About once a month in the spring and fall, we offer public tours by reservation. For a list of upcoming tours, visit our Events page.However, seven days a week what we specialize in are private tours, for which there is no set schedule—each tour is booked as an appointment between you and the guide. There will no one else on the tour besides the people in your group (whether that is just you, you and your family, or you and 40 colleagues). In conjunction with our books, Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers and Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, we also sometimes give lectures and presentations about New York history. Go to www.footprintsinnewyork.com for more details.
We generally offer tours 7 days a week—including holidays—though we give fewer tours in the hottest part of summer and the coldest part of winter when try to concentrate on writing. Please contact us about your dates and we’ll be able to let you know if we are available.
Private tours can start as early as 7:00 in the morning, or as late as 7:00 in the evening, based on your preference. Almost all tours work best in the daylight; if you only have evening availability, consider a Greenwich Village tour. The most popular tour start times are 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, or 1:00 in the afternoon. From May through September, feel free to consider a 4:00 or 5:00 start for any 2-hour tour; it will definitely still be light for the duration. Due to logistics, it is usually difficult to start at tour at 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m.
For a two-hour private tour, if you have 1, 2, 3, or 4 people in your group, you pay a flat fee of $100. This is not a per-person charge.If your group has 4 or more people, the rate is $25 per person. (Discounts apply for larger parties and student groups. If you have a group of more than 10, please ask about special rates when you make your booking inquiry.)
For the Skyscraper tour or the Manhattan Sampler, which are four-hour tours, the rates are double: a flat fee of $200 for group of 1-4 people or $50 per person for groups with more than 4 people.In order to provide the best personalized touring experience, your tour will be just your party and a guide—you will never be joined to another group.
We are happy to guide a tour in any weather. One of the benefits of a private tour is that you can request that we pause in a coffee shop to warm up or cool off. If weather conditions are dangerous, we will recommend rescheduling. Otherwise, it’s your decision. We just ask that you let us know at least one hour before the start time. Also, feel free to contact us if you are uncertain about whether the stormy skies are predicted to clear up—we monitor the weather forecasts pretty closely.
You can book as far in advance as you like. You are welcome to contact us as late as the “day-of” if you get a sudden urge to take a tour; sometimes we will have same day or next day availability and sometimes we won’t, but it never hurts to ask.
Most emails are responded to within half a day; some are answered within minutes, but if we are out giving tours it does sometimes take a few hours for us to catch up on our email. If 36 hours have gone by and you haven’t heard from us, feel free to email again, in case your email has gotten lost in cyberspace.
We accept cash or check at the end of a tour. We are happy to invoice in advance, and/or to provide a receipt upon payment—just let us know what you require.
No. However, please remember to put us on your calendar, and to cancel or reschedule if you can’t make your appointment.
No. We just ask that you let us know as soon as you know that you won’t be using your time slot, so that we can try to book a tour with someone else for that time.
Each tour has a different meeting place. We set up that meeting place when we are confirming a tour booking. Please also note that tours almost never end at the same place that they start.
If you know when and where you are meeting your guide, then your tour is confirmed.
Most tours do not end at the place where they start. Be sure to let us know either in advance or at the beginning of the tour if you would like the tour to end where it started, at a certain restaurant, etc. Of course, we are always happy to direct you to the subway or a taxi at the end of a tour.
Your guide will be either Michelle or James Nevius. We carry notebooks with maps and photographs, and carry a copy of our most recent book, Footprints in New York. For a picture, see the Books page.
You can express a preference for the theme or route of your tour. If you let us know in advance that there are particular places you want to make sure you see or if you’d like the tour to have a certain emphasis, we can alter the itinerary accordingly. For example, our tour of Lower Manhattan can center on Dutch Colonial History or the American Revolution. It can be a tour that is very architectural, but it can also be a tour that isn’t very architectural at all. In general, most clients choose not to customize a tour and we mix different elements together, focusing on many different time periods and subjects.
Please see the Add an Hour page of this site for a full explanation.
Lower Manhattan, Five Points and The Gangs of New York, and Immigration and the Lower East Side are all popular with schools and youth groups. We are happy to adapt any tour to your age level and curricular needs.
Our Lower East Side tour lends itself to noshing along the way. However, we do not include the price of food in our tour charge. You can buy whatever you like as we go (and we’ll point out our favorite places) and that way you aren’t stuck paying for food you’re not interested in.
The Manhattan Sampler is designed for you. If you want only a two-hour tour, consider Lower Manhattan, which traces the history of the city from its origins to the present, while seeing Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, and other famous sites.
We have New Yorkers on our tours all the time, and they learn things on every tour, even when visiting their own neighborhoods. However, if you want to get off the beaten path, consider Morningside Heights, Peter Stuyvesant’s Bowery, Brooklyn Heights, or Harlem and Hamilton Heights.
Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to do this. We offer each tour only as a personal tour for the client making the booking, and whomever he or she wishes to bring. We feel that if you hire us for just yourself, or you and one companion, you are getting a premium experience for your money.If you are a single person and don’t want to pay $100 for your own tour, consider one of our Public Tours.
We have simultaneously accommodated school-groups of 60-70 individuals by breaking the party into 2 groups, each with one guide, walking the same route in different directions. We have accommodated school groups of over 100 by splitting the party into groups as small as 13 and touring at different times, with some groups in a museum or eating while others were touring. We do whatever we can to offer your students a high-quality, engaging walk based on your goals. But can we accommodate 300 students taking the same tour at the same time? Regrettably, at this time we cannot.