New York Walking Tours – A Reason New Yorkers Live 6 Months Longer Than The USA Average!
There are several cities in which a guided walking tour is organized on a regular basis and New York City is one of the most popular ones. There are many companies which conduct some of the best organized tours in the world on almost everyday basis. This only shows how popular these tours could get.
New York City walking tours are taken for many reasons. First, New York is a walker’s town (maybe, that’s why New Yorkers live 6 months longer than the USA average)! Fifty-four percent (54%) of those living in New York City lives in a household without an automobile. The percentage increases to 74% for residents living in Manhattan. Manhattan is the borough where tourists usually spend all of their time when visiting New York.
A vehicle in New York City is an expensive inconvenience. It is not uncommon to see automobile parking spaces for rent (when available) of well over $400 per month. Insurance is regularly one-half that amount each month, provided the driver has a good driving record. And gasoline? Among the most expensive in the country. This is all a lot of money to spend for heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic. No wonder New York is a walking town and the subways run underground.
Last but not the least, New York walking tours are mostly taken by newcomers to the city or first time visitors, the essence is to know the city in a different light. The past and present, the new and old, the dark side and the fun side, the known and the unknown, all are walked about. There are many who may not know about the erstwhile gangster culture, or the Wall Street etc. Living in a big city like New York is about its people, its social life, its pubs, the eating joints, the friends one makes there etc. In a fast paced life and in the city which never sleeps, it is wise to take things slow. Hence taking New York City tours on foot will not only bring to light the unknown features of the city, but also allow one to absorb it to the full extent.
Types Of New York Walking Tours
There are different tours taken on a multi-day or night activity. Patrons who want to join can just join one of the tour parties at a pre-designated point, which is called the “meeting point”. Most of these tours have to be paid earlier and one can choose from among the many New York walking tours either private or grouped ones:
* Historical Tours
* The NYC Night Clubs’ Tour
* NYC Financial District Tour
* NYC Shopping Tours
* NYC Theater District Tour
* The Empire State Building Tour
* Private SUV and Limousine Tours
That said, what is nice about the selection of tours New York has is the options to go on a private walking tour for a more personal visit of the New York cities. These tours usually have up to six people on each tour. So you will not be at the back of a big bus where you cannot hear the guide talking. You will be right in with the group of mostly family and friends so it is easier to ask any questions; it is more personable. What better way to see New York, its famous places and the history behind each city.
How Much Time Do You Have To Taste The Food In New York?
Where do you even start because there is just so much great tasting food and so little time! Well, New York walking tours of food tasting is the perfect solution to that dilemma. New York offers food tasting from specialty food spots. You will taste different ethnic foods, not just pizza. You will be able to taste a bit of New York’s history and cultures while seeing the beauties of the New York cities. Again, it is not all about pizza, visit Chinatown and other places. These food-tasting tours will fill you up. Expect to eat a lot and taste the best of New York. And look out if you have a sweet tooth because New York has the best desert tours you can taste some of the finest chocolates and cakes around.
How About The Neighborhood Around Grand Central Station?
Visitors to New York Central check out the main attractions, like Times Square, the Statute of Liberty, Rockefeller Plaza and Broadway, but there so much more to experience in Manhattan! Manhattan is made up of neighborhoods, each with its own identity and culture and excitement. Explore Manhattan by walking — you can take the subway or a cab to the area, but be sure to walk once you’re there, so pack your comfortable walking shoes!
The Grand Central Station area is a perfect example. To begin with everyone must experience the cavernous Grand Central train station with its 2-story windows on each side and gigantic domed ceiling, complete with drawings of star maps. Don’t hesitate to look up, but be prepared to dodge the scurrying workers busy on their errands — time is of the essence for them — and they’ll walk right over you! If you have the time, check out the lower level which has a number of restaurants and oh, so cool, deep leather chairs in the center, and, of course, the famous Oyster Bar. The Oyster Bar has the best seafood in the area, but the attraction is the ambiance: tiled walls and a high ceiling, and the feeling of eating in a restaurant eons ago in an old-fashioned train station.
Grand Central Station, which is found at 42nd Street and Park Avenue, is home to both subways and the commuter railroad, MetroNorth, which goes “upstate” to Westchester and Connecticut. But did you know that Grand Central sits right in the middle of Park Avenue? Park Avenue has a narrow, go-around elevated street that circumvents the Station, but the wide Avenue itself stops at 46th Street and begins again at 42nd Street. Can’t tell you how many times a bewildered tourist stopped me and asked what happened to Park Avenue and how do I get to Park and 50th Street?
Ok, here’s your exploring-Manhattan exercise: Go up the escalators from the Station. Here you’re in the walkway through the 200 Park Avenue building and continue walking uptown. (There’s no north, nor any directions in Manhattan; there’s only uptown and downtown and toward the Hudson River or the East River.) From 200 Park Avenue go across the street to 230 Park Avenue and continue through the building in the Art Deco tunnels and walking out again into the wide and bright main thoroughfare of Park Avenue. This is a busy business section of Manhattan — watch out for the taxis and the black Town Car radio cars! They move to turn no matter if people are in the crosswalk; but it’s just a game to them, and act like a New Yorker and continue walking, and they always give way to you. (I’ve not been hit once in 30 years!)
Then double back into Grand Central. Find the downtown entrance from Grand Central (from the open area go to your left and follow the corridor downtown). Here you’ll face Park Avenue South which goes toward Greenwich Village. Across 42nd Street is a restaurant, and Park Avenue is on either side. A couple of blocks downtown from Grand Central is the Murray Hill area, a quaint and elegant neighborhood — reminiscent of areas of London. There are stately townhouses (brownstones in Manhattan parlance) alongside apartment buildings. You might be a block or two from the commercial areas of Manhattan but you feel far removed!
East of Grand Central, “toward the East River” for natives, brings you to the UN area, with many newly-constructed apartment buildings, and a consulate here and there. But, on your New York walking tours, be sure to check out Tudor City which is downtown from 42nd Street between First and Second (that’s First Avenue, but NYers never add the Avenue). Tudor City is a collection of brick apartment buildings built 2 stories above the street. It’s an enclave all to its own, with wrought iron fences setting it off from the rest of the busy Manhattan world. Walk around and feel as if you’ve stepped into a different time era!
Walk up First [Avenue] to 50th Street, and there’s a whole new unique neighborhood. Here, you’ll find the Sutton Place neighborhood, and you can feel the wealth of times past. There’s a lot of building being done here and razing of the older buildings, but the old upper-class, moneyed elite air still remains, with an art deco building here and there. And intermixed here and there are the 5th floor walk-ups — how do any of these tenants walk up with bags of food??
And, if your feet allow, walk down 53rd Street toward Third [Avenue] and enter into the Citicorp Atrium to chill out. There’s a number of food choices, both fast food and sit down, and you just might be lucky enough to be there when live piano music echoes from the multi-story open area. Here you are, two blocks from Sutton Place, and you’re back into the commercial area and the 21st Century. Leave on the Lexington side, walk a block to Park [Avenue]. Face downtown and walk back to Grand Central toward the 230 Park building at the end of the Avenue, savorying the bustle of NY’s commercial area, and just imagine if the people you pass are lawyers, bankers or into real estate. If you’re lucky enough to be there in December, enjoy the chill in the air and anticipate the Christmas spirit with the holiday lights brightening Park Avenue.
Explore Manhattan by foot and experience the excitement of current times and ages past!
Explore The Times Square And Areas Nearby
One “touristy” area you shouldn’t pass up is Times Square. Despite being the busiest section of the city, it’s become the poster picture of New York. It’s the one spot that’s lit up brighter than the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. The blinding lights, the big name restaurants, and Broadway so close by. After you’re done photographing the skyscrapers, head over a few blocks and take in a Broadway show. It’s just a must. Whether you opt for big hits like “Phantom of the Opera” or the “Lion King” or you look up a small off-Broadway show, it’ll be quite a different experience from going to the movies!
Visit a museum. There are a number to choose from. The three largest and most famous include the MoMA, the MET, and the Museum of Natural History. The museum you choose depends on your personal tastes. If you’re not into modern art, cross the MoMA off your list. If you have small children with you, the Museum of Natural History is kid friendly, especially the dinosaur section.
Weather permitting, a visit to Central Park will be a beautiful experience, especially during the spring and fall. Who could resist a picnic in this picture perfect park? You can also enjoy a boat ride on the lake, take a gander at the animals in the zoo, or even watch a performance at the theater. And how could I almost forget to mention a carriage ride! It’s definitely a cheesy tourist thing to do that probably isn’t very cheap, but it’s New York!
Overall, New York walking tours, and particularly those that use public transportation to travel short distances from neighborhood to neighborhood, are based on a model that New Yorkers evolved and have used everyday for over 100 years to get around. In fact, 4 million New Yorkers everyday, young and old, use a combination of walking and subways to navigate the city. It is a great way to really get to know and experience New York on a tour. It is not like a drive-by tour, where if you are sitting on the wrong side of the bus (which you are half the time), you miss sites being seen on the other side.
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