PUBLIC WALKING TOURS NYC — Summer / Fall 2019

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.

Given the frequent subway service interruptions on weekends, check web.mta.info/weekender for changes and closed stations.
 
» 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 $25 per person; $20 for seniors 62+

» Fall 2019 Public Tour Schedule available for viewing and pdf download

arial view of Hudson Yards

** NEW **

July 27   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

HUDSON YARDS — 21st CENTURY VERTICAL

MEET: 34th St. & Hudson Blvd., btw 10th & 11th Aves., northwest corner, Subway: #7 train to 34th St. Hudson Yards on Hudson Blvd. Note: 34th St. has traffic in both directions.

A brand new city is rising in Midtown—the Hudson Yards. It covers 28 acres, between 30th & 33rd St, & from 10th Ave to West St & the Hudson River.
 
Hudson Yards is a mix of 21st century architecture accessorized with a large interactive sculpture and a touch of gently-curved landscaping. Soaring over deep rail yards, this high-end corporate & residential development includes seven stories of retail shopping and restaurants. The Vessel—the 150’-high permanent art installation—attracts urban adventurers to its Escher-like spiral stairwells. The Shed, an ambitious cultural center, was built with a quilted, retractable shell that can open the space to the outdoors.
 
Hudson Yards has precedents in Manhattan as a city-within-a-city—Battery Park City &Rockefeller Center. Each embodies its time and priorities.


	Map of South Street Seaport, NYC

** NEW **

August 4   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

SOUTH STREET SEAPORT VILLAGE — LANDFILL, COUNTING HOUSES, AND SALOONS

MEET: Fulton & Water Sts., northeast corner at the lighthouse.

In the heyday of the clipper ships, 12 blocks around South Street comprised one of the great seaports of the world. Wide slips, solid brick houses, and the Belgian block streets we walk today evoke an earlier time in Manhattan, when seafaring trades created great wealth.
 
Twelve blocks of brick buildings once contained stores, saloons, counting houses, shipping offices, and mercantile exchanges. Discovering today’s businesses in these historic settings offers us an unusual delight.
 
Highlights of this tour of the district include:
•  Landfill and its effect on buildings
•  The third oldest building in Manhattan
•  Details that help date New York’s oldest structures
•   A structure built to resemble a stolen building
•  Recent additions in the seaport’s revival

Washington Square Park with chess players

August 11   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 architectural as a social document
•  Coffeehouses of the Beat Generation
•  The Minetta trout stream and street design
•  Landmarking and preservation controversies  

5th Ave Mansions Manhattan

August 17   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

CRIMES OF THE FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

MEET: The Frick Collection, 1 E. 70th St. between Fifth &Madison Aves.

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  

5th Ave Mansions Manhattan

September 15   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

CRIMES OF THE FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

MEET: The Frick Collection, 1 E. 70th St. between Fifth & Madison Aves.

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  

Gowanus billboard sign by Ute Zimmermann

** NEW **

September 22   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

GOWANUS – CANAL, CASKETS, AND MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

MEET: Smith Canteen, 343 Smith St @ Carroll Street, Brooklyn. Subways: F & G trains to Carroll St.;

For almost 200 years the name "Gowanus" has been synonymous with putrid human & industrial waste. In 1911 a local politico described Gowanus Canal as, "a 5,700'-long fetid groove renowned for its sometimes awe-inspiring stench, & a near-mythic level of contamination."
 
Over the years cleaning up the canal surfaced as a necessity, so that gradual improvements raised awareness that Gowanus could become an appealing neighborhood, with a picturesque canal at its center.
 
Pioneering artists and galleries, major clean-up campaigns, and a canoe club have all contributed to the continuing rehab of Gowanus into a place of creativity, small businesses, homes, restaurants and shops – a promising multi-use neighborhood.
 
Highlights include
• Lavender Lake & Black Mayonnaise
• Al Capone
• Bonnano Crime Family
• Deadly swamp in the American Revolution
• Gowanus Souvenir store (gowanussouvenir.com )
• Batcave art center

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

** NEW **

September 28   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE GILDED AGE — GRANDIOSE YEARNINGS FROM UNTAXED EARNINGS

MEET: 78th Street & Madison Avenue, 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.
 
Between 78th Street and 92nd 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

Harlem Cotton club marquee

October 6   SUNDAY   1 to 3:30 PM

HARLEM HISTORY WALK

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:
•  Sites of the 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  

Gramercy Park gardens

October 8   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 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       

arial view of Hudson Yards

** NEW **

October 12   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

HUDSON YARDS — 21st CENTURY VERTICAL

MEET: 34th St. & Hudson Blvd., btw 10th & 11th Aves., northwest corner, Subway: #7 train to 34th St. Hudson Yards on Hudson Blvd. Note: 34th St. has traffic in both directions.

A brand new city is rising in Midtown—Hudson Yards. It covers 28 acres, between 30th &33rd St, &from 10th Ave to West St &the Hudson River.
 
Hudson Yards is a mix of 21st century architecture accessorized with a large interactive sculpture and a touch of gently-curved landscaping. Soaring over deep rail yards, this high-end corporate and residential development includes seven stories of retail shopping and restaurants. The Vessel—the 150’-high permanent art installation—attracts urban adventurers to its Escher-like spiral stairwells. The Shed, an ambitious cultural center, was built with a quilted, retractable shell that can open the space to the sky.
 
Hudson Yards has precedents in Manhattan as a city-within-a-city—Battery Park City &Rockefeller Center. Each embodies its time and priorities.

Washington Square Park with chess players

October 24   THURSDAY   11 AM to 1 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 architectural as a social document
•  Coffeehouses of the Beat Generation
•  The Minetta trout stream and street design
•  Landmarking and preservation controversies  


	Map of South Street Seaport, NYC

** NEW **

October 26   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

SOUTH STREET SEAPORT VILLAGE — LANDFILL, COUNTING HOUSES, AND SALOONS

MEET: Lighthouse at the intersection of Fulton and Water Streets.

In the heyday of the clipper ships, 12 blocks around South Street comprised one of the great seaports of the world. Wide slips, solid brick houses, and the Belgian block streets we walk today evoke an earlier time in Manhattan, when seafaring trades created great wealth.
 
Twelve blocks of brick buildings once contained stores, saloons, counting houses, shipping offices, and mercantile exchanges. Discovering today’s businesses in these historic settings offers us an unusual delight.
 
Highlights of this tour of the district include:
•  Landfill and its effect on buildings
•  The third oldest building in Manhattan
•  Details that help date New York’s oldest structures
•   A structure built to resemble a stolen building
•  Recent additions in the seaport’s revival

West Village street scene

November 3   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE INTIMATE WEST VILLAGE WITH ITS SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT 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 celebrity-filled condominiums and 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.

 
Historic illustration of old new york-Five Points

November 9   SATURDAY   1 to 3 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.

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, 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  

illustration Civil War soldiers in Manhattan

November 17   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN MANHATTAN

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.
 
Once war was declared, New York officially supported the Northern cause. But as the war dragged on, ethnic and class tensions escalated between the Irish and blacks, and the poor and the governing class. Groups actively engaged with the war included shipbuilders, manufacturers, newspaper publishers, humanitarian philanthropists, and soldiers returning from battles.
 
Highlights include:
• Abraham Lincoln, the candidate and president
• Horace Greeley, the abolitionist editor
• Confederate plot to burn down New York
• The Draft and Draft Riots
• The Monitor and New York shipbuilding
• General Grant, General Sherman, and Admiral Farragut  

Washington Square Park and chess players

November 24   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 architectural as a social document
•  Coffeehouses of the Beat Generation
•  The Minetta trout stream and street design
•  Landmarking and preservation controversies  

arial view of Hudson Yards

** NEW **

December 8   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

HUDSON YARDS — 21st CENTURY VERTICAL

MEET: 34th St. & Hudson Blvd., btw 10th & 11th Aves., northwest corner, Subway: #7 train to 34th St. Hudson Yards on Hudson Blvd. Note: 34th St. has traffic in both directions.

A brand new city is rising in Midtown—Hudson Yards. It covers 28 acres, between 30th &33rd St, &from 10th Ave to West St &the Hudson River.
 
Hudson Yards is a mix of 21st century architecture accessorized with a large interactive sculpture and a touch of gently-curved landscaping. Soaring over deep rail yards, this high-end corporate and residential development includes seven stories of retail shopping and restaurants. The Vessel—the 150’-high permanent art installation—attracts urban adventurers to its Escher-like spiral stairwells. The Shed, an ambitious cultural center, was built with a quilted, retractable shell that can open the space to the sky.
 
Hudson Yards has precedents in Manhattan as a city-within-a-city—Battery Park City &Rockefeller Center. Each embodies its time and priorities.

exterior of Grand Central Terminal NYC

December 15   SUNDAY   1 to 3 PM

GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL — “CROSSROADS OF A MILLION PRIVATE LIVES”

MEET: In the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Foyer, just inside GCT entrance at E. 42nd St. under the Park Ave. viaduct.

New York’s monument to movement, Grand Central Terminal opened over 100 years ago and it remains one of great architectural beauties of the city. The dramatic structure is a thrilling symbol of the fast-expanding commercial and intellectual reach of what was becoming the greatest city in the U.S.
 
A majestic Beaux Arts rendition of a classical form, Grand Central is impressive outside and within. A monumental sculpture crowns its 42nd Street façade. The Main Concourse has the soaring dimensions of a cathedral. The building seems to embody the huge purpose of the terminal — to move great numbers of people, to provide services for travelers, to outshine its rival, and to create a real estate boom with the innovation of air rights. 
 
Additional highlights of the walk include:
• The tragedy that led to its creation
• Design that made traffic flow and luggage glide
• Its history-making role in landmarking New York City’s heritage
• The Campbell Apartment
• Commodore Vanderbilt, Whitney Warren, Jackie Onassis
• The Whispering Arch  

Our next scheduled tours will be posted soon .

Private tours are always available, beginning at $295 for up to 6 people.