From the pastoral serenity of Central Park to gritty back streets of Chinatown, this tour covers it all.
From the pastoral serenity of Central Park to the gritty back streets of Chinatown, this tour covers it all. The Big Apple Tour is for people that truly want the full perspective of all New York City has to offer.
Together we will discuss the transformation of a neighborhood that began with horse stables, carriage makers and slaughterhouses, and is now the worlds epicenter of theater and media. Before 1904 the area we know as Times Square was actually called Long Acre Square. But that was all about to change when the New York Times moved its offices into the neighborhood and convinced local politicians to build a subway stop in the area and change its name to Times Square. They held a big public celebration on December 31st 1904 to welcome them selves into the neighborhood and that was the beginning of our annual New Years Eve gathering. Throughout the 1970's Times Square sank into total disarray. The streets were lined with prostitution, pimps, and drug dealers. The great old theatres had given way to the pornography industry and Kung Fu movies. It was not a safe place to live as well visit. It was in the 1990's that mayor Rudolph Giuliani began his quest to enforce strict drug laws and rid Times Square of the pornography industry. This was a great incentive for new investment in the area. In 1992 The Disney Corporation invested 36 million dollars in restoring the New Amsterdam Theatre, which began the transformation of the new Times Square. Today there are roughly 33 Broadway theaters open, hundreds of high-end hotels and major broadcasting networks studios that attract tourists from all over the world.
Where swampy marshlands and a few scattered shantytowns once stood, today stands one of the greatest landscape projects ever. We will explore the great democratic landscape that Calvert Vaux and Fredrick Law Olmstead believed would transcend class, relieve the stress of physical congestion, and deliver New York to it's international status it deserved. Sites can include: Strawberry Fields and The Dakota, Bethesda Fountain, Bethesda Terrace, The Rambles, The Mall, Sheep's Meadow, and the site of the Rocking Chair Riots.
For years Greenwich Village has been home to bohemians, musicians, novelists, poets, play writers and the overall counter culture of New York City. A stroll down Grove Street is one of my favorite walks in New York City. The 19th century brownstones, the tree lined blocks and the old jazz clubs reminds you that New York City is not all skyscrapers and business offices. Sites can include: The Friend's TV show building, Marie's Crisis (The site of Thomas Pain's Death), Arthur's Tavern Jazz Club where Charlie Parker played, Emma Goldman's residence, Grove Court, Chumley's Restaurant, and other sites which reference Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor, Bette Midler, Hart Crane, O' Henry, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and much more.
As one stands in Washington Square Park amongst the hustle and bustle of New York University students running to classes, the hippies sitting in the grass playing Bob Dylan songs on their acoustic guitars, the chess players planning their next moves and the amazing street performers, it is hard to imagine that beneath your feet lies about 20,000 thousand burials from the yellow fever epidemics from the 18th and 19th century. A burial ground, a dueling and execution ground under British rule and the epicenter of the folk movement in the 1960's, Washington Square Park's history is as diverse as the people who hang out there. Sites can include: The Row Houses, Edith Wharton's home, Henry James Home, Will Smith's Home from "I am Legend," The Washington Memorial Arch, The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory, Scenes from " When Harry Met Sally," and much more.
From the industrial days of the rag trade industry, to an affordable artist community, and now one of the most expensive residential and shopping neighborhoods, Soho has seen it all. We'll explore the transformation of this neighborhood and it's collection of cast iron building that makes Soho so unique. Sites can include: The Haughwhout Building, The Old Police Headquarters, Heath Ledgers last home, and of course all the great shops and boutiques.
With the expansion of Chinatown, Little Italy has dwindled down to just a few blocks, but it's rich history and culture can still be discovered in New York City. Before the unification of southern Italy in 1861, Italians were forbidden to emigrate. In 1861 this all changed and Italians from southern Italy made the journey to the United States in search of work. This was one solution for the unemployment problem of the Italian government. Italians would come to United States to earn a living and send money back home to their suffering families. Some settled in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and Massachusetts, but thousands settled in lower Manhattan. Sites can include: The Stabile Bank, Church of the Transfiguration, Old Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Ferrara's, and much more.
Although the Chinese presence in New York can be traced back to 1784, it was the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 and the reformation of the immigration laws in 1965 that opened the floodgates. Walking through Chinatown is the next best thing to visiting Beijing. The true sense of the term "cultural melting pot" can be experienced as you walk through Chinatown. Fresh fish flopping around on ice, live frogs in large plastic bins, the sounds of Mandarin and Cantonese conversations, will make you feel as if you have left the country. As well as experiencing the rich cultural traditions of the Chinese we will also take a peak into the dark underworld of Chinese gang life. Other sites include: The markets on Mott Street, The CCBA, Port Arthur's Restaurant, Pell Street, Joe's Shanghai, The Bloody Angle and more.
Wall Street has so much history that one could spend a whole day just touring this street itself. It was in 1653 that Peter Stuyvesant built his wall to keep out the encroaching English and the Indians. But since then Wall Street has been home to some of the most important moments in US history. From the swearing in of George Washington as our first president to the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement, which formed the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Streets rich history will transport you back in time. Sites can include: Federal Hall National Memorial, The New York Stock Exchange, The old Bank of Manhattan Building, Trinity Church, and much more.
No matter where you were, no one will forget the horrific tragedy of 911. Together we will share our stories and discuss the new plans for the site. We will also visit Saint Paul's Chapel, which was the base for the rescue workers during their heroic efforts to search for survivors and clear the debris. Sites can include: Saint Paul's Chapel, The World Financial Center, The Firemen's Memorial, and much more.
In 1928 John D Rockefeller leased this plot of land from Columbia University to build a new home for The Metropolitan Opera. When the stock market crashed in 1929 most of Rockefeller's investors pulled out, leaving him alone with his newly leased empty land. Most men would have crumbled under such circumstances, but Rockefeller was not like most men. Instead he decided to go it alone and build the worlds largest business and entertainment complex, minus the Metropolitan Opera House. Today, on its 22 acres of land sits 19 art deco buildings, the most famous being the GE Building, formerly the RCA Building. It is home to NBC Studios where Saturday Night Live is filmed, The Conan O'Brian Show, The Today Show and 30 Rock to name a few. Every year millions of tourists come to gaze at the famed Rockefeller Christmas Tree and to Ice Skate on the notorious rink. One could also spend days exploring the magnificent public art that adorns the site. It is hard to imagine that from 1801-1811 that this was site of Elgin's Botanical Gardens where famed explorers Lewis & Clark brought back much of their unidentified plant life. Sites will include: The GE Building, The Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink, Radio City Music Hall, Paul Manship's Prometheus, The Plaza of the Today Show, NBC Studios, and much more.
Consecrated in 1879, James Renwick's mind blowing gothic cathedral was an incredibly bold statement when it was proposed. To be building a Roman Catholic Cathedral in a primarily protestant city was considered heresy at this time. Bishop John Hughes moved forward with his plans in spite of much anti catholic bigotry. Because of financial hardships and the loss of labor during the civil war, it took over 20 years for her doors to finally open. It was finally dedicated on May 25th of 1879. Robert F Kennedy's funeral services were held here as well as Babe Ruth, Billy Martin, and many of the firemen that perished on 911. It has been visited by Pope John Paul the second, and the current Pope Benedict. The famed writer F. Scott's Fitzgerald was married here as well. Walking into Saint Patrick's Cathedral off the frenetic streets of New York City is an awe-inspiring moment.
|Start Time||Recommended start time of 10:00 am|
1 - 4 guests: $400 total
5 - 8 guests: $450 total
9 - 12 guests: $500 total
For larger groups email for price plan
|Meeting Location||Your guide can meet you at the concierge desk of your hotel if staying in Manhattan.|
If you want to be dropped off back at your hotel after your tour please let your guide know at the beginning of the tour. Please know that this may cut into tour time so please advise your guide on what sites are most important to you. Otherwise your guide will assist you with directions to get back to your hotel.
Our tours are done by subway and walking so if you have any serious mobility issues please let us know ahead of time so we can discuss an itinerary and other options that are available to you.
Real New York Tours goes out in rain, snow or shine. We do have indoor options sites we can visit on bad weather days. This will lessen (not eliminate) the amount of outside time we spend in bad weather. Real New York Tours does reserve the option to cancel a tour if we think the weather could be hazardous. If you want to cancel your tour because of bad weather or for any other reason we require a 48 hour notice and you will not be charged. So please do keep a close watch on the weekly weather report.
Please note that we do our best to see all sites listed but itinerary is subject to change at the guide's discretion due to the pace of the group, weather or transit issues. If you have further questions about this please give us a call.