PUBLIC WALKING TOURS NYC

Private walking tours are now available.
To be notified when public tours begin again, → add your e-mail address to our mailing list.

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+

» SPRING 2020 Public Tour Schedule available for viewing and pdf download

Washington Square Park with chess players

March 21   SATURDAY   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  

illustration Civil War soldiers in Manhattan

March 29   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  

5th Ave Mansions Manhattan

April 4   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

FIFTH AVENUE GOLD COAST

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

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 marquee

April 12   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  

arial view of Hudson Yards

** NEW **

April 18   SATURDAY   1 to 3 PM

HUDSON YARDS — 21st CENTURY VERTICAL

MEET: 34th St. & Hudson Blvd., (parallel to & btw 10th & 11th Aves.) northwest corner; 34th St has traffic in both directions; Subway: #7 train to 34th St. Hudson Yards; or 34th St. crosstown bus to Hudson Yards.

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.

West Village street scene

April 25   SATURDAY   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.

 
College Club, Murray Hill, NYC

April 28   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

MURRAY HILL — FROM "THE RESTRICTION" TO J.P. MORGAN AND FRIENDS

MEET: Kitano Hotel, Park Ave. & 38th St., southwest corner.

Just south of Grand Central Terminal lies this orderly, residential enclave, notable for its graceful non-commercial character. That orderliness and quiet demeanor was no accident. The Murray family controlled the development of their land, included limiting the sale of liquor, and keeping businesses out.
 
From the days of banker and industrialist J. P. Morgan through those of newly-weds Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Murray Hill has been the district of choice for the elegant mansions, beautiful brownstones, and enormous carriage houses of New York's elite, and has seen an extraordinary concentration of wealth and power.
 
Highlights include:
• The enclave of British war brides
• The mansion built to upstage J P Morgan
• The horse tunnel adapted for modern life
• "Brothers to the Rescue" corner

arial view of Hudson Yards

** NEW **

May 5   TUESDAY   11 AM to 1 PM

HUDSON YARDS — 21st CENTURY VERTICAL

MEET: 34th St. & Hudson Blvd., (parallel to & btw 10th & 11th Aves.) northwest corner; 34th St has traffic in both directions; Subway: #7 train to 34th St. Hudson Yards; or 34th St. crosstown bus to Hudson Yards.

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.

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

** NEW **

May 9   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

5th Ave Mansions Manhattan

May 14   THURSDAY   11 AM to 1 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  

Grassy park land on GOVERNORSr's Island

May 17   SUNDAY   12:45 to 3:30 PM

GOVERNORS ISLAND — A QUICK RIDE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE

MEET: Outside Gov. Island ferry building (light green), 10 South St. Manhattan, next to the Staten Island Ferry. Look for our yellow umbrella. Subways: #1 to South Ferry, #4, #5, or R to Bowling Green/Whitehall. G.I. ferry tickets cost $2/$1 or IDNYC card.

Governors Island is a prime piece of real estate just a short ride from Lower Manhattan with phenomenal views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. Until recently the island was federal land and closed to the public. Today government, private interests, and the public are all involved in defining the future of this unique section of New York.
 
In Dutch and British colonial times, the island was pasture, timberland, game preserve, and summer resort. For nearly two centuries after the American Revolution it served as guardian of the harbor and was in continuous military use.
 
A visit today includes areas designated as national monuments, temporary art installations, and activities from jazz concerts to children’s activities to biking in a car-free environment. It’s a visit to quiet, green, and open-spaces. The big question to consider is — what lies ahead.  

Washington Square Park with chess players

May 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  

Historic illustration of old new york-Five Points

May 30   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