This is a must do when in NYC, even if you’ve lived there before, as I had. My girlfriend Koko and I spent a fun weekend in NYC last month. Koko wasn’t really familiar with the city and I thought it would be fun to have some organized, touristy things to do to give us an opportunity to see the different neighborhoods and get a sense of the history.
After researching and seeing the Tripadvisor reviews, I chose Real New York Tours and signed up for their “Dozen Apples” group tour. This is their full-day tour, which initially gave me a bit of hesitation given the time commitment, but those concerns were forgotten immediately when we hooked up with our group and Jimmy, our incredibly entertaining guide. Imagine spending a day poking around New York with a fascinating, super smart, funny and totally engaging local. If you’re going to spend six hours with someone, Jimmy is who you want to kill the time with. And you’ll learn some interesting facts in the process.
We started at Broadway and 51st, grabbed the subway down to the financial district, and worked our way uptown, stopping to hear Jimmy talk about a certain building or event that happened there, pointing out architectural details that we would never have known about and providing some snappy repartee as only a New Yawkeh can. We stopped for lunch at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the “oldest Chinese tea house” in the city, where we had beer and dimsum.
Later in the day, we stopped for a quick restorative beverage at a pub near NYU. The pace is quick – lotta ground to cover and ya gotta keep up – but relaxed enough so you can ask questions and take in the area. Jimmy, a native New Yawkeh (who doesn’t have a drivers license – hard for us to imagine out here in CA) has a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the city – past & present – and is able to provide context and perspective in between wisecracks, old jokes and bon mots. The tour finished up in Strawberry Fields, where Jimmy, who at that point seemed like a new friend, invited anyone who was interested to have a beer at a local bar. I loved the informality of that gesture. Tip: Seriously, do wear comfy shoes.
Read more of my tripadvisor reviews here.