Theresa’s How to Plan a Trip to New York City Secret Guide for travelers who love authentic travel experiences and sustainability: I love New York City. All the boroughs hold fascinating discoveries. Once you get off the touristic path, you delve into the past through evidence of the history of the city and the present, in beating heart of the area of its local enterprises. Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash.
Getting off the beaten path gets you into authentic activities and up-close-and- personal with local artisans and manufacturers; it also supports local communities and allows them to grow and prosper. It is the perfect win-win.
So the next time you are planning a trip to New York City, here are some suggestions for exploring hidden gems.
Bring the Kids
Visit an urban rooftop farm. At Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms you can see how produce can be grown in a city. Go between May and October for a tour of the largest rooftop farm. They also have beehives throughout the city and you may be able to visit one or take a beekeeping class.
A Look into the Past
Take a walking tour with the Queens Borough Historian, Jack Eichenbaum who holds a Ph.D. in urban geography and is a proud Queens resident.
Made or Displayed in NYC
When you plan a trip to New York City, don’t forget the Made in Brooklyn-themed tours! They are designed to highlight all the micro-industries that have made this area so vital over the last decade or 2. It is time you went and saw for yourself. Dom Gervasi has curated fun and engaging neighborhood walking and bus tours designed to get you into the tasting, shopping and artistic bent of the entrepreneurs who are helping Brooklyn to thrive. The tours can incorporate the Brooklyn Waterfront and DUMBO areas or Williamsburg. Private groups are welcome to contact Dom to build their own itinerary.
If fashion is a passion, Windowswear takes you on a journey on Fifth Avenue to discover the fashion culture in and behind the windows on Fifth Avenue. Depending on the time of year you take one of their 2-hour tours, you can experience Fashion Weeks, Christmas, the Macy’s Flower Show.
Get to Know the Area by Bike
Get Up and Ride‘s fun insider bicycle tours in Brooklyn and Lower Manhatten should be part of your trip planning to New York City. They are designed to feel like a casual ride with friends, showcasing local art, trendy neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and great food. The small group size helps you get to know your guide and the city as you learn about NYC’s past, present, and future. Led by engaging locals, you not only learn about what you are seeing, but also get their personal insights and suggestions for the rest of your time in New York- or your next trip into the city. Tip: Although the minimum age for the regular group tours is 13, you may book a private tour for younger participants to join in, and have a custom-designed route. This would be great for families, Scout troops, etc.
Bike New York is a nonprofit that promotes bicycling and bike safety through education community outreach and events. They host larger rides, and offer pretty cool bike tours on a BYOB (bike) basis.
…Or on Foot
Turnstile Tours’ mission is to “advance public knowledge about the meaning of place, foster connections and understanding between people of diverse backgrounds, and inspire and reflect a culture of community participation through providing welcoming, well-researched, inclusive, and engaging experiences and resources to people of all ages and abilities.” They work with nonprofits to engage with and foster the growth of local social enterprises to build solid community foundations.
What does this mean for you? Great tours and insider access! They are based in Brooklyn and offer interest tours in military history, architecture, food, factory, Prospect park and the Navy Shipyard and Army Terminal. They can also customize private tours for your group or family.
Wave Hill. West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (main entrance), Bronx, NY
Tip: free admission days are Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 AM til Noon.
Previously owned and visited by a succession of prominent families and important figures since 1845, and built and developed to preserve the views along the Hudson River to the Palisades in New Jersey, today the 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx celebrates the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscapes, and explores human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts. Go here for a quiet stroll and to imagine the bucolic world the island once was.
Explore a New Neighborhood
When you plan a trip to New York City, go to City Island to get a New England feel. Located approximately 5 miles east of the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens and a walk over the bridge from Pelham Bay Park, this island is a slice of life you can’t find anywhere else. It is a fishermen’s village, full of Victorian architecture. Yachts and fishing vessels are docked in the marinas; there are waterfront cafes to enjoy a lunch and quaint ice cream shops for a treat. Decades ago, it was the place where America’s Cup yachts were built. You can get out on the water on boating or fishing excursions- you can even go diving! Enjoy it for the intact neighborhood vibe, and laid back city oasis.
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning, I’d love to help!
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