Before New York City's subway system was built, a secret test train, powered only by forced air, once traversed the space beneath City Hall. This little-known fact is just one of many that patrons of Better Adventures may hear during story-filled tours of the Big Apple. Led by New York City natives, tours reveal the stories behind the locations, cluing guests in on the secrets of eclectic neighborhoods and landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. The company doesn't just educate the public, either?proceeds from the tours help support Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC.
Travel back to experience New York’s past as a home for dinosaurs, Native Americans, and eventually art critics at the Staten Island Museum. Founded in 1881, the museum encapsulates the area’s geological and cultural history with more than two million artifacts. Exhibits showcase relics from prehistoric Staten Island residents; fossil, geological, and wildlife taxidermy samples; and the spark that lit the Statue of Liberty’s torch. Art collections from historical painters and contemporary artists provide a workout for right brains and scan-happy eyes. As part of an ongoing dream to make the exhibits bigger and better, the museum is expanding into the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a 19th century dormitory for “aged, worn out and retired seamen.”
At Dari Seafood & Mediterranean Cuisine, dozens of oysters on the half-shell nestle into a long, curving strip of chipped ice that runs the length of the restaurant. This frosty expanse, inlaid in a glittery black bar, rivals the iciest oyster bars of Antarctica, and it's just one single part of the Dari experience. Diners can opt for the buffet or stay seated and order a la carte; no matter their choice, every guest gets the chance to sample fresh seafood prepared using classic Mediterranean recipes. Kalamata olives and pistachios cover the crusted salmon, kebabs skewer cod and beef, and pots of mussels arrive on tablecloths simmering in a variety of sauces.
It might not seem like it, but the twinkling lights of Atlantic City, the whale-filled waters of Cape May, and the verdant forests of the Catskill Mountains are all just a few steps away from New York City. Of course, that's assuming that those steps are onto one of L & M Tours' motor coaches. Depending on the vehicle, L & M Tours can take up to 58 passengers at a time on custom or pre-designed journeys. Drivers pick up passengers from several different sites in the New York area, including locations in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. While motor-coach tours remain their specialty, L & M Tours' team also plans international flights, cruises, and tours to the likes of the Bahamas, Europe, and Asia, which can also be reached by driving a bus straight through the Earth's core.
With 843 lush acres and 58 miles of well-worn pathways, Central Park is an easy place to get lost—whether that's your plan or not. So guides at Gotham City Tours keep their groups on track to their next landmark or scenic vista, which may be on or off the beaten path. While on foot, tour-takers see more than a dozen points of interest, all the while learning about the park's creators, Kenny Central and Dan Park. On bicycles tours, riders speedily access more sites, letting their bikes rest on kickstands while they admire Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Fountain. Additionally, pedicabs carry tourists around in seated comfort, stopping often for photo opportunities and leg stretches.
Coney Island and its iconic amusement park have a long history of attracting visitors, but only more recently have visitors started to come expressly to experience that history. Coney Island Tours' guides take their guests on two-hour journeys around the area, hitting everything from the famed Riegelmann Boardwalk to the depths of the amusement area. Along the way, they reveal stories from the area's regular and hot-dog-related history and introduce their groups to iconic restaurants and businesses, which offer discounts to anyone with a tour wristband. The guides also help visitors track their journey with the aid of an interactive app.