Public Engagement

General Public

Museum of the City of New York Only in New York series - New York Is My Muse

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

Speed Levitch, a NYC tour guide who has earned a cult following thanks to his free-flowing improvisational style the imbues city landmarks with a poetic flourish, and Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President for The Trust for Public Land, explore the contours of New York’s signature landscapes, both man-made and natural, gritty and sublime. 

Only in New York is a new conversation series in which New York Times journalist Sarah Maslin Nir brings together two New Yorkers from different worlds to explore key questions about the city’s identity, culture, and history. 

Reception to follow the program. 

About the Speakers:

Adrian Benepe is the Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land (TPL). At TPL, Benepe oversees the creation of parks, playgrounds, trails and greenways in dozens of cities across the country. Benepe served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation for 11 years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During that time, he oversaw a major expansion of the city’s parks system, restoring historic parks such as Central Park and Battery Park, adding 730 acres of new parks including Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line, and planning an additional 2,000 acres of new city parks. 

Speed Levitch is an actor, tour guide, speaker, author, voice actor, and Kansas City and New York City tour guide. Levitch has appeared in multiple films and has had his poetic and philosophical works published in books and periodicals. In 1992 he received his tour guide license from the Central Park Conservancy. He later took a position with Apple and Gray Line Tours as a tour bus guide. He soon attracted a cult following, due not only to his fast talking style, but also for his obvious love of his native city and passionate philosophical ideas. Levitch’s fame was spread beyond NYC when Oscar winning Director, Bennett Miller, made Levitch the subject of the 1998 documentary The Cruise. Today, Levitch lives in Kansas City, MO. He travels to NY to gives tours once a season or when he is commissioned by groups. In addition, Levitch is growing a new “Taste of Kansas City” tour business.


$25 for adults | $20 for seniors, students & educators (with ID) | $15 for Museum members. Includes Museum admission. Register at the top right button.  A limited number of New School complimentary tickets are available at

This program is co-sponsored by The New School Urban Studies Program.

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