Event Announcement

A QueensWay Tour with “Wildman” Steve Brill

Sunday, Nov 1, 2020
9:00 am – 11:00 am

The 2-hour walking tour of The Queensway begins at 9 AM, Saturday, November 1st, at the NE corner of Woodhaven Blvd. and Forest Park Dr. in front of Victory Field in Woodhaven, Queens.

The suggested donation is $20/adult, $10/child under 12. You may call (914) 835-2153 at least 24 hours in advance to sign up or sign up at link below


This wooded walkway is one of the best places for foraging in the fall. We’ll explore the overgrown bed of an abandoned railroad line, the adjacent mature forest, plus trail sides, thickets, and cultivated areas, all loaded with wild plants, in conjunction with Friends of the Queensway.

Black walnuts are at their peak now. This native nut is better than anything you can buy in the store, and it’s loaded with nutrients.

Most roots are in season in autumn, and burdock, an expensive but invasive East Asian species, abounds in human-disturbed areas scattered  throughout the trail sides. Instead of brewing it as a tea, it’s so common, you can cook it like potatoes, or marinate and bake it to make “Wildman’s” Vegan Beef Jerky.

Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. You use it for tea, or for making root beer. The dried, powdered leaves constitute the thickener for gumbo, called filé powder, and you can use the roots to make a cinnamon-like culinary seasoning. 

Another tree we’ll look for is the black birch. It grows in the woods, with twigs that taste like wintergreen. It provides the raw material for making birch beer. You can steep the twigs in hot water to make a fabulous tea with anti-inflammatory properties similar to aspirin. You can also thicken the tea with agar, season and sweeten it, and make black birch Jello. Even better, use it to flavor “Wildman’s” tapioca-thickened Stick Pudding.

There are plenty of fall herbs and greens in season. We’ll find mugwort, a tonic for the female reproductive system, and lamb’s-quarters, which you use like its relative, spinach. We’ll also be finding Asiatic dayflower, poor man’s pepper, lady’s thumb, and wood sorrel, all great for salads, sandwiches, and cooked vegetable dishes.

Wild seeds are in season too. We’ll hunt for the spicy seeds of garlic mustard, walnut-flavored seeds of jewelweed (a panacea for skin irritation—it even cures mosquito bites and prevents poison ivy rash), plus the wild grains of foxtail grass.

With lots of rain and a bit of luck, gourmet chicken mushrooms, milky mushrooms, boletes, giant puffballs, hen of the woods, and russulas may be emerging. 

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