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 of 2002. It remains a subdued but informative encounter with the site: an opportunity to view the ongoing construction of the Freedom Tower, the Winter Garden with its fountains in place of the former Twin Towers, and to view the FDNY 9/11 Memorial Walla 56-foot-long bronze sculpture on the side of the Ten House Fire Station. More upbeat excursions include one to the Statue of Liberty and another to Central Park.
Schedule: Check Website for details.
Reservations: Not required, but advance purchase recommended.
Duration: 3-3.5 hours.
Cost:$29; children $19; Statue of Liberty $49; children $39 (includes admission).
NYC Discovery Walking Tours
With 75 itineraries, NYC Walking Tours prides itself on offering Manhattan’s largest selection. Choices range from a pre-marathon look at Central Park 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.
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost: $20–$26 (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 and the New School. 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: Fri.-Sun. at 1 p.m.; check Website for schedule.
Reservations: Not required.
Duration: 2–2.5 hours. Private tours also available.
Cost: $18; 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 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.
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost:$18; seniors, full-time students, and members of the New-York Historical Society $15. Additional charge of $5 per person for the Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour.