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 still $25 per person; $20 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.

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

March 24   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GILDED AGE — GRANDIOSE YEARNINGS FROM UNTAXED EARNINGS

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

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
 

portrait of Inez Mulholland

March 30   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

IMMIGRANT, RADICAL, NOTORIOUS WOMEN OF WASHINGTON SQUARE

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

In few other places on earth have so many notable women lived and achieved. For the last 150 years, it has seen an unparalleled variety of women – working class, gentry, radical, literary, academic, theatrical, convict, and immigrant – remarkable women who left their imprints on the Washington Sq. neighborhood – and beyond.
 
Highlights of the tour — literary, art, and theatre iconoclasts:
• The salon of Mable Dodge, a center of WW I-era activism
• The tragedy of the Triangle fire and its role in the labor movement
• The Suffrage Movement
see the write up on this tour in the New York Times
 

the Bowery Mission in NYC

April 7   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE BOWERY — IRVING BERLIN, SKID ROW, AND THE ELEGANT BOWERY HOTEL

MEET: The hotel at 50 Bowery, just south of Canal 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.
 

West Village street scene

April 14   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE INTIMATE WEST VILLAGE WITH ITS SPECTACULAR HUDSON RIVER PARK

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.
 

5th Ave Mansions

April 20   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

MEET: E. 70 St. on west side of Fifth Ave.

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. Great historic mansions, including those of Henry Clay Frick and James B. Duke, began to line the avenue. Much of the wealth that created this Gold Coast was earned rather than inherited.
 
Highlights include:
• The American Dream and its dark side
• American tycoons with aristocratic yearnings
• Grandiose homes and what happened to them
• Landmarked district 1 mile long
 

Harlem Cotton Club, NYC.

April 28   SUNDAY   1 to 3:30 PM

HARLEM HISTORY WALK — MEDLEY OF ARCHITECTURE, SUGAR HILL ACHIEVERS, AND SCHOMBERG’S DREAM

MEET: City College, 138th St. & Amsterdam Ave. Subway: #1 train to 137th St. station; walk to 138th St., then 1 block up the 138th St. hill.

In the 1880s, the new elevated railroad converted Harlem from a rural district into tracts of beautiful homes for wealthy New Yorkers. By the 1920s, downtown development and the new subway changed the neighborhood into one of the nation's most famous African-American communities.
 
Highlights of the tour include:
• Artistic and literary Harlem Renaissance
• Alexander Hamilton's last home
• Strivers Row, Sugar Hill, and Hamilton Heights
• Abyssinian Baptist Church
• One of world's greatest collections dedicated to the study of black culture
 

 

No public tour weekend of May 4-5.

Historic illustration of old new york-Five Points

May 8   WEDNESDAY  11 AM to 1 PM

GANGS OF NEW YORK AND THE BLOODY FIVE POINTS

MEET: The Bowery & Bayard St. (1 block south of Canal St.) northwest corner at Bank of America at 50 Bayard St.

Just east of today's City Hall and Municipal Building, this was once a foul-smelling, disease-ridden district. Brought to life in the movie "Gangs of New York", it was a place of violence, gang wars, poverty, and corruption. The district evokes such places of notoriety as Paradise Square, Cow Bay, Bottle Alley, and such gangs as the Roach Guards, Plug Uglies, Shirt Tails, and Dead Rabbits.
 
Highlights include:
• Five Points visitors – Davy Crockett, Charles Dickens, and Abraham Lincoln
• A Five Points success story – Al Smith – Tammany Hall protégé, state governor, presidential candidate
• The oldest Jewish graveyard in North America
• The Roman Catholic church with Anglican, Cuban, Irish, Italian, Chinese, and Buddhist history
 

portrait of Evelyn Nesbit.

May 11   SATURDAY  1 to 3 PM

NOMAD – JAILBIRDS & GENIUSES, NOTORIETY & INNOCENCE, MUSEUM OF SEX & THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING

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

NoMad has long been a district of unexpected contrasts. In the area north of Madison Square, homes of moneyed New Yorkers were next to a safe house of the Underground Railroad. A snooty church was just around the corner from the Gay ‘90s scene of frequent assignations and colorful goings on.
 
Today NoMad still features whole blocks of Classical Revival architecture including a Beaux-Arts masterpiece. The dense vegetation of beautiful Madison Square Park shields quiet space for art installations, children’s play, 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
• The Murder of the Century
• The announcement at dawn, “You are now the President of the United States”
 

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

May 15   WEDNESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

THE GILDED AGE — GRANDIOSE YEARNINGS FROM UNTAXED EARNINGS

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

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
 

historic Dutch West Inda flag.

** NEW **

May 19   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE FORTY YEARS MANHATTAN WAS DUTCH – CREATING MANHATTAN’S IDENTITY

MEET: Trinity Church, Broadway & Wall St.

Beginning in 1624, the Dutch West India Company transformed an edge of Manhattan wilderness into the colonial city of New Amsterdam. They controlled Manhattan for only 40 years, until 1664, when the British took over. And yet the Dutch influence set the character of New York for the next 400 years, particularly in its money orientation, and tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity.
 
By 1644 the roughly 500 inhabitants of New Amsterdam included a wide variety of Europeans, Blacks both enslaved and free, and native Lenapes. Over 18 languages were heard on the streets. There were Dutch Reform adherents, Catholics, Quakers, and Anglicans. The first Jewish settlers in North America came to these streets in 1654.
 
Highlights include –
• New York’s first cash crop
• Bronze relief map of the New Amsterdam colony
• Dutch street patterns and street names that exist today
• Governors Willem Kieft and Peter Stuyvesant
• Jews and Quakers limit Stuyvesant’s power
 

River House view from the river in New York City.

** NEW **

May 23   THURSDAY   1 to 3 PM

TURTLE BAY AND BEEKMAN PLACE — Power and Its Limits

MEET: E. 52nd St. & First Ave., northeast corner.

In the far East 40’s and 50’s, Turtle Bay and Beekman Place owe some of their caché to their geography. Perched on a high hill over the East River, the property afforded great views and healthful breezes. James Beekman built his country house at the top of the slope in 1763. By 1776, the British took over the house and used it as their headquarters until the end of the Revolutionary War. Nathan Hale was condemned to die here and was hanged nearby.
 
In the 1850’s, the coming of the grid plan of numbered streets and avenues upset the bucolic setting. The picturesque cove called Turtle Bay was filled in and the area’s brownstones were converted to tenements for the working class. But in the 1920’s creative people saw residential possibilities near the river, and soon impressive new homes started to appear.
 
In addition to creative and artistic people – like Bogart and Garbo - some residents of Turtle Bay were at the pinnacle of industry and government. The publisher of Time Magazine and Life Magazine Henry Luce, mogul and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wielded much power and influence. Did it get them what they wanted? When did it not?
 
Highlights include:
• River House
• Panhellenic, a hotel built for sorority alumnae
• Amster Yard
• Turtle Bay Gardens
 

Historic photograph of the Ansonia.

May 25   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

FAR WEST 70s — THE ANSONIA, THE APTHORP AND THE ARCONIA

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.