TOURS FOR FIRST-TIMERS
Guided Sightseeing and Walking Tours with NYCVP
New York City Vacation Packages started arranging informal tours of ground zero in January 2002 and now brings visitors to the National 9/11 Memorial, as well as other downtown icons along Wall Street. More upbeat excursions include one to the Statue of Liberty and another to Central Park movie sites.
Schedule: Check website for details.
Reservations: Not required, but advance purchase recommended.
Duration: 3–3.5 hours.
Cost: Starting at $25.
NYC Discovery Walking Tours
With 100 itineraries, NYC Discovery prides itself on offering Manhattan’s largest selection. Choices range from areas like Central Park, to Civil War NY and Titanic, to a Taste of Chinatown (dim sum and green-tea ice cream) or Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill (egg creams and spinach pie). Guides emphasize quirky stuff, like the specific subway grate where Marilyn Monroe flashed her gams in The Seven Year Itch. Special holiday tours are also offered.
Schedule: Call for details. Private and public tours available
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost: $20–$28 (tasting tours include food).
Joyce Gold History Tours of New York
If you ask the concierge at the Four Seasons for a walking-tour recommendation, you’ll be directed to Joyce Gold, a 30-year vet of street-talking who teaches history at NYU. Need further credentials? Joyce was once praised by the Hollywood Reporter for “her ability to make the earliest Dutch settlement sound like a gripping miniseries.”
Schedule: Wed., Sat.-Sun.; check website for times. Private tours also available.
Reservations: Not required.
Duration: 2–2.5 hours. Private tours also available.
Cost: $20; seniors (62+) $15.
Big Onion Walking Tours
Seth Kamil’s fleet of wisecracking Ph.D. candidates (most studying history) lead well-attended daily excursions around town. On the Lower East Side, you’ve got the Organic Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour; for a greater scope of downtown, there’s the “Official” Gangs of New York Tour, endorsed by none other than Martin Scorsese.
Schedule: Daily; check website for details. Private tours also available.
Reservations: Recommended. Required for Organic Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour.
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost:$20; seniors, full-time students, and members of the Brooklyn Historical Society $15. Additional charge of $5 per person for the Organic Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour.