TOURS FOR NYC INSIDERS
Rock Junket New York City
Bobby Pinn (real name: Ron Colinear) quit his job as a record-company exec to devote his full attention to this company. Today, the onetime Tower Records clerk explores the musical heritage of the West Village, Union Square, and other parts of NYC. The most popular of his offerings is his East Village jaunt, which pays homage to Joey Ramone’s East 9th Street pad, the apartment building that graced the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, and the now-defunct CBGB.
Schedule: Daily, check Website for details.
Duration: 2 hours.
Jewish Chassidic Walking Tours
The Chassidic Discovery Welcome Center sponsors walking tours of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, home to the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic Jewish movement’s headquarters. You’re unlikely to get a more personal look inside this culture than a stop at the Chabad rebbe’s private library, stocked with ancient manuscripts, religious articles, and a late-nineteenth-century clock that calculates months according to the moon. Visitors also see Torah scrolls being made by quill and parchment, then nosh on a kosher deli lunch.
Schedule: Sun. (except Jewish holidays)-Fri., 10 a.m.–1 p.m.; call for information about tours specifically for Jewish school groups and organizations.
Duration: 3 hours.
Cost: $39; 12 and under $19.50.
In addition to advocating for preservation of the state’s shoreline habitats, this nonprofit group holds more than 100 different weekend day hikes along rivers, lakes, and bays throughout the metropolitan area. Walks include Three Lakes, Three Parks in Queens (ending with a dim-sum feast in Flushing), and Gowanus Canal—Jewel of Brooklyn. All of it’s reachable without a car. On Thanksgiving Day, the group holds its annual W.O.T.T. (Walk Off the Turkey) along the Hudson, from the Staten Island Ferry to the historic Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge.
Schedule: Weekends, check Website for details.
Reservations: Not required.
Duration: 3–8 hours, depending on length of the hike.
Cost: Free for members, $3 contribution for nonmembers, plus train or subway fare to return to Manhattan.
Wild Food Tours
The idea of eating anything grown in Central Park may seem horrifying, but naturalist “Wildman” Steve Brill leads ecology tours that encourage you to do just that. Spend the afternoon foraging in the park for edible plants, like wild raisins, honey mushrooms, and black walnuts. If you’re looking for more variety, he also leads tours in Connecticut, New Jersey, and throughout the five boroughs—wherever the hunting’s best.
Schedule: Weekends only; check Website for details.
Reservations: Required, at least 24 hours in advance.
Duration: 4 hours.
Cost: Suggested donation $12.