For those looking to explore the iconic sites of Midtown and Central Park, this ones for you.
What sits on 48 acres of land, or if you prefer 2,090,880 square feet, has over 33 miles of tracks, 44 platforms, and serves roughly 625,000 people per day, has 103 retail business, serves about 10,000 meals a day, and has about 19,000 items in its lost and found? Yep, that's right Grand Central Terminal. Completed in 1913, this Beaux Art beauty really is quite the modern marvel. Sites can include: the Whispering Walls, Warren, Helleu, and Basing's constellation ceiling, The Grand Central Market, The Oyster Bar, and much more.
Together we will dscuss 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.
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.
Once known as "millionaires row" in the mid 19th century, the stretch of land between 51street and 59th street was home to some of the wealthiest New Yorkers. Some of the elegant shops that line this stretch of 5th avenue today were once single-family mansions belonging to the likes of the Vanderbilt's and Morton Plant. Sites can include: Cartier Building, Versace Building, Bergdorf's, Trump Towers, The Plaza Hotel and much more.
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.
|Start Time||Recommended start time: 10:00am or 2:00pm|
1 - 4 guests: $250 total
5 - 8 guests: $300 total
9 - 12 guests: $350 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 midtown 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.