PUBLIC WALKING TOURS NYC — Spring|Summer 2018

Just show up and discover treasures in every NYC neighborhood on any one of these guided walking tours. Bring a friend and share the fun of a sightseeing-storytelling adventure.

Given the frequent subway service interruptions on weekends, check web.mta.info/weekender for changes and closed stations.
 
» Gift certificates available for public or private tours

» Spring 2018 Public Tour Schedule available for viewing and pdf download
» Summer 2018 Public Tour Schedule available for viewing and pdf download

Roosevelt Island tram

April 29   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM HOGS AND MADMEN TO INNOVATION HOTSPOT

MEET: On Roosevelt Island, in front of the tram station. Take tram from 2nd Ave & 60th St. Manhattan; or F train subway to Roosevelt Island, then walk to the tram station near 59th St. Bridge.

Set in the middle of the East River, Roosevelt Island served as a place to pasture swine for the Dutch, and later as 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:
• The new Jacobs Technion - Cornell Institute – partnership for experimentation and innovation
• The Roosevelt Island Tramway, a picturesque & reliable transport
• Blackwell’s Farmhouse, a centuries-old residence
• Spectacular views of Manhattan

May 10   THURSDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

ALEXANDER HAMILTON IN THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT — "HOW THE SAUSAGE GETS MADE"

MEET: Trinity Church, Wall St. & Broadway.

Alexander Hamilton immigrated to British Colonial New York as a young, orphaned nobody, but quickly rose to be an influential player in the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States of America.
 
On the southern tip of Manhattan, Hamilton lived, studied, worked, and served to create a financially robust nation in good standing with the international community. Today’s Financial District was the setting for much of Hamilton’s career.
 
Highlights include
• Site of first capital of the United States
• Society of the Cincinnati
• Trinity Church, the Tory stronghold
• Hamilton’s political foes Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr
• Grave of Hamilton & Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

Gramercy Park gardens

May 13   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GENIUS AND ELEGANCE OF GRAMERCY PARK

MEET: Gramercy Park, Lexington Ave. & 21st St. 

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       

Washington Square Park

May 15   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

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

MEET: Washington Sq. Arch, Fifth Ave. 1 block south of 8th St.

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  

Grassy park land on Governer's Island

May 20   SUNDAY   12:45 to 3:30 PM

GOVERNORS ISLAND — A QUICK RIDE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE

MEET: Outside Gov. Island ferry building (light green), 10 South St. Manhattan, next to the Staten Island Ferry. Look for our yellow umbrella. Subways: #1 to South Ferry, #4, #5, or R to Bowling Green/Whitehall. G.I. ferry tickets cost $2/$1 or IDNYC card.

Governors Island is a prime piece of real estate just a short ride from Lower Manhattan with phenomenal views of the Lower Manhattan 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.  

Roosevelt Island tram

May 23   WEDNESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM HOGS AND MADMEN TO BILLION DOLLAR INNOVATION HOTSPOT

MEET: On Roosevelt Island, in front of the tram station. Take tram from 2nd Ave & 60th St. Manhattan; or F train subway to Roosevelt Island, then walk to the tram station near 59th St. Bridge.

Set in the middle of the East River, Roosevelt Island served as a place to pasture swine for the Dutch, and later as 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:
• The new Jacob Technion - Cornell Institute
• The Roosevelt Island Tramway, a picturesque & reliable transport
• Blackwell’s Farmhouse, a centuries-old residence
• Spectacular views of Manhattan

illustration Civil War in Manhattan

May 27   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN MANHATTAN

MEET: Cooper Union, between the brown Foundation Building & Cooper Triangle Park (E. 7th St., between 3rd & 4th Aves). Subways: #6, N, or R to 8th St./Astor Place.

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 battles.
 
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  

Gowanus sign a la Kentile Bklyn by Ute Zimmermann

** NEW **

June 2   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

GOWANUS—CANAL NEIGHBORHOOD WITH A HISTORY, REVIVING WITH A FLAIR

MEET: Carroll & Smith Sts., Brooklyn. Take F or G subway to Carroll St.

For almost 200 years the name "Gowanus" has been synonymous with putrid human & industrial waste. In 1911 a local politico described Gowanus Canal as, "a 5,700'-long fetid groove renowned for its sometimes awe-inspiring stench, & a near-mythic level of contamination."
 
Over the years cleaning up the canal surfaced as a necessity, so that gradual improvements raised awareness that Gowanus could become an appealing neighborhood, with a picturesque canal at its center.
 
Pioneering artists and galleries, major clean-up campaigns, and a canoe club have all contributed to the continuing rehab of Gowanus into a place good for creativity, small business, homes, restaurants, and shops promising multi-use neighborhood.
 
Highlights include
• Lavender Lake & Black Mayonnaise
• Al Capone
• Bonnano Crime Family
• Deadly swamp in the American Revolution
• Gowanus Souvenir store (gowanussouvenir.com )
• Batcave art center

Roosevelt Island tram

June 7   THURSDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM HOGS AND MADMEN TO BILLION DOLLAR INNOVATION HOTSPOT

MEET: On Roosevelt Island, in front of the tram station. Take tram from 2nd Ave & 60th St. Manhattan; or F train subway, or East River Ferry to Roosevelt Island, then walk to the tram station near the Queensboro Bridge.

Set in the middle of the East River, Roosevelt Island served as a place to pasture swine for the Dutch, and later as 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:
• The new Jacobs Technion - Cornell Institute – partnership for experimentation and innovation
• The Roosevelt Island Tramway, a picturesque & reliable transport
• Blackwell’s Farmhouse, a centuries-old residence
• Spectacular views of Manhattan

Gramercy Park gardens

June 10   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GENIUS AND ELEGANCE OF GRAMERCY PARK

MEET: Gramercy Park, Lexington Ave. & 21st St. 

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       

illustration Civil War in Manhattan

June 12   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN MANHATTAN

MEET: Cooper Union, the brown Foundation Building entrance at the south end the building (7 E. 7th St., between 3rd & 4th Aves). Subways: #6, N, or R to 8th St./Astor Place.

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 battles.
 
Highlights include:
• Abraham Lincoln, the candidate and president
• Horace 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  

Alexander Hamilton statue

June 17   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

ALEXANDER HAMILTON IN THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT — "HOW THE SAUSAGE GETS MADE"

MEET: Trinity Church, Wall St. & Broadway.

Alexander Hamilton immigrated to British Colonial New York as a young, orphaned nobody, but quickly rose to be an influential player in the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States of America.
 
On the southern tip of Manhattan, Hamilton lived, studied, worked, and served to create a financially robust nation in good standing with the international community. Today’s Financial District was the setting for much of Hamilton’s career.
 
Highlights include
• Site of first capital of the United States
• Society of the Cincinnati
• Trinity Church, the Tory stronghold
• Hamilton’s political foes Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr
• Grave of Hamilton & Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

June 20   WEDNESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

TRIBECA — CREATIVELY RESTORED NEIGHBORHOOD WITH AN INDUSTRIAL STREETSCAPE

MEET: Duane Park, at Duane & Hudson Sts. Subway: #1, #2, or #3 to Chambers St.; walk north on Hudson St. for 2 blocks.

Tribeca’s industrial past remains visible in its cast iron buildings & raised loading docks. Although reconfigured into residential lofts and hotspots of food, film, and design, these industrial buildings facing Belgian block streets retain the character of their original use. This historic district was once a great estate. In the late 19th century wholesale distribution businesses organized in the area, a center for meat and produce, cheese, butter & eggs, and huge warehouses.
 
Highlights include
• Architectural mix of Harrison St
• Hudson Street property line
• Vauxhall Gardens now Washington Market Park
• Tribeca Film Festival

Mrs. Cornelia Ward Hall, by Michele Gordigiani (1835-1909)

** NEW **

June 23   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GILDED AGE — THE INTENSELY RICH AND SOCIALLY MOBILE IN AN ERA OF CONSOLIDATED CORRUPTION

MEET: 78th Street & Madison Avenue, southeast corner

Rivalry between "old money" & "new money" filled the gossip pages of the Gilded Age newspapers. Old money dated from Dutch & British colonial times; new money flowed from the industrialization beginning with the Civil War.
 
Between 78th Street and 92nd Street, Fifth Avenue still has a concentration of formidable Gilded Age mansions. The industrial age moguls who built these city chateaux were vying to outdo one another & flaunting their wealth & worthiness for all to see. Women of the new-monied class competed for social standing with clothing, parties, and aristocratic connections.
 
Highlights of the tour:
• "Vanderbilts, Astors, and Guggenheims
• "Poor little rich girl"
• Architectural masterpieces by C.P.H.Gilbert, Stanford White and Richard Morris Hunt
• "Dollar princesses"
• The Age of Shoddy
• H.M.S. Titanic

Harlem Cotton club

July 1   SUNDAY   1 to 3:30 PM

HARLEM HISTORY WALK

MEET: City College, 138th St. & Amsterdam Ave. Take #1 subway to 137th St. station; go to 138th St. & walk 1 block up the 138th St. hill.

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:
•  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  

Washington Square Park

July 7   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

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

MEET: Washington Sq. Arch, Fifth Ave. 1 block south of 8th St.

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  

illustration Civil War in Manhattan

July 15   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN MANHATTAN

MEET: Cooper Union, the brown Foundation Building entrance at the south end the building (7 E. 7th St., between 3rd & 4th Aves). Subways: #6, N, or R to 8th St./Astor Place.

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 battles.
 
Highlights include:
• Abraham Lincoln, the candidate and president
• Horace 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  

Roosevelt Island tram

July 21   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM HOGS AND MADMEN TO BILLION DOLLAR INNOVATION HOTSPOT

MEET: On Roosevelt Island, in front of the tram station. Take tram from 2nd Ave & 60th St. Manhattan; or F train subway, or East River Ferry to Roosevelt Island, then walk to the tram station near the Queensboro Bridge.

Set in the middle of the East River, Roosevelt Island served as a place to pasture swine for the Dutch, and later as 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:
• The new Jacobs Technion - Cornell Institute – partnership for experimentation and innovation
• The Roosevelt Island Tramway, a picturesque & reliable transport
• Blackwell’s Farmhouse, a centuries-old residence
• Spectacular views of Manhattan

Mrs. Cornelia Ward Hall, by Michele Gordigiani (1835-1909)

** NEW **

July 29   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GILDED AGE — THE INTENSELY RICH AND SOCIALLY MOBILE IN AN ERA OF CONSOLIDATED CORRUPTION

MEET: 78th Street & Madison Avenue, southeast corner

Rivalry between "old money" & "new money" filled the gossip pages of the Gilded Age newspapers. Old money dated from Dutch & British colonial times; new money flowed from the industrialization beginning with the Civil War.
 
Between 78th Street and 92nd Street, Fifth Avenue still has a concentration of formidable Gilded Age mansions. The industrial age moguls who built these city chateaux were vying to outdo one another & flaunting their wealth & worthiness for all to see. Women of the new-monied class competed for social standing with clothing, parties, and aristocratic connections.
 
Highlights of the tour:
• "Vanderbilts, Astors, and Guggenheims
• "Poor little rich girl"
• Architectural masterpieces by C.P.H.Gilbert, Stanford White and Richard Morris Hunt
• "Dollar princesses"
• The Age of Shoddy
• H.M.S. Titanic

West Village

August 4   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE INTIMATE WEST VILLAGE WITH ITS SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT PARK

MEET: Leroy St. & Seventh Ave. So. southwest corner. Take #1 subway to Houston St.; walk 2 blocks north on Seventh Ave. South.  

The West Village is a 19th century preserve with its concealed-yet-open garden, complex web of streets, and a house 9½ feet wide. Classic 19th century 3-story townhouses set the stage. This is a community neighborhood of quirky angled streets with literary hang-outs, European-style coffeehouses, and Off-Broadway theatres — the quintessential American Bohemia. Its sites inspired Edgar Allan Poe's “The Raven”, and O. Henry's “The Last Leaf.”
 
But one block west of its border, the neighborhood changes abruptly. Gone are the run-down remains of a waterfront commerce — transient hotels, cheap bars, and old factories. Now new tall glass-covered buildings rise up 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.

 
5th Ave Mansions

August 12   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

MEET: The Frick Collection, 1 E. 70th St. between Fifth & Madison Aves.

Tycoons, Central Park, and great mansions created the New York avenue “paved with gold.” 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  

Historic illustration of old new york

August 19   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

GANGS OF NEW YORK AND THE BLOODY FIVE POINTS

MEET: The Bowery & Bayard St. (1 block south of Canal St.) northwest corner at Bank of America.

Just east of today's City Hall and Municipal Building, this was once a foul-smelling, disease-ridden district. Brought to life in the movie Gangs of New York, it was a place of violence, gang wars, poverty, and corruption. The district evokes such places of notoriety as Paradise Square, Cow Bay, Bottle Alley, and such gangs as the Roach Guards, Plug Uglies, Shirt Tails, Dead Rabbits.
 
Highlights include:
•  Five Points visitors — Davy Crockett, Charles Dickens, and Abraham Lincoln
•  A Five Points success story - Al Smith - Tammany Hall protégé, state governor, presidential candidate
•  The oldest Jewish graveyard in North America
•  The Roman Catholic church with Anglican, Cuban, Irish, Italian, Chinese, and Buddhist history  

Private custom tours are always available, beginning at $295 for up to 6 people.