What is the New York Mycological Society?

John Cage and friends at the first Chanterelle Weekend in 1962

The NYMS is a nonprofit organization of members who share an interest in mycology (the study of mushrooms and fungi) as well as in mycophagy (the eating of mushrooms). The present NYMS was reincarnated some 50 years ago by the composer John Cage and a small group of other mushroom lovers and students.

We all enjoy the delicious and exotic flavors of mushrooms. In this pursuit of culinary adventure the Society holds a number of events to bring the members our favorite esculents. Foremost is the Annual Banquet held in early winter at a NYC restaurant. Easily our most well attended event, our interest in mushrooms is reflected in the structure of the menu.


Eugenia Bone’s Mushroom Pie

The Mycophagist’s Table is a sort of round robin series of dinners hosted by members. These small dinners are themed and of course involve mushrooms prepared in many interesting ways. Our membership includes many talented gourmets and gourmands so these events are often filled within hours of their announcement.


The Society engages its members in mycology in the course of its many walks, Monday Night Study Group (the Foul Weather Friends) and the Emil Lang Winter Lecture Series.

Gary Lincoff doing a "show -and-tell" at Stony Brook in Harriman Park

Gary Lincoff doing a “show -and-tell” at Stony Brook in Harriman Park

A typical foray is held in one of many parks in the greater New York City area, within reach of public transportation, where we walk through the woods to collect the fungi growing there. After lunch, we lay out our mushroom finds for the available member-experts to comment upon, gaining the attendees a closer familiarity with mushroom identification. Our walks are listed on this site.

During the season (July-October) most Monday nights the Foul Weather Friends meet to study the collections of the previous weekend. We have at hand a library of field guides, species monographs and microscopes giving the student a closer look at the mushroom mysteries. These meetings are for members only.

Poster for the Chernobyl Fungi Lecture at Cooper Union

Poster for the Chernobyl Fungi Lecture by Ekaterina Dadachova at Cooper Union

During the winter months the Society holds lectures on all sorts of mushroom related subjects. Some of the subjects of past lectures have included: the Species Amanita, the Mushrooms of Central Park, Wood Decay Fungi, Packaging Materials made from Mycelium, the Mushrooms of the Chernobyl Reactor and a Kitchen Fungal Foray. We book experts from around the world to help pass these mushroomless months of the winter.

Among our most popular events of the year combine mycology, mycophagy and comaraderie in two weekend outings in Vermont and the Catskills. During these weekends our members traipse in mushroom rich forests for a weekend of collecting and good company.

Our members are also eligible to attend larger consolidated forays held by the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and the Northeast Mycological Federation (NEMF). These events could be described as mushroom conventions involving 250 attendees engaging in long weekends of mushroom walks, meals, lectures and other mushroom related activities. The NAMA events are held throughout North America, NEMF forays are held in the northeastern states and eastern Canada.

Our web presence consists of this website which serves to provide topical and general information, archival material such as Species Lists and Newsletters, our Facebook page, where members post photos and commentary and a Constant Contact email service which brings news of events available to the membership.

We publish a quarterly newsletter bringing our members the latest updates on our activities as well as subjects of more general interest.


Membership is paid for the calendar year, with dues payable on January 1. All memberships are renewable for $20.00 for a membership. Active members are entitled to our publications, our meetings and events, and the discounted membership rate for NAMA.

New memberships cost $20.00 for a single, $30.00 for family.

On April 1, memberships not renewed are considered lapsed and are renewable only as new memberships.

In mid-April invitations to the Morel Breakfast are mailed only to paid members.