CitySightseeing Cruises provides daily educational aquatic excursions on its double-decker ferries, familiarizing locals and visitors with New York's architectural icons. One-hour cruises around New York Harbor leave Monday though Friday at 10:10 a.m., 11:10 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 1:10 p.m., and 2:10 p.m.; Saturday at 10 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 12:40 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:40 p.m., and 3:40 p.m.; Sunday at 10 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 12:40 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:40 p.m. Tours circle famous landmarks such as Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and her underappreciated but equally important sister, the Statue of the Pursuit of Property. Commentary from National Park Service rangers, historians, and scientists sprinkle the tour with bits of knowledge on harbor ecology and its history of immigration and commerce, providing passengers with enough facts to fill awkward conversations with Alex Trebek.
Though Queens' myriad cemeteries earned it the nickname Borough of the Dead, that description could easily apply to the rest of New York City. And indeed it does on tours led by horror author Andrea Janes, who guides intrepid guests on mile-plus excursions through the city's haunted past. To set spines tingling, Andrea spins historically rich yarns of murderers, Satanists, and ghouls while wandering through Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery or past lower Manhattan's haunted taverns.
Tours exploring the dark side of New York's neighborhoods are just the beginning, though. "Perfect for those with a hankering for the horrendous," according to Time Out New York, Andrea's Edgar Allan Poe-themed Greenwich Village visits stop at places where the poet penned some of his timeless works. She also leads curious guests on crime and vice tours, which include a visit to Five Points and storied accounts of the19th century gangs of New York.
NYC Gangster Tours walks crime-curious tour groups on expeditions to the stomping grounds of New York's most notorious gangsters, sharing stories of their illegal dealings and violent ends. Tours traverse the East Village, Little Italy, and Chinatown neighborhoods, stopping in at historic social clubs, cafés, and alleyways where deals and whackings took place. Along the way, groups learn the tales of infamous gangsters including Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and John "Teflon Don" Gotti, so named for his invention of the nonstick fedora.
Foodlink, the regional food bank, provides food, nutrition, education and resources in Central and Western New York. As a member of Feeding America, Foodlink rescues and redistributes over 12 million pounds of food to 450 human service agencies.
A city's identity encompasses many elements, from its history and architecture to its art and culture. With Graff Tours, groups peek into each of those realms through a single lens: graffiti. During tours, guides and graffiti experts lead groups through the streets of major cities, including the birthplace of graffiti, Philadelphia. They showcase various types of art along the way—classic graffiti, wheat paste, stencil art, yarn bombing, and more—while explaining the content and importance of each piece. Much like blaring an Alexander the Great speech on your car speakers, tours are a mix of old and new, simultaneously highlighting the history of graffiti and demonstrating where the art is headed today. In addition to its group treks, Graff Tours also offers self-guided maps designed for specific neighborhoods for DIY excursions.
The licensed guides at Ghosts of New York usher guests on fun and spooky walking tours starring some of the city's most infamous sites. Explore the Big Apple's eerie side with Ghosts of the City, which seeks out the spirits of Walt Whitman, P.T. Barnum, and Joe Piscopo's career. Literary buffs will thrill to the pursuit of Edgar Allan Poe and fellow Greenwich Village specters Aaron Burr, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her pet dog Fala, said to be chasing its insubstantial tail to this day. Seekers of more modern frightening fare may opt for the Ghosts of the Upper West Side tour, which starts from the Ghostbusters building and moves on to highlight the haunts of Irving Berlin and John Lennon. Check out the calendar to plan your tour.