Housing Works provides advocacy, job training, healthcare and housing support for low-income and homeless people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Housing Works Thrift Shops and Buy the Bag help fund this effort by selling new and used donated goods. Shoppers can explore shelves upon shelves of donated items in search of a new designer shirt, a vintage necklace, or a set of hand-painted bowls.
Presiding over the oldest museum in the city, the New-York Historical Society cultivates a massive collection of artifacts and living history exhibits. Members amble through the museum and library into a world where Alexander Hamilton rubs shoulders with exhibits on the Hudson River School, civil rights, and the lineage of Santa Claus. The New-York Historical Society interprets the nation's history through city and state events and encourages continued analysis of the past through public lectures and programming. The Patricia D. Klingenstein library houses more than 3 million archival documents, and current exhibitions explore themes of revolution, American traditions, and memory. Paintings by Rembrandt and Peale share wall space with surveys of American folk art and representational sculpture, and guests attempt to catch and tag all 435 of John James Audubon's watercolors for Birds of America.
The Starlight Send a Smile, Send a Bear program distributes teddy bears to youth experiencing lengthy hospital stays and ongoing medical treatments due to prolonged illness or injury. Teddy bears can uplift children’s spirits while they spend the day undergoing often-invasive procedures and hours of arduous waiting. Cuddling with the teddy bear can also provide a welcome distraction from the stress of medical treatment. Starlight distributes more than 3,000 teddy bears to hospital pediatric units in the tri-state area every year.
As they lead groups through the heart of Times Square, Manhattan Walking Tours' licensed guides tailor their narration to the interests of each of their up to eight participants. They follow an organic, ever-changing tour route as they answer questions one-on-one and strike up conversation with each urban adventurer, eschewing common tour-guide tactics such as screaming the names of U.S. presidents. As they navigate city history from 42nd Street to 47th Street, the guides use their experience as actors and city museum historians to entertain and educate their small groups. They're also undeterred by parades and seasonal events, taking alternate routes when necessary to cast a light on the history of often-unseen landmarks. At times, they venture right into the special-event happenings to grant visitors a glimpse into city culture.
Over the course of each tour, guides expound on some of the city's oldest architecture, pointing out buildings in the Paramount and Beaux-Arts styles among other stone and glass structures dating back to the late 1800s. Underneath vibrant billboards and twinkling theater marquees, they reveal secrets of the famed theater industry, such as why Sardi's Restaurant became the place for theater artists to wait for their reviews. They also let guests in on ancient questions such as why the city decided to drop a ball on New Year's Eve, how Times Square got its name, and which pizza chef the Tony Awards were named after.