers (depending on season and weather conditions), more than 275 species in all. As numerous articles in the New York Times and a recent HBO special have documented, birding is an exciting adventure in the habitats of America’s biggest big city, especially 843-acre Central Park. Join us to discover — or rediscover — those special birds on your list amid surprisingly serene and beautiful surroundings.


• Get background and preparation from noted local birding experts.
• Take guided birding field trips through Central Park, Prospect Park, and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to spot both native species and exotic birds that pass through during seasonal migrations.
• Learn about the conservation and preservation work of organizations such as New York City Audubon, the Central Park Conservancy, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two to four miles over uneven terrain.

So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our Birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.

Coordinated by Explore New York, Corp.

New York City

The City That Never Sleeps, The Capital of the World, The Big Apple: Whatever you call New York, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s great centers for culture, food, finance, style and entertainment, from Broadway to the Bronx.

Historic Midtown hotel, restored to Big Band-era style; walking distance to Times Square and Theater District.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Gerry McGee

Gerry McGee is a native New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He graduated from Manhattan College and worked in Midtown as a corporate vice president for more than 40 years. Gerry is a board member and treasurer of Music Before 1800, Inc., which presents eight concerts of early music each season on Sunday afternoons.
Meals and Lodgings
   New Yorker Hotel
  New York, NY 5 nights
 New Yorker Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: This Art Deco masterpiece opened in 1930. All of New York is at your doorstep, across from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, Macy's and the Empire State Building are just down the street with the Theater District a few minutes walk. The hotel features a business center, fitness center and coin operated laundry.
  Contact info: 481 Eighth Avenue
at 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 USA
phone: 212-971-0101
  Room amenities: Cable TV, Telephone
  Facility amenities: 24-hour front desk, exercise gym, ice machines, guest laundromat, 24-hour room service, safety deposit boxes, 24-hour security, temperature control, vending machines, wake-up service, 24-hour diner plus fine restaurant, air-conditioned.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Market rate Call hotel reservations at 212 971-0101
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Market rate Call hotel reservations at 212 971-0101
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3 hotel check in, 4:00 RS registration, followed by 5:00pm dinner, 6:15 orientation You will be staying at New Yorker Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends by 10:30; 12:00pm hotel check-out. You will be staying at New Yorker Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
Secure parking is available at the hotel for approximately $40 per day.
To Start of Program
  Location:  New York, NY
  Nearest highway: I-95, I-78, I-87
  Nearest airport:  JFK, LaGuardia, Newark (NJ)
  From End of Program
  Location: New York, NY
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Driving Directions
  From New Jersey Take the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan. Follow the signs to 34th Street. Turn left on 34th Street. Turn left on Eighth Avenue.
  From the East I495 to Midtown Tunnel Exit East 34th Street Right onto 34th Street proceed to 8th Avenue
  From the Northeast I95 to I278 West Exit 6B toward Triboro Bridge Exit toward "RANDALLS-WARDS ISLANDS/MANHATTAN/FDR DRIVE" Merge onto Triboro Bridge Merge onto FDR Drive Exit #8 toward I495/MIDTOWN TUNNEL/East 34th Street Right onto 34th Street proceed to 8th Avenue
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration/Dinner/Orientation
(Sunday, September 22)
 Afternoon: Hotel check-in available after 3:30pm. 4:00pm: After checking in at the hotel front desk, come to the designated meeting room (it will be posted) to register with your Program Coordinator and pick up your arrival packet. Programs are planned far in advance, so local circumstances may require changes from time to time. We will notify you as quickly as possible should there be any changes and appreciate your understanding.
 Dinner: 5:00 pm Enjoy your first meal at the colorful Tick Tock Diner, located just off the hotel lobby. This 24-hour diner features classic American cooking. White and black checkered floors and shiny chrome columns enhance the all-American ambience. Dinner in the diner is available and included even if you arrive late. Our meal is scheduled for 5:00pm so that we can get through orientation and have some time to explore on your own. If your arrival is delayed, please attend orientation and then eat afterwards.
 Evening: 6:15 ORIENTATION/Introductions/MetroCard Registration At orientation we will go over the weeks activities and safety information. You will have the opportunity to meet fellow participants. After Orientation and Introductions, register for a senior citizen MetroCard if you are 65 or over. We will take your picture and a copy of your driver's license to process your permanent MetroCard application. You will be given a temporary card to use for the week, enabling you to ride for half price. After you return home, in a few weeks you will receive a permanent card in the mail. That is your official invitation to come back to New York and ride around half price. We will issue Senior Citizen MetroCards to all that qualify, to facilitate an early a.m. departure.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Central Park/Museum of Natural History
(Monday, September 23)
 Breakfast: The first morning, a Continental Breakfast is served in the Meeting Room, featuring New York City bagels with a schmeer, muffins, fruit, and eggs.
 Morning: Spend your first morning in Central Park with our expert guide, exploring the Ramble for those pesky Warblers on their way north.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own perhaps in one of the many cafes around the park or take advantage of the extensive cafeteria at the American Museum of Natural History.
 Afternoon: In the American Museum of Natural History you may choose to visit the Hall of Birds of the World showcasing distinct environments and the birds distinct to those locations. Or you may wish to visit the Leonard C. Sanford Hall of North American Birds with more than 20 dioramas depicting birds and ecosystems from the Everglades to Alaska.
 Dinner: Dine in a Chinese restaurant and enjoy a family-style meal including your choice of soup, three appetizers and five entrees.
 Evening: Free time or take an after dinner cruise across the harbor on the Staten Island Ferry.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Prospect Park/Brooklyn Botanic Garden and/or Brooklyn Museum
(Tuesday, September 24)
 Breakfast: This morning we will start with a hot "American" breakfast in the Tick Tock Diner. You can choose eggs with all of the sides, waffles or pancakes, or if you prefer a healthier fare, fresh fruit and yogurt is available.
 Morning: Bird walk with guide in Prospect Park and visit to Prospect Park Audubon Center.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to continue your exploration of Brooklyn Botanic Garden and/or Brooklyn Museum situated within the park.
 Dinner: We dine at "Uncle Nick's," a fun and festive dining room for a taste of traditional Greek cuisine. Start with a huge Greek country salad with feta and dolmades before kabob and gyro platters are passed, accompanied by pita and tzatziki. Be sure to save room for the baklava and galaktoboureko.
 Evening: After dinner, we head over to what may be New York's most acclaimed new park. Written about in Smithsonian, National Geographic and AARP Magazines, the High Line is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. We will stroll above the traffic below, through the gallery district of Chelsea and into the trendy Meat Packing District with an expert guide leading the way.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: More birding in Central Park/Free Time
(Wednesday, September 25)
 Morning: Early morning birding in another area of Central Park.
 Brunch: In a charming cafe near Central Park
 Afternoon: Free time for additional birding in Central Park, Museum Visits or to attend a matinee in the Midtown Manhattan theater district.
 Dinner: Dine on your own at your expense
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Brunch

Day 5: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
(Thursday, September 26)
 Breakfast: Hot "American" breakfast in the Tick Tock Diner
 Morning: Birding at The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years, it is a must-see for avian enthusiasts.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Refuge.
 Afternoon: More birding at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
 Dinner: We like to have our farewell dinner in Cooper's Tavern. This cocktail lounge and bistro in our "historic New Yorker hotel offers a sleek respite for bar bites and stiff cocktails." states New York Magazine.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: A conversation with the expert
(Friday, September 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel.
 Morning: Wrap-up lecture to talk about the migrating birds will end our program by 10:30
 Lunch: We end our program with a "sweet surprise." And it wouldn't be a surprise if we told you here, but it's something no one should leave New York without tasting. Lunch is delivered to the Meeting Room by 10:30 to enjoy at your leisure or put in a bag (provided) and take with you, on the run.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  New York, NY General Overview
Hotel is located in close proximity to Penn Station, Main Post Office, Macy's, Empire State Building, Times Square and the Theater District For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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