JOYCE GOLD HISTORY TOURS OF NEW YORK

Custom Tours for Individuals or Groups

Joyce Gold makes each custom tour a unique event. Her expertise is providing accurate interesting information with wonderful details and stories that will delight the most demanding clients. Plan a marvelous, enriching experience for yourself, your family, friends or special guests from the city or from around the world.

Tour Descriptions - Review our list of over 40 suggested tours grouped below by location:

» MANHATTAN WALKING TOURS:
» Downtown Tours (from Battery Park to Houston Street) — 15 tours
» Greenwich Village Tours (between Houston Street & 14th Street) — 9 tours
» Midtown Tours (from 14th Street to 59th Street) — 10 tours
» Uptown Tours (above 59th Street to Washington Heights) — 9 tours
» BROOKLYN WALKING TOURS 3 tours
» CORPORATE TOURSJoyce Gold specializes in providing high-level, enjoyable tours for corporate clients.
» BUS TOURS & OTHER VEHICLE TOURS — Bus Tours and other vehicle tours allow groups to cover several neighborhoods on one tour.

» PUBLIC SCHEDULED TOURS — View the current schedule.

Contact Joyce for more information about planning your own private tour.

 

Manhattan - Downtown Walking Tours  (from Battery Park to Houston Street)

WALL STREET — FROM WINDMILLS TO WORLD FINANCE

The Dutch settlement only lasted 40 years, but those strong-minded tradesmen left their mark in a district where people from all over the world come to buy low and sell high. This lively history walk follows the streets used by Manhattanites for 384 years. It introduces visitors to the oldest part of the city and shows how the metropolis and the center of world finance came to be what it is today.
 
Amid streets whose names commemorate the 17th century Dutch market, the mill used to grind grain, and the canal used to trap beaver, participants will discover what remains of New Amsterdam, as well as the buildings, people, and events that once started a new nation, and recreated the area as its financial center. The Financial District boasts many of Manhattan's most famous historic sites, including:
• Federal Hall — site of George Washington's inauguration
• Battery Park — military statues and a world-class harbor
• Trinity Church — long head of the Episcopal Church of New York
• Fraunces Tavern — with its Revolutionary War associations
• The New York Stock Exchange — by far the world's busiest
• Federal Reserve Bank of New York— site of more gold than anywhere else
 
These days, enormous shifts have come to the neighborhood. Dozens of skyscrapers have gone residential, and new restaurants are flowering. We will examine the new changes in a historic context, and explore the areas of greatest change and potential.

JEWISH COLONIAL MANHATTAN

** NEW **

In 1654, 23 Jewish men, women, and children arrived in Dutch New Amsterdam. Settling into their new life included adapting to restrictions imposed by the frontier town, and dealing with subsequent Jewish arrivals with traditions different from their own. Their immediate concern was how to earn a living when many occupations were closed to them.
 
During the Dutch and British periods groups of Jews arrived from a variety of countries. The process of their making Manhattan a home involved creating a place to pray, providing kosher food, keeping their children within the faith, and balancing the interests of Sephardic and Ashkenazi residents.
 
Highlights include Site of the first synagogue in North America
• The 18th century Jewish ghetto
• George Washington’s letter affirms tolerance toward Jews
• Minuit Plaza—the flagpole inscription honors the original 23 Jews in New York
• The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island—great symbols of America

THE DREAMS AND TERRORS OF ELLIS ISLAND

Discover the first experiences in America of the 17 million people who fled Europe in ship steerage in hopes of finding a new life in a strange but promising country.

GOVERNORS ISLAND

(Governors Island is open to the public May through September. Tours are possible only during those five months.)
Governors Island is a prime piece of real estate just a short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan with phenomenal views of that skyline. Until recently the island was federal land and closed to the public. Today government, private interests, and the public are all involved in defining the future of this unique section of New York.
 
In Dutch and British colonial times, the island was pasture, timberland, game preserve, and summer resort. For nearly two centuries after the American Revolution it served as guardian of the harbor and was in continuous military use.
 
A visit today includes areas designated as national monuments, temporary art installations, and activities from jazz concerts to children’s activities to biking in a car-free environment. It’s a visit to quiet, green, and open-spaces. The big question to consider is — what lies ahead.

GROUND ZERO AND ITS NEIGHBORS — 14 YEARS LATER

Recovery from the infamous September 11, 2001 attack has redefined this part of the city. The monumental task of redesigning the World Trade Center site has epitomized the struggle among competing interests vying for influence and control over this historic re-working of Manhattan’s oldest district.
 
Site by site, developers, governments, 9/11 families, growing numbers of residents, the business community, and numerous others have all clashed and compromised to redefine the future there.
 
How is the area changing? Will the new neighborhood be an improvement? Will the new architecture uplift our sense of purpose and the perception of the tragedy? What memorials and memories will remain of 9/11? When have Americans across the country affected what happens here? Will tourists overwhelm the neighborhood? How will security measures affect the atmosphere of the newly diversified district? These are some of the issues that you can explore on this challenging new tour.

GANGS OF NEW YORK AND THE BLOODY FIVE POINTS

Brought to life in the movie Gangs of New York, the Five Points was a place of violence, gang wars, poverty, and corruption. Nativists and recent immigrants, particularly the Irish, faced off against each other in gangs such as Roach Guards, Plug Uglies, Shirt Tails, and Dead Rabbits.
 
Highlights include:       
• Five Points visitors — Davy Crockett, Charles Dickens, and Abraham Lincoln       
• A Five Points success story  — Al Smith — Tammany, protege, state governor, presidential candidate
• The oldest Jewish graveyard in North America       
• The Roman Catholic church with Anglican, Cuban, Irish, Italian, Chinese, and Buddhist history

THE BOWERY — ENTERTAINMENTS HIGH AND LOW

From flashy district of vaudeville, minstrel shows and operettas, to raucous saloons, bare-knuckle boxing, and Skid Row, the still-changing Bowery has seen it all.
Rural to the 1800s, the street evolved into a flashy entertainment district for the working class. During the Civil War the Bowery was a center of New York's theatrical life. Here vaudeville began and minstrel shows became popular. H.M.S. Pinafore and the stage version of Uncle Tom's Cabin debuted on the Bowery. By the 1870s raucous saloons combined socializing and bare-knuckled boxing for entertainment. Though the street's fortunes declined, its venues at the turn of the last century were the early training grounds for such greats as Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, and George M. Cohan.
 
The 1892 The Bowery song with its humorous view of a tourist's being ripped off popularized the street as a disreputable place. The Depression of the 1930s cemented its reputation as Skid Row for people who had lost all hope. With the late CBGB home of Underground Rock, and more recently the luxury Bowery Hotel and the New Museum, the Bowery's identity is changing again.

DOWNTOWN GRAVEYARDS — WHERE THEY CAME TO REST

Discover the graves of African slaves, the first Jewish settlers, and founders of the American Republic still in the heart of the Financial District.

TRIBECA — NEW DIVERSITY FROM AN INDUSTRIAL PAST

This once gritty light-industrial district gives way to residential loft conversions and hot spots of food, film, and design artistry.

BATTERY PARK CITY — CITY LIFE ENHANCED

Replacing deserted piers along Lower Manhattan's Hudson River shoreline, Battery Park City has emerged as a remarkable living space. Its 92 acres of landfill were developed by the Battery Park City Authority, an innovative group of public and private advocates.
 
The secret of Battery Park City's success is its integration of public amenities and private initiatives in artistically-designed natural landscapes, including hills, secret paths, and glorious panoramas.
 
Highlights include:
• Parks with playfields that include dramatic vistas, hilly woodlands, and delightful yet sinister sculpture
• Poetry House, the Irish Hunger Memorial, Winter Garden, and public bathrooms galore
• Politics of the public-benefit corporation
• Environmentally state-of-the-art private spaces <
see the write up on this tour in the Tribeca Citizen

WHEN ITALY MOVED TO NEW YORK

Immigrants, priests, politicians, gangsters — Little Italy and the diversity of the Italian experience.

WHEN CHINA MOVED TO NEW YORK

Chinatown's bleak 19th century bachelor society of hard-working immigrants infuses the district today.

MORE TEEMING THAN BOMBAY:
THE OLD JEWISH LOWER EAST SIDE

Take a step back in time with a walking tour of the tenements, settlement houses, home life, literary culture, and religion of the early 20th century immigrants. This tour focuses on the period from the 1880s to 1930s when over a million and a half Jews, chiefly from Eastern Europe, crowded into this area, giving it the largest concentration of Jewish people in the world.
 
Remnants of the institutions that improved the immigrants' lives survive, next door to their modern equivalents, which still strive to help people into this constantly changing neighborhood.
 
Highlights include viewing (but not entering):
• The historic Forward Building, home to the world's largest Yiddish newspaper
• Seward Park Library, center of reading and education for generations
• Eldridge Street Synagogue, first synagogue in U.S. built by Jews of Eastern Europe
• The Tenement Museum, which explains living conditions of the past (a view from the outside)
• The Educational Alliance, a settlement house started by immigrants that spawned many Jewish artists and politicians of renown

SOHO: CAST IRON STAGE FOR MANY PLAYERS

The nineteenth century cast iron emporiums of Soho have witnessed the full cycle of new development, deterioration, and restoration.
A leisurely walk through this picturesque New York area acquaints walkers with the legacies of generations of Soho residents — the immigrants who worked in retail in the 1840s and then in wholesale in the 1880s, and the artists and entrepreneurs who have helped create the current ultra-cool look of the region, sometimes literally by painting the walls.
 
Why have such upscale retail outfits as Prada, Kate's Paperie and Bloomingdale's chosen this small, formerly industry-heavy part of town for retail branches? In what ways does the past affect the future here? And in what direction is Soho moving today?

THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE —
ROMANTIC PASSAGEWAY THAT JOINS TWO ISLANDS

Since its opening in 1883 the bridge has been praised for its innovation, its beauty, and the scene from its raised walkway. And now the new Brooklyn Bridge Park is transforming the Brooklyn waterfront.
Since its opening in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge has been an icon of New York City. It still evokes amazement for its engineering, its beauty, and the views from its raised, wooden walkway. Poets, novelists, filmmakers, and painters have celebrated it, as “a living connection” of architectural grace and strength.
 
Tour highlights include:
• The fascinating story of the site, design and construction of the bridge
• Spectacular views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the great harbor of New York
• The first section of the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, eventually to encompass 1.2 miles along the Brooklyn waterfront

Greenwich Village Walking Tours  (between Houston St & 14th Street)

THE FLAMBOYANT AND THE BOHEMIAN:
GREENWICH VILLAGE AND HOW IT BECAME FAMOUS

In its earliest years Greenwich Village was a refuge from the yellow fever epidemic downtown. By the early 20th century, the Village had become home to artists, writers, and playwrights looking for an unconventional environment and creative freedom. Protesters came here in their struggles for the vote for women, better working conditions, opposition to war, and gay and feminist rights.
 
Highlights include:
• The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the labor movement
• Literary figures — Henry James, Edna St Vincent Millay, Willa Cather, Eugene O'Neill
• 19th century residential architectural as a social document
• Coffeehouses of the Beat Generation
• The Minetta trout stream and street design
• Landmarking and preservation controversies

HIGH LINE PARK ELEVATES CITY

The new High Line Park began its life as an industrial elevated railroad that traveled above the street traffic and through the buildings it served. Today the new city park on the old rail-bed serves as an international model for creative reuse of industrial structures.
 
We will climb the "slow steps" to see this amazing woodland, grassland, and urban wonderland and walk into the newly-opened extension of the remarkably-transformed space.
 
Tour highlights include:
• Preserving the abandoned look
• Seating, lighting, and views
• Artistic, environmental and structural elements
• The park's effect on the neighborhood

** NEW **

ITALIAN GREENWICH VILLAGE

Italian priests, saints, shop owners, politicians and mobsters all contributed to the scene south of Washington Square.
The South Village, the district south of Washington Square Park, is what most people picture when they think of Greenwich Village. Today much of the charm of the South Village comes from its many original Italian businesses, some started over 100 years ago and now run by the third and fourth generations.
 
The enduring Italian presence may be because residents from southern Italy were slow to become Americanized, holding family and traditions close. Socializing primarily with people from their native part of Italy, they established churches, social clubs, workplaces, and other needs of daily life.
 
The full story of the South Village includes African-Americans, Irish, and Italian priests, saints, shop-owners, politicians, and mobsters. Images of the neighborhood contribute to such films as Godfather II, Raging Bull, Serpico, and Moonstruck.

THE IMMIGRANT, RADICAL, NOTORIOUS WOMEN OF WASHINGTON SQUARE

In few other places on earth have so many notable women lived and achieved. For the last 150 years, it has seen an unparalleled variety of women – working class, gentry, radical, literary, academic, theatrical, convict, and immigrant – remarkable women who left their imprints on the Washington Sq. neighborhood – and beyond.
 
Highlights of the tour — literary, art, and theatre iconoclasts:
• The salon of Mable Dodge, a center of WW I-era activism
• The tragedy of the Triangle fire and its role in the labor movement
• The Suffrage Movement
see the write up on this tour in the New York Times

THE INTIMATE WEST VILLAGE WITH ITS SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT PARK

The past is present in the West Village. Classic 19th century 3-story townhouses set the stage. This is a community neighborhood where on quirky angled streets we discover 1920's speakeasies, literary hang-outs, European-style coffeehouses, Off-Broadway theatres — the quintessential American Bohemia. It's sites inspired Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, O. Henry's The Last Leaf, and television shows Friends and Sex and the City.
 
But one block west of its border, the neighborhood changes abruptly. Gone are the run-down remains of a long-disappeared waterfront commerce — transient hotels, cheap bars, and old factories. Now new glass-covered high-rise buildings rise with celebrity-filled condominiums and look out over a spectacular, transformed waterfront. Today the shoreline is alive again, this time with grassy playing fields, quiet lawns, children's playgrounds, and 800' long restored piers.

MACABRE GREENWICH VILLAGE

Gather ‘round close for some of the spookiest stories in New York — murders, hangings, explosions, famous missing persons, specters, hauntings, and ghosts. Death lies in plain view —if you know where to look.
 
Highlights include:
• Washington Square Park graveyard
• The 19th century Jewish graveyard
• Newgate prison
• The murdered architect
• The tale of the haunting artist
• America's most famous missing person
• Hangings, and the hangman's house
• Edgar Allan Poe's home and his inspiration for The Raven
• The day the music died

GREENWICH VILLAGE LITERARY WALK

The openness of Greenwich Village drew artists of all sorts including novelists, poets, playwrights, and writers of detective fiction, short stories, and muckraking exposés. Living and working in close proximity to one another, 19th and 20th century luminaries could find inspiration and good company in this bohemia.
 
Among the greatest writers have been:
• Walt Whitman, the great poet
• Henry James, the novelist whose masterwork was Washington Square
• Edith Wharton, the author of such New York-based historical novels as The House of Mirth and Age of Innocence
• Louisa May Alcott, writer of Little Women
• Edgar Allan Poe, author of such macabre tales as Murders in the Rue Morgue and such poems as The Raven and Annabel Lee
• Stephen Crane, author of the novel Red Badge of Courage
• Eugene O’Neill, possibly America’s greatest playwright
• Ida Tarbell, muckraking attacker of Standard Oil’s monopoly
• Willa Cather, author of such novels of the Midwest as My Antonia
• Edna St. Vincent Millay, first women to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry We will see where these authors lived and hung out, and examine how this literary community evolved over time.

HISTORIC DIVERSITY IN THE EAST VILLAGE — DUTCH FARM,
IRISH ALE HOUSE, AND THE YIDDISH KING LEAR

Peter Stuyvesant, Director General of the New Netherlands from 1647 to 1664, was the first owner of the farmland now known as the East Village. One of his descendants donated land for Tompkins Square Park and for St. Marks-in-the-Bowery Church. Irish laborers moved into the area when shipbuilding grew along the East River.
 
In the 1840s they constructed St. Bridget's, the "Famine Church." Germans also thrived here, until a disastrous tragedy on the morning of June 15,1904 resulted in the death of over 1000 people, in the greatest New York loss of life until September 11, 2001. As Germans left the neighborhood, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian families moved in, bringing new life, food, and traditions to the East Village.
 
Highlights include:
• A Stuyvesant home, one of the oldest buildings in Manhattan
• St. Marks-in-the-Bowery Church
• McSorley's Old Ale House
• Cooper Union for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences
• The Astor Place Opera riot
• The General Slocum Disaster
• Yiddish Rialto theatres

ETHNIC NOSHING IN THE EAST VILLAGE

The neighborhood has been and continues to be home to Irish, Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, German, and Italian populations. Its theaters, churches, shops, restaurants, and bakeries all reflect their diverse ethnic influences.
 
Their foods reminded the immigrants of home, supported the spirit of their heritage, and helped give them the strength to become Americans. The tour can include stories of the groups, the foods, and the eateries, all while tasting our way through the neighborhood.
 
Here are some choices for our serial nosh:
• a taste of fresh mozzarella at one of the best Italian cheese shops in town
• cookies from a Yiddish rialto bakery
• samosas at an Indian restaurant on E. 6th Street
• a burger and ale at (possibly) Manhattan’s oldest saloon
• a cookie and cappuccino at a century-old Italian pasticceria
• Venezuelan mini sandwiches, meat arepas
• a drink, with the recipe “no egg, no cream.”

Manhattan - Midtown Walking Tours  (from 14th Street to 59th Street)

GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL — CROSSROADS OF A MILLION PRIVATE LIVES

100 years ago Grand Central Terminal opened to great acclaim. More than 150,000 people visited it on opening day. The dramatic new structure was a thrilling symbol of the fast-expanding commercial and intellectual reach of the second largest city in the world.
 
A majestic Beaux Arts rendition of a classical form, Grand Central is impressive outside and within. A monumental sculpture crowns its 42nd Street façade. The Main Concourse has the soaring dimensions of a cathedral. The building seems to embody the huge purpose of the terminal — to move great numbers of people, to provide services for travelers, to outshine its rival, and to create a real estate boom with the innovation of air rights.
 
Additional highlights of the walk include:
• The tragedy that led to its creation
• Design that made traffic flow and luggage glide
• Its history-making role in landmarking New York City’s heritage
• The Campbell Apartment
• Commodore Vanderbilt, Whitney Warren, Jackie Onassis
• The Whispering Arch

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM MADMEN AND CRIMINALS TO INNOVATION HOTSPOT

Separated from Manhattan by just 300 feet, Roosevelt Island has its own distinct history, as Hog Island, Blackwell’s Island, Welfare Island, & Roosevelt Island.
In the Dutch period it was a place to pasture swine. Later it became the Blackwell family farmland. In the early 19th century the city bought the island and for 100 years used it to house the unsavory services of prison and madhouse. In the last few decades, it has become a thriving mixed-income town built from a Master Plan. And major changes are on the way.
 
Highlights include:
• Preparations for the upcoming Cornell-Technion venture—their institute for innovation
• The Roosevelt Island Tramway, a picturesque & reliable transport
• Blackwell’s Farmhouse, a centuries-old residence
• Upscale apartments with spectacular views of the Upper East Side

CIVIL WAR IN MANHATTAN

As the inevitability of the Civil War increased, New York faced conflicts within its varied population. Family connections with the South brought personal strife for some. Business interests dreaded the potential loss of Southern markets for finished goods. Ever present ethnic and class tensions increased.
 
Once war was declared, New York officially supported the Northern cause. But as the war dragged on, ethnic and class tensions escalated between the Irish and blacks, and the poor and the governing class. Groups actively engaged with the war included shipbuilders, manufacturers, newspaper publishers, humanitarian philanthropists, and soldiers returning from the Battle of Gettysburg.
 
Highlights include:
• Abraham Lincoln, the candidate and president
• Greeley, the abolitionist editor
• Confederate plot to burn down New York
• The Draft and Draft Riots
• The Monitor & New York shipbuilding
• General Grant, General Sherman, and Admiral Farragut

FROM UNION SQUARE TO MADISON SQUARE —
BASEBALL, TAMMANY HALL, AND THE GIRL ON THE RED VELVET SWING

Hubs of political chicanery, Union Square and Madison Square were gathering places for sports fans, anarchists, vaudevillians, and 19th century fashionistas. The Squares were key stations along the steady movement north of residences, houses of worship, entertainment venues, retail stores, hotels, and political organizations. But they evolved along divergent paths.
 
From the Civil War to World War I, political radicals, labor unions, and the Democratic Party used Union Square as a home base and platform for demonstrations and protests. The image of Madison Square reflected its wealthier residents, bosses of the Republican Party, and iconic early skyscrapers — the Flatiron Building and the Metropolitan Life insurance Building.
 
Highlights include:
• Tammany Hall
• The Amen Corner
• The Knickerbocker Club and the first rules of baseball
• Anarchists, Socialists, and communists
• Ladies Mile, an elegant corridor of luxury shops for women

HIDDEN CHARMS OF CHELSEA

Beginning in the 18th century as one man's farm, this west Chelsea neighborhood is a beautiful enclave of elegant 19th century New York. Houses survive in the Federal, Greek-Revival, and Italianate styles. One centerpiece of the neighborhood is the 180-year-old General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, still a picturesque center of learning.
 
The new look in world-class architecture is also here — eye-catching structures by Frank Gehry, Annabelle Selloff, and Jean Nouvel. Art sites include such galleries as those of Matthew Marks, Pat Hearn, Morris Healy, and Annina Nosei. The newest museum on the block is the Chelsea Art Museum.
 
After exploring these far-west streets, the tour ends at the newest work of art, the remarkably-transformed High Line Park. After hearing about its history and design, tour-takers can enjoy climbing up to see this "Jack in the Beanstalk" wonderland and the beautiful views within and around it.

THE GENIUS AND ELEGANCE OF GRAMERCY PARK

Discover a London Square that became home to creative minds, elegant salons, and the taste-setting Lady Mendl.
Samuel Ruggles, lawyer, developer, and urban design visionary, purchased a piece of marshland in 1831 in order to create a park for local citizens. Over the next several decades, a private London square emerged, surrounded by substantial homes. This landmarked district became home to some of America's greatest inventors, architects, actors, doctors, diarists, publishers, writers, painters, and losing and winning presidential candidates.
 
Highlights include:
• Manhattan's only private park
• The National Arts Club
• The Players Club
• The Salon of Elizabeth Marbury and Elsie de Wolfe
• O. Henry's home and bar
• Homes of Peter Cooper, Edwin Booth, and Stanford White

MURRAY HILL:
FROM "THE RESTRICTION" TO J.P. MORGAN AND FRIENDS

Just south of Grand Central Terminal lies this orderly, residential enclave, notable for its graceful non-commercial character. That orderliness and quiet demeanor was no accident. The Murray family controlled the development of their land, included limiting the sale of liquor, and keeping businesses out.
 
From the days of banker and industrialist J. P. Morgan through those of newly-weds Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Murray Hill has been the district of choice for the elegant mansions, beautiful brownstones, and enormous carriage houses of New York's elite, and has seen an extraordinary concentration of wealth and power.
 
Highlights include:
• The enclave of British war brides
• The mansion built to upstage J P Morgan
• The horse tunnel adapted for modern life
• Brothers to the Rescue corner

IRISH HELL'S KITCHEN

Fleeing starvation during the Famine, Irish immigrants poured into New York City in the mid 19th century in search of a better life. One of the few jobs open to Irish men was back-breaking work on the docks. Hell's Kitchen faced the westside waterfront, a squalid, crime-ridden and overcrowded slum. Here the Irish families struggled to survive poverty and overcome discrimination.
 
The area's name still evokes images of:
• gang fights along Tenth Avenue
• Irish killers with names like Happy Jack Mulraney, Goo Goo Knox, Stumpy Malarkey, and One-Lung Curran
• Cattle pens and slaughterhouses on West 39th St.
 
The music, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and the musical West Side Story, portray the tough life and the dangers well known to Hell's Kitchen residents in the 20th century. Today, the abattoirs, prostitution, gang fights and sweaty old Madison Square Garden are gone, but this tour shows how that past influences the neighborhood today.

GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY —
THE DAZZLE OF THE GREAT WHITE WAY

Times Square — the area around Broadway from 42nd to 55th Sts. — is one of the hottest tickets in town. The spectacle and sparkle of Times Square draw millions of visitors each year, and looking back through its larger-than-life history it’s no surprise.
 
Highlights include:
• The legacies of Florenz Ziegfeld, Irving Berlin, and George M. Cohan
• "Naughty, bawdy, gawdy, sporty 42nd Street"
• Starring roles for The New York Times, Walt Disney and Mayor John Lindsay
• The new pedestrian-friendly enhancements

GREAT SKYSCRAPERS OF MIDTOWN

The great buildings of New York — Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Trump Tower, the Plaza Hotel, St. Patrick's Cathedral — and the people who helped create them.

Uptown Walking Tours  (above 59th Street to Washington Heights)

CENTRAL PARK — THE BIG BACK YARD OF THE CITY

150 years ago these 843 acres were manually restructured from a "filthy, squalid, and disgusting" site into a work of art at the heart of Manhattan, Olmsted and Vaux's first masterpiece of urban landscape design.
 
Fast-growing, business-oriented New York City had largely ignored quality of life issues for its citizens. By the middle of the 19th century this omission had become so apparent that the city government arranged a competition for the design and creation of a great park. The winning design of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux transformed 843 acres into an educational, recreational, and horticultural marvel.
 
Highlights include:
• The Arsenal, which pre-dates the park
• Bethesda Fountain and Angel of the Waters
• The Mall and its literary figures
• The impact of Central Park on the entire nation at large
• The Metropolitan Museum of Art mistake
• Where did they get all those trees?

NORTHERN REACHES OF CENTRAL PARK

Many surprises await us just south of 110th St. The second largest lake in the park — the beautiful Harlem Meer —anchors a landscape unknown to many New Yorkers. It’s a place of open green lawns inviting strollers in from the sidewalk to enjoy the lake and paths, and the sharp outcroppings on the far side across the water. Here folks enjoy quiet fishing, hiking up the steep trails, watching turtles and birds, and learning in the Discovery Center.
 
Immediately south of the Meer is a world unto itself — the strikingly beautiful 1930s Conservatory Garden, a treasured enclave we will enter and explore. The tour also covers such historic sites as Nutter’s Batter, Fort Clinton, and the original Polo Grounds baseball stadium.
 
We will look out across Fifth Avenue and see the newest museum to join Museum Mile and evidence of the latest migration uptown.

FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

The creation of Central Park in the 1870s destined Fifth Avenue — the park’s eastern border — to become one of New York’s most elegant addresses. Great historic mansions, including those of Henry Clay Frick and James B. Duke, began to line the avenue. Much of the wealth that created this Gold Coast was earned rather than inherited.
 
Highlights include:
• The American Dream and its dark side
• American tycoons with aristocratic yearnings
• Grandiose homes and what happened to them
• Landmarked district 1 mile long

CRIMES OF FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

The American Dream and its dark side reside even on Fifth Avenue. The creation of Central Park in the 1870s destined Fifth Avenue, the park's eastern border, to become one of New York's most elegant addresses. But as the wealth moved in, so did chicanery and violence. Great historic mansions housed both perpetrators and victims, sometimes both living together.
 
Highlights include
• American tycoons with aristocratic yearnings.
• Grandiose homes and what happened in them
• Landmarked district one mile long
• Private armies, criminal intent, financial skullduggery

CENTRAL PARK WEST — ARTISTS, THE "SERVANT PROBLEM," AND THE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS

Astute landowners kept property off the market until the 1880s when new transportation opened up the neighborhood. New laws and construction techniques produced the modern apartment concept.
Real estate booms brought abrupt change to 19th century farmlands and a step up for aspiring achievers. New laws and construction techniques produced the modern apartment concept.
 
Looking much the same for the past 75 years, Central Park West includes a great variety of architectural styles —Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, French Chateauwith subtle touches of castles, temples, and cantilevered terraces.
 
Highlights include:
• A great museum once called "a disgrace to the city"
• The earliest Jewish congregation in North America
• New York's oldest museum
• A solution to "the servant problem"
• Artists, gangsters, and Rosemary's Baby

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — FROM THE BLOOMINGDALE INSANE ASYLUM TO THE ACROPOLIS OF NEW YORK

Once farmland and a battlefield, this district evolved into a center for learning, healing, and spirituality.
In the 1820's the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum started the gradual transformation of these heights from farmland to the Acropolis of learning, healing, and spirituality. Unusual for Manhattan, this neighborhood was planned and financed as a cohesive center, for mind, body, and spirit. In the 1880s, the 9th Avenue elevated train was constructed, helping to realize the plan to make this area a choice location for a places of learning, hospital, and houses of worship.
 
Highlights include:
• Morningside Park
• The Battle of Harlem Heights
• The world's largest Gothic cathedral
• New York's first college, founded in 1754
• An inter-denominational house of worship built with Rockefeller money
• Grant's Tomb — no one is buried there!


CATHEDRAL OF ST JOHN THE DIVINE — A JEWISH & SECULAR POINT OF VIEW

The world’s largest cathedral, this amazing structure reaches out beyond traditional Christian themes to include important artistic representations of Jewish and secular images.
 
Carvings of prophets in the Hebrew Bible who predicted doom,are atop basestones showing a modern-day earthquake, and the bombing of New York Windows depict Adam and Eve, Noah building the ark, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the burning bush, Jacob wrestling with the angel, Samson fighting a lion, David conquering Goliath, Solomon judging the mothers, Joseph gathering corn
 
Some of the secular images include portraits of people in:
• The arts — Rembrandt, Michelangelo
• Sports — baseball, football players
• History — Betsy Ross, Abraham Lincoln
• Science — Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison
• The Military —fliers, soldiers
• Surprisingly diverse settings, like the sinking of the Titanic

HARLEM HISTORY WALK

In the 1880s, the new elevated railroad converted Harlem from a rural district into tracts of beautiful homes for wealthy New Yorkers. By the 1920s, downtown development and the new subway changed the neighborhood into one of the nation's most famous African-American communities.
 
Highlights of the tour include:
• The birth of jazz and sites of the artistic and literary Harlem Renaissance
• Alexander Hamilton''s last home
• Strivers Row, Sugar Hill, and Hamilton Heights
• Abyssinian Baptist Church
• One of world's greatest collections dedicated to the study of black culture

JEWISH HARLEM

Harlem was once the third largest Jewish settlement in the world, after Warsaw and the Lower East Side. In the neighborhood more than 150,000 Jews listened to the great Yossele Rosenblatt chant Sabbath services and were terrified when gangsters like Lefty Louie Horowitz and Whitey Lewis fought gun battles on 125th St. They bought at Blumstein’s Department Store and saw teen-age singers Walter Winchell and George Jessel begin their careers.
 
The tour considers the following questions —
• Why did Jewish New Yorkers move to Harlem?
• What was their reception?
• How did they keep the children within the fold?
• Are any synagogues still active in Harlem?
 
Today still visible are -
• Stained-glass Stars of David
• Ten Commandments tablets
• Middle Eastern filigree
• A cornerstone that says built in “5668”
• Such vestiges of Orthodox Judaism as women’s balconies

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS AS 19TH CENTURY SUBURB: THE GENTRY ACROSS THE BRIDGE

Just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Wall Street, Brooklyn Heights is one of the most beautiful and charming in the city. It was the first district in New York to be awarded landmarks designation protection.
 
Highlights include:
• the locale of important activity in the American Revolution
• Plymouth Church—once the headquarters of Henry Ward Beecher and his Abolitionist preaching, now home to Tiffany windows
• some of the finest examples in town of 19th century townhouses
• Ebuildings where such great writers as Walt Whitman, Thomas Wolfe, Arthur Miller, and Norman Mailer have lived
• a great vantage point in town to see Manhattan’s Financial District

DUMBO — WALLED CITY OF BROOKLYN

The small Brooklyn district of DUMBO was in its industrial heyday when the Erie Canal opened and steamships carried freight to and from its waterfront. Large scale manufacturing and warehousing thrived. But in the 1920s factories started closing, and gradually the neighborhood lost its vitality.
 
In the late 1970s artists and other bohemians began settling quietly into the empty factory buildings. These residents brought a cachet to the area. Soon other creative entrepreneurs moved into the large loft spaces, and developers saw a great opportunity for new residential real estate.
 
Highlights include:
• Roofless warehouse ruins being transformed into a performance space
• A waterfront park with sculpture and a splendid view of Manhattan
• Landmarked district with train tracks embedded in Belgian block paving
• Outsized close-up views of bridge anchorages

BRIGHTON BEACH — LITTLE ODESSA BY THE SEA

A remarkable concentration of immigrants has transformed this seaside corner of Brooklyn into a Russian village.