project leader
Angela A
W. 173 St &, Haven Ave
(Washington Heights, Harlem, Sugar Hill, Inwood)
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the project

On June 3rd, 2023, CLIMB (City Life Is Moving Bodies) and its community partners will be celebrating celebrating its 19th year of connecting communities through our annual hike through Northern Manhattan parks. Hike the Heights is an annual volunteer-planned and community run event that links 2,000+ local residents with their beautiful parks in Northern Manhattan, including the “Giraffe Path,” an urban trail that connects over 7 parks and surrounding neighborhoods. This family-friendly event brings together New Yorkers of all ages for hiking and a community party with arts, games, healthy food, and active fun in their parks. 

We connect people with the parks in their communities. Hike the Heights shows local residents the natural resources that exist in their own back yard to encourage them to engage with and use the parks, making them safer for everyone.
We build community through the arts.  In preparation for the event, local children from Head Start groups, pediatric clinical facilities, and local schools work with CLIMB and our community partners to create giraffe statues from recycled materials.  On the day of the event, these giraffes decorate the parks and line the hiking trails, lending a playful feel to the volunteer-led tours through parks previously marked by violence.
We promote environmental stewardship.  Before Hike the Heights, CLIMB and its partners host park clean-up and trail maintenance days so local residents can give back to the parks that give them so much.
We bridge communities. Hiking along the giraffe bridges the divide between surrounding neighborhoods. Neighbors from Central Harlem and Washington Heights/Inwood hike along the giraffe path and interact with one another, strengthening bonds and building community.
This year, and every year, we are calling on everyone to promote the use of the Giraffe Path by organizing or joining a hike, joining us at the potluck in the park, and sharing it with us on social media! Together, let's revitalize our public spaces, strengthen community, spread joy, and hike toward a more equitable future! 

In 2023 we continue to build upon our 2019 theme: a reflection on the inequalities that persists in all of our communities in observance of 400 Years of Inequality.  2019 was the 400th year since the first Africans were sold into bondage in North America. Inequality has structured the way we all live, play, work, learn, and build communities, affecting each of us in personal ways. We want to recognize and name these ways in order to walk together toward a more equitable society. In 2023, we can reclaim the public spaces in our own backyards by hiking (marching) through the streets and gathering together in our parks in order to recognize the inequalities that have shaped our communities and lives; break bread with our neighborhoods; engage in physical activities together; strengthen bonds and spread community joy!

the steps

  1. Conduct outreach to past and new community partners

  2. Host collaborative event planning meetings to plan, arrange and hold the hikes and community parties in the parks
  3. Support partners in community initiatives through cross promotion and 'showing up'
  4. Recruit past and new sites for children’s giraffe making workshops, and coordinate these trainings
  5. Recruit seed groups and hike leaders
  6. Expand hike start locations into more neighborhoods
  7. Fundraise for events costs including party activities requested by local residents
  8. Hold park clean-up days to remove litter and maintain trails
  9. Set-up the Giraffe Path installation
  10. Celebrate the vibrant Northern Manhattan communities and parks at our June 3rd event!

why we're doing it

Open spaces and parks in large urban areas are invaluable. The diverse residents who use these spaces – from toddlers to seniors, joggers to strollers – enhance their quality and vibrancy. Northern Manhattan has an extensive network of paved and unpaved park trails that can take a hiker from 110th street to 218th street through beautiful urban parks and past breathtaking natural vistas. Community partners lovingly refer to the network of trails as the "Giraffe Path" because, on a map, the parks form a green giraffe-shaped oasis where local residents can escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Unfortunately, many of these trails have been forgotten by locals who retreated from parks during the epidemic of violence that plagued Northern Manhattan in the 1980s and early 1990s.  Volunteer groups and the City Parks Department have brought these parks and surrounding neighborhoods a long way on the path to restoration and, though some additional maintenance work is required, what these spaces need now is increased foot traffic (and bike, rollerblade, wheelchair, & stroller traffic as well!).  Neighbors and visitors must be invited to come out and learn about these trails. We have found that once residents learn about their parks, they fall in love with the trails and are more likely to be involved in park stewardship and other community volunteer activities.
In coming together for a celebration at the Sunken Playground, lovingly refered to by locals as 'The Pit', we hope to encourage others to reclaim these parks and public spaces, using them as they would their own backyard, increasing physical, social, civic activity in the neighborhoods they are in.

CLIMB and Hike the Heights seek to raise awareness about these public spaces and build a sense of community pride and ownership over them. Parks are important community assets for public health and community well-being. By connecting neighbors with their parks, we hope to promote both healthy lifestyles and community advocacy for these beautiful natural assets.


Final budget


Food $350.40

Art $50

Tables/Chairs $95

Port-a-potties $300

Tshirts $350

Total $1145.40

TOTAL RAISED = $1,245.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $62.25
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $37.35

Original budget

Activities (art supplies, sports equipment, first aid kits, etc)- $1000

Promotional Supplies and Banners, Giraffe Path signage (for the Hike) - $1000

Tables/Chairs, Tents, and Stage rental -$1000

Refreshments (Healthy meal and snacks) - $4,500

Logistics (permits, generators, moving equipment/supplies) - $500

Icees and other giveaways - $2000

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $545
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $327
TOTAL TO RAISE = $10,908


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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