SCHEDULED PUBLIC WALKING TOURS NYC - 2024

Just show up and discover treasures in every NYC neighborhood on any one of these guided walking tours. Bring a friend and share the fun of a sightseeing-storytelling adventure.

» Gift certificates available for public or private tours

Joyce Gold with a walking tour group
  • Joyce Gold leads all public walking tours.
  • Tour duration is noted next to each tour listing
  • No reservations are needed
  • Fee is $30 per person; $25 for seniors 62+

Private tours are always available.

Our Scheduled Public Tours usually run rain or shine. However, if very bad weather is predicted, phone 212-242-5762 after 12 noon the day before the tour to see if the tour is on.

Check the status of your subway, see web.mta.info/weekender for changes and closed stations.

Historic photograph of the Ansonia.

May 25   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

FAR WEST 70s — THE APTHORP, THE ANSONIA, AND MASONIC SYMBOLISM

MEET: 160 W. 71st St. just east of Broadway.

The far West 70s of the Upper West Side long exhibited a pull between opposing identities.
• It sported imposing mansions, many of which were later converted into rooming houses.
• It offered beautiful Hudson River vistas, which vied with saloons, coal yards, and smoke from steam railroads along the river.
• A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt graces Riverside Park 1 ½ miles from where her alcoholic father died.
• The center of America’s drug addiction in the 1970’s bumped up against apartments of America’s cultural icons.
• Developers changed street names to raise the neighborhood image, but impressive real estate was rejected for being on the “wrong side of Central Park”.
 
Highlights include a statue built to inspire young Italian-Americans, residences by some of New York’s most illustrious architects, and a neighborhood that has taken hold of its identity to be a much sought-after residential enclave.
 

illustration Civil War soldiers in Manhattan

June 1   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN NEW YORK

MEET: Cooper Union, at the south end of the brown Foundation Building. (7 E. 7th St., btw 3rd & 4th Aves.) Subways: #6, N, or R to 8th St./Astor Place.

As the inevitability of the Civil War increased, New York faced conflicts within its varied population. Family connections with the South brought personal strife for some. Business interests dreaded the potential loss of Southern markets for finished goods. Ever-present ethnic and class tensions increased and erupted.
 
Once war was declared, New York supported the Northern cause. NYC industries—banking, shipbuilding, medical supplies, and garment manufacturing—rapidly grew to meet the demands of the Union war effort. Women joined together to raise funds to support the US Sanitary Commission, forerunner of the American Red Cross. By the war’s end the city’s growth in wealth and influence put it near par with London and Paris.
 
Highlights include:
• Abraham Lincoln, the candidate and president
• Newspaper publishing and Horace Greeley, the abolitionist editor
• Confederate plot to burn down New York
• Draft Riots
• New York shipbuilding and The Monitor  

Historic photograph of the Ansonia.

June 4   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

FAR WEST 70s — THE APTHORP, THE ANSONIA, AND MASONIC SYMBOLISM

MEET: 160 W. 71st St. just east of Broadway.

The far West 70s of the Upper West Side long has exhibited a pull between opposing identities. It sported imposing mansions, many of which were later converted into ordinary rooming houses. Along the Hudson River, it offered beautiful vistas, but the views were marred by saloons, coal yards, and smoke from steam railroads.
 
In the 1880’s, developers pressed city officials to raise the neighborhood’s image by changing numbered avenues - from 8thAve to 11th Ave. – to Central Park West to West End Ave. Along Broadway, great apartment houses by prestigious architects sprang up and attracted upwardly mobile middle class families. Nevertheless, the west side can still be rejected for being on the “wrong side of Central Park”.
 
Highlights include:
• Riverside Park and Riverside Drive
• Ira and George Gershwin
• Rivalry between Freemasons and Shriners
• Contemplative statue of Eleanor Roosevelt (the 4th of only 6 statues of a real women in Manhattan)
• Home of Miles Davis & Cecily Tyson
 

portrait of Evelyn Nesbit.

June 12   WEDNESDAY  11 AM to 1 PM

NOMAD — NAUGHTY AND NICE WITH WORLD-CLASS PARK WHERE BASEBALL BEGAN

MEET: 30 E. 29th St. between Madison Ave. and Park Ave.

NoMad was a patchwork of characters in the 19th century. In the area north of Madison Square, homes of moneyed New Yorkers were next to a safe house of the Underground Railroad. A snobbish church was just around the corner from the Gay ‘90s scene of colorful goings on and frequent assignations.
 
Today NoMad features whole blocks of Classical Revival architecture including a Beaux-Arts masterpiece. The dense vegetation of beautiful Madison Square Park shields quiet space for children’s play, art installations, and a popular outdoor eatery.
 
Highlights include
• Winston Churchill’s Iroquois ancestor
• The Southerner who became a hero of the Yankee cause
• Where Madonna got her start
• Tin Pan Alley and its place in the theatrical neighborhood
• The Murder of the Century
• The announcement at dawn, “You are now the President of the United States”
 

Washington Square Park with chess players

June 16   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE FLAMBOYANT AND THE BOHEMIAN — GREENWICH VILLAGE AND HOW IT BECAME FAMOUS

MEET: Washington Sq. Arch, Fifth Ave., 1 block south of 8th St.

In its earliest years Greenwich Village was a refuge from the yellow fever epidemic downtown. By the early 20th century, the Village had become home to artists, writers, and playwrights looking for an unconventional environment and creative freedom. Protesters came here in their struggles for the vote for women, better working conditions, opposition to war, and gay and feminist rights.
 
Highlights include:
•  The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the labor movement
•  Literary figures — Henry James, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Willa Cather, Eugene O'Neill
•  19th century residential architecture as a social document
•  Coffeehouses of the Beat Generation
•  The Minetta trout stream and street design
•  Landmarking and preservation controversies
 

Sutton Place in New York City

June 22   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

SUTTON PLACE — AVANT-GUARD WOMEN CREATE NEW ENCLAVE

MEET: E. 57th St. & Sutton Place, southeast corner.

Starting in the 1920s, creative and influential women of means saw an intriguing alternative to Fifth Avenue residences. Together, Anne Morgan, Elisabeth Marbury, and Anne Vanderbilt chose to totally renovate townhouses on one far Eastside block between 57th and 58th Sts. called Sutton Place. The area had a checkered past of middle-class residences pushed out by industry and the working poor. These 3 women thoroughly changed that block, beginning the creation of the beautiful, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood of today.
 
Highlights include:
• “Amazon Enclave”
• Society women who first enter professions
• Stories of actors, writers, musicians and other creative people who chose the neighborhood
• A private road east of Sutton Place
• Small public parks facing the East River
 

West Village street scene

June 27   THURSDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

THE INTIMATE WEST VILLAGE — NARROW STREETS OPEN ONTO A SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT PARK AND WIDE VISTAS

MEET: Leroy St. & 7th Ave. South, southwest corner. Subway: #1 to Houston St., walk 2 blocks north on 7th Ave. South. 

The West Village is a 19th century preserve with its concealed-yet-open garden, complex web of streets, and a house 9½ feet wide. Classic 19th century 3-story townhouses set the stage. This is a community neighborhood of quirky angled streets with literary hang-outs, European-style coffeehouses, and Off-Broadway theatres – the quintessential American Bohemia. Its sites inspired Edgar Allan Poe's “The Raven”, and O. Henry's “The Last Leaf.”
 
But one block west of its border, the neighborhood changes abruptly. Gone are the run-down remains of waterfront commerce – transient hotels, cheap bars, and old factories. Now new tall glass-covered buildings rise up with condominiums that look out over a spectacular, transformed waterfront. Today the shoreline is alive again, this time with grassy playing fields, quiet lawns, children's playgrounds, and 800' long restored piers.
 

Gramercy Park gardens

June 29   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GENIUS AND ELEGANCE OF GRAMERCY PARK

MEET: Gramercy Park, Lexington Ave. & 21st St. 

Discover a London Square that became home to creative minds, elegant salons, and the taste-setting Lady Mendl. Samuel Ruggles, lawyer, developer, and urban design visionary, purchased a piece of marshland in 1831 in order to create a park for local citizens. Over the next several decades, a private London square emerged, surrounded by substantial homes. This landmarked district became home to some of America's greatest inventors, architects, actors, doctors, diarists, publishers, writers, painters, and losing and winning presidential candidates.
 
Highlights include:
•  Manhattan's only private park
•  The National Arts Club
•  The Players Club
•  The Salon of Elizabeth Marbury and Elsie de Wolfe
•  O. Henry's home and bar
•  Homes of Peter Cooper, Edwin Booth, and Stanford White
 

Cooper Hewitt Museum

** NEW **

July 7   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

CARNEGIE HILL FIFTH AVENUE — SUCCESSFUL IMMIGRANTS ACHIEVE MORE THAN WEALTH

MEET: Fifth Avenue and E. 86th St, northeast corner.

When Andrew Carnegie decided to retire to upper Fifth Avenue in 1901, he purchased land well beyond the property for his own mansion to control who could live near him. He chose to sell to people with cultured and philanthropic interests, including a successful Jewish banker.
 
The Carnegie Hill district now covers 86th Street to 98th Street from Central Park on the west, and in places almost to Third Avenue on the east. This tour will stay on 5th Avenue from 86th Street to 94th Street.
 
Highlight include:
• Otto Kahn and his rescue of the Metropolitan Opera
• The wealthiest woman in America and her 54-room penthouse
• John Hammond and his advocacy of music created by African-Americans
• Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington and the Hispanic Acropolis of New York
• Where the bodies were buried
 

Historic photograph of the Ansonia.

July 14   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

FAR WEST 70s — THE APTHORP, THE ANSONIA, AND MASONIC SYMBOLISM

MEET: 160 W. 71st St. just east of Broadway.

The far West 70s of the Upper West Side long has exhibited a pull between opposing identities. It sported imposing mansions, many of which were later converted into ordinary rooming houses. Along the Hudson River, it offered beautiful vistas, but the views were marred by saloons, coal yards, and smoke from steam railroads.
 
In the 1880’s, developers pressed city officials to raise the neighborhood’s image by changing numbered avenues - from 8thAve to 11th Ave. – to Central Park West to West End Ave. Along Broadway, great apartment houses by prestigious architects sprang up and attracted upwardly mobile middle class families. Nevertheless, the west side can still be rejected for being on the “wrong side of Central Park”.
 
Highlights include:
• Riverside Park and Riverside Drive
• Ira and George Gershwin
• Rivalry between Freemasons and Shriners
• Contemplative statue of Eleanor Roosevelt (the 4th of only 6 statues of a real women in Manhattan)
• Home of Miles Davis & Cecily Tyson
 

Cooper Hewitt Museum

** NEW **

July 20   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

CARNEGIE HILL FIFTH AVENUE — SUCCESSFUL IMMIGRANTS ACHIEVE MORE THAN WEALTH

MEET: Fifth Avenue and E. 86th St, northeast corner.

When Andrew Carnegie decided to retire to upper Fifth Avenue in 1901, he purchased land well beyond the property for his own mansion to control who could live near him. He chose to sell to people with cultured and philanthropic interests, including a successful Jewish banker.
 
The Carnegie Hill district now covers 86th Street to 98th Street from Central Park on the west, and in places almost to Third Avenue on the east. This tour will stay on 5th Avenue from 86th Street to 94th Street.
 
Highlight include:
• Otto Kahn and his rescue of the Metropolitan Opera
• The wealthiest woman in America and her 54-room penthouse
• John Hammond and his advocacy of music created by African-Americans
• Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington and the Hispanic Acropolis of New York
• Where the bodies were buried
 

portrait of Evelyn Nesbit.

July 28   SUNDAY  1 to 3 PM

NOMAD — NAUGHTY AND NICE WITH WORLD-CLASS PARK WHERE BASEBALL BEGAN

MEET: 30 E. 29th St. between Madison Ave. and Park Ave.

NoMad was a patchwork of characters in the 19th century. In the area north of Madison Square, homes of moneyed New Yorkers were next to a safe house of the Underground Railroad. A snobbish church was just around the corner from the Gay ‘90s scene of colorful goings on and frequent assignations.
 
Today NoMad features whole blocks of Classical Revival architecture including a Beaux-Arts masterpiece. The dense vegetation of beautiful Madison Square Park shields quiet space for children’s play, art installations, and a popular outdoor eatery.
 
Highlights include
• Winston Churchill’s Iroquois ancestor
• The Southerner who became a hero of the Yankee cause
• Where Madonna got her start
• Tin Pan Alley and its place in the theatrical neighborhood
• The Murder of the Century
• The announcement at dawn, “You are now the President of the United States”
 

5th Ave Mansions Manhattan

August 3   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

CRIMES OF THE FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

MEET: East 70th St. on the west side of Fifth Ave.

Fraud, procuring, and murders most foul, all on the New York avenue of wealth and privilege. The American Dream and its dark side reside even on Fifth Avenue. The creation of Central Park in the 1870s destined Fifth Avenue, the park's eastern border, to become one of New York's most elegant addresses. But as the wealth moved in, so did chicanery and violence. Great historic mansions housed both perpetrators and victims, sometimes both living together.
 
Highlights include
•  American tycoons with aristocratic yearnings
•  Grandiose homes and what happened in them
•  Landmarked district one mile long
•  Private armies, criminal intent, financial skullduggery  

.
the Bowery Mission in NYC

August 11   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE BOWERY — IRVING BERLIN, SKID ROW, AND NEW HOTELS COOL AND HIP

MEET: The hotel at 50 Bowery, (not The Bowery Hotel) just south of Canal St. & north of Bayard St.

From gaudy district of vaudeville, minstrel shows and operettas, to raucous saloons, bare-knuckle boxing, and Skid Row, the still-changing Bowery has seen it all.
 
Rural to the 1800s, the street evolved into a flashy entertainment district for the working class. During the Civil War the Bowery was a center of New York's theatrical life. Here vaudeville began and minstrel shows became popular. H.M.S. Pinafore and the stage version of Uncle Tom's Cabin debuted on the Bowery. By the 1870s raucous saloons combined socializing and bare-knuckled boxing for entertainment. Though the street's fortunes declined, its venues at the turn of the last century were the early training grounds for such greats as Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, and George M. Cohan.
 
The 1892 The Bowery song with its humorous view of a tourist's being ripped off popularized the street as a disreputable place. The Depression of the 1930s cemented its reputation as Skid Row for people who had lost all hope. With the late CBGB home of Underground Rock, and more recently the luxury Bowery Hotel and the New Museum, the Bowery's identity is changing again.
 

painting, Mrs. Cornelia Ward Hall, by Michele Gordigiani (1835-1909)

August 18   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GILDED AGE — GRANDIOSE YEARNINGS FROM UNTAXED EARNINGS

MEET: 38 E. 78th St. at Madison Ave., southwest corner.

Rivalry between "old money" & "new money" filled the gossip pages of the Gilded Age newspapers. Old money dated from Dutch & British colonial times; new money flowed from the industrialization beginning with the Civil War.
 
The HBO series "The Gilded Age" presents a "new money" family - the Russells - and their disruptive attacks on "old money" Society. Joining this tour you will learn whom the Russells portray.
 
Between 78th Street and 86th Street, Fifth Avenue still has a concentration of formidable Gilded Age mansions. The industrial age moguls who built these city chateaux were vying to outdo one another & flaunting their wealth & worthiness for all to see. Women of the new-monied class competed for social standing with clothing, parties, and aristocratic connections.
 
Highlights of the tour:
• Vanderbilts, Astors, and Guggenheims
• "Poor little rich girl"
• Architectural masterpieces by C.P.H.Gilbert, Stanford White and Richard Morris Hunt
• "Dollar princesses"
• The Age of Shoddy
H.M.S. Titanic