Walk This Way

Photo: Courtesy of Food Tours of New York

First-Timers | Return Visitors | Budding Gothamites | NYC Insiders


Guided Sightseeing and Walking Tours with NYCVP
877-692-8747; nyctrip.com.
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 Libertyand 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
Reservations: Required.
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost: $20–$28 (tasting tours include food).

Joyce Gold History Tours of New York
212-242-5762; joycegoldhistorytours.com
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
888-606-WALK; bigonion.com
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.

First-Timers | Return Visitors | Budding Gothamites | NYC Insiders


Ghosts of New York Walking Tours
646-493-7092; ghostsofny.com.
New York City Walking Tours, helmed by CUNY professor Phil Schoenberg, specializes in the ghosts of Gotham’s past. Led by costumed performers impersonating local historical figures, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Mrs. Peter Stuyvesant, these spirited forays into yesteryear have been known to focus on well-documented paranormal phenomena in Washington Square Park (a onetime Potter’s Field) and an NYU dorm supposedly frequented by the late Edgar Allan Poe.
Schedule: Weekly; check website for details.
Reservations: Recommended.
Duration: 90 minutes.
Cost: $20; seniors, students $15.

Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl
212-613-5796; literarypubcrawl.com.
Actors from the Bakerloo Theatre Project ply visitors with pints at the White Horse Tavern, Kettle of Fish, and other noteworthy pubs while filling their heads with lore about Village scribes Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dylan Thomas. One warning: If you don’t pace yourself on this boozy stroll, you might not remember much literary history.
Schedule: Sat. 1 p.m., meet at the White Horse Tavern; Sun. 1 p.m., meet at Henry Street Ale House in Brooklyn.
Reservations: Recommended.
Duration: 3 hours.
Cost:$20; seniors, students $15.

Harlem, Your Way!
212-690-1687; harlemyourwaytoursunlimited.com.
Based in an 1882 brownstone on 130th Street, Harlem, Your Way! takes pride in local history by hitting legendary sites like the Apollo Theater, or Harlem cabaret clubs on the boozy Champagne Jazz Safari. On Sunday, the Gospel Tour invites participants to drop in for a music-filled service at a neighborhood church.
Schedule: Daily; check website for details.
Reservations: Required.
Duration: 2–3 hours.
Cost: $25–$75.

First-Timers | Return Visitors | Budding Gothamites | NYC Insiders


Central Park Conservancy
212-310-6600; centralparknyc.org.
These informative tours of Central Park attract both out-of-towners and Manhattanites looking for the truth behind urban legends such as that unconfirmed story about Robert Moses banishing the sheep from Sheep Meadow after they made him late. Tours spotlight iconic landmarks like Bethesda Fountain as well as less-traveled areas via the Ramble Tour.
Schedule: Daily; check website for details.
Reservations: Recommended for ticketed tours.
Duration: 45 minutes–1.5 hours.
Cost: Free for introductory tours; $15 for ticketed specialty tours; $150 for a private tour with a conservancy guide for one to ten people.

Shop Gotham
212-209-3370; shopgotham.com.
Out-of-town fashionistas flip for these no-holds-barred sprees that take visitors directly to the day’s hard-to-find sample sales and chic, celeb-frequented boutiques. On the Garment Center tour, shoppers visit wholesale showrooms in the West 30s and receive exclusive discounts on desirables like handbags and fragrances.
Schedule: Check website for details.
Reservations: Recommended.
Duration: 2.5–3 hours.
Cost: $38–$64, plus $2 ticket charge.

The Chocolate Tour of New York
Start at Chelsea Market and indulge in seven decadent tastings, from mocha truffles at Li-Lac Chocolates (Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house) to Bisous Ciao’s delicate macaroons and Xocolatti’s mango paprika slate. The tour ends at Vosges Haut-Chocolat with a spicy selection of designer chocolates (like ginger, hemp seed, and wasabi).
Schedule: Fri.–Sun; check website for details.
Reservations: Required.
Duration: 2 hours.

Food Tours of New York
212-209-3370; foodsofny.com
If your ideal souvenir is a bottle of cold-pressed olive oil rather than a foam Lady Liberty visor, sign up for one of Todd Lefkovic’s culinary jaunts through Greenwich Village, downtown Brooklyn, Chinatown, Nolita, or Chelsea. Food-loving raconteurs steer clear of tourist traps like Magnolia Bakery and treat participants instead to arancini from 107-year-old Faicco’sand Sicilian slices from Joe’s Pizza.
Schedule: Daily; check website for details.
Reservations: Required.
Duration: 3 hours.
Cost: $52–$125.

Municipal Art Society of New York
212-935-3960; mas.org.
Noted architects, designers, and scholars lead urban-planning buffs to some of the city’s best constructed landmarks. You’ll see Grand Central Station with new eyes after touring it with architectural historian Francis Morrone. Many tours have tie-ins with exhibitions, such as the Whitney Museum’s “Hopper Drawing” show, which has a complementary tour here.
Schedule: Daily; check website for details.
Reservations: Not required.
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost:$20; $15 for MAS members.

First-Timers | Return Visitors | Budding Gothamites | NYC Insiders


Rock Junket New York City
212-209-3370; rockjunket.com.
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: Tue.-Thu., Sat.-Sun; call for details.
Reservations: Required.
Duration: 2 hours.
Cost: $35, plus $2 ticket charge.

Jewish Chassidic Walking Tours
718-953-5244; jewishtours.com.
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-19th-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: Check website for details.
Reservations: Required.
Duration: 3 hours.
Cost: $49.99; seniors, students $48; teens under 16 $48; children under 12 $24.99; infants free.

212-330-7686; shorewalkers.org.
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 Green-Wood Cemetery, a Triboro to Queensboro bridge walk (ending with lunch in Astoria Park), and a Crack Is Wack: Graffiti tour. 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, check website for details

Wild Food Tours
914-835-2153; wildmanstevebrill.com.
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 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. Call 914-835-2153.
Duration: 4 hours.
Cost: Suggested donation $20, $10 for children under 12.

SEE ALSO: NY Newbie’s Itinerary Bus and Boat Tours Video: Architectural Tour of the Financial District Video: The Real New Yorker’s Central Park

Walk This Way