PUBLIC WALKING TOURS SCHEDULE — Summer / Fall 2017

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.

Looking for a customized tour? Private, specialized and event tours are available all year long starting at $275 for up to 6 people.
 
» Gift certificates available for public or private tours

» Fall 2017 Public Tour Schedule available for viewing and pdf download.
 

Washington Square Park

August 13   SUNDAY   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  

West Village

August 20   SUNDAY   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.

 
Harlem Cotton club

Sept. 10   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  

Grassy park land on Governer's Island

Sept. 17   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.  

** NEW **

Sept. 24   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

YORKVILLE AND THE UPPER EAST SIDE — THE MIDDLE EUROPEAN CITY

MEET: 72nd St. & Second Avenue, northeast corner.

In the 1840s immigrants from the present Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary came to America fleeing inflation, mass uprisings, and government repression. By the late 1860s two German entrepreneurs, Jacob Ruppert and George Ehret, built breweries in rural Yorkville near the East River. As people moved uptown for the brewery jobs, houses of worship, cultural centers, and commercial establishments arose.
 
The neighborhood today has elements of a Middle European city, Vanderbilt money, Tammany control, and the Progressive movement. Today the new Second Avenue subway makes the entire neighborhood more accessible to all.
 
Highlights include:
• Bohemian National Hall, active since 1897
• St. Stephen of Hungary
• “Sauerkraut Boulevard”
• Budapest Café
• Deutsche Evangelische Kirche von Yorkville
• Cherokee Apartments

West Village

Sept. 26   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

THE INTIMATE WEST VILLAGE WITH ITS SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT PARK

MEET: Leroy St. & 7th Ave. So. southwest corner. Subway: #1 to Houston St., walk 2 blocks north on 7th 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, 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 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.

 
Roosevelt Island

Oct. 1   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM HOGS AND MADMEN TO INNOVATION HOTSPOT

MEET: On Roosevelt Island at 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:
• 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
• Spectacular views of Manhattan

Historic illustration of old new york

Oct. 7   SATURDAY   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 was 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  

Oct. 12   THURSDAY   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

Roosevelt Island

Oct. 20   FRIDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — FROM HOGS AND MADMEN TO INNOVATION HOTSPOT

MEET: On Roosevelt Island at 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:
• 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
• Spectacular views of Manhattan

** NEW **

Oct. 22   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

YORKVILLE AND THE UPPER EAST SIDE — THE MIDDLE EUROPEAN CITY

MEET: 72nd St. & Second Avenue, northeast corner.

In the 1840s immigrants from the present Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary came to America fleeing inflation, mass uprisings, and government repression. By the late 1860s two German entrepreneurs, Jacob Ruppert and George Ehret, built breweries in rural Yorkville near the East River. As people moved uptown for the brewery jobs, houses of worship, cultural centers, and commercial establishments arose.
 
The neighborhood today has elements of a Middle European city, Vanderbilt money, Tammany control, and the Progressive movement. Today the new Second Avenue subway makes the entire neighborhood more accessible to all.
 
Highlights include:
• Bohemian National Hall, active since 1897
• St. Stephen of Hungary
• “Sauerkraut Boulevard”
• Budapest Café
• Deutsche Evangelische Kirche von Yorkville
• Cherokee Apartments

Greenwich Village Ghost

Oct. 28   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

MACABRE GREENWICH VILLAGE

MEET: Washington Sq. Arch, 5th Ave. 1 block south of 8th St.

Celebrate the Halloween season with 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  

Civil War

Nov. 5   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 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  

Hamilton

Nov. 12   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

Washington Square Park

Nov. 18   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  

5th Ave Mansions

Dec. 2   SATURDAY   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  

exterior of Grand Central Terminal NYC

Dec. 10   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL — “CROSSROADS OF A MILLION PRIVATE LIVES”

MEET: Just inside GCT entrance at E. 42nd St. under the Park Ave. viaduct.

New York’s monument to movement, Grand Central Terminal opened over 100 years ago and it remains one of great architectural beauties of the city. The dramatic structure is a thrilling symbol of the fast-expanding commercial and intellectual reach of what was becoming the greatest city in the U.S.
 
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  

Jewish Harlem

Dec. 17   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

JEWISH HARLEM

MEET: NYS Office Building Plaza, W. 125th St. & Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. (Seventh Ave). Take #2 or #3 subway to 125th St.

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?

Our public tours will resume in March 2018.

Private custom tours are always available, beginning at $275 for up to 6 people.