We specialize in private tours for individuals, families and groups—led by top New York City-licensed guides. Our focus is on both the iconic and the new in some of the most dynamic parts of the City–with a specific focus on Queens. Because the boroughs outside Manhattan are more extensive and public transportation options less convenient, we frequently structure our tours using comfortable passenger vans to minimize transportation time between featured points of interest. We can also build our tours around public transportation (subways, buses and taxis) when distances aren’t too great. Here are our essential set itineraries for the post-Manhattan explorer:
Queens 101—City Skyline to Surf City $750—up to 12 guests*
This 4-hour van exploration–designed to give you an overview of Queens–starts in Long Island City, hits key spots in the borough including Rockaway Beach before heading back to Long Island City. Queens 101 is the only comprehensive tour of the place Lonely Planet picked as it top USA destination for 2015. What makes Queens so special? It’s the City’s largest, most economically and culturally diverse borough–and home to many of its most distinctive assets and attractions. It’s the best views of the Manhattan skyline combined with spectacular waterfront parks and hip neighborhoods along the riverfront. It’s top flight and totally unique museums; world renowned sporting venues including the world’s largest tennis center—home to the US Open; the City’s oldest house of worship, which played a key role in the development of our nation’s cherished principle of freedom of religion; and stunning nature including the country’s largest urban wildlife preserve and the longest stretch of ocean beach in any city in the country. The history of this tremendous natural asset—from grand moneyed resort through astonishing neglect and deterioration to its current re-emergence as a “lo-fi” year-round beach and surfing community—also serves as a striking cautionary tale about the toxic undersides of some urban “renewal” schemes.
We also visit Flushing Meadow Park, home to World’s Fairs, the iconic Unisphere–the largest global structure in the world, that tennis facility noted above and the Queens Museum. One of the museum’s principal exhibits we’ll explore is the world’s largest scale model—a nearly 10,000 square foot miniature version of New York City.
Queens is also the most ethnically and culturally diverse political entity on the planet, so immigration past and present is an essential part of what we discuss as we explore various neighborhoods along the #7 train line—the “immigrant express”. All that diversity also makes for some fascinating and vibrant neighborhoods and some of the best destinations for ethnic food in the city.
And for the jazz enthusiast, Queens is a particularly special place since some of the greatest names in the genre, including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, John Coltrane, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne, all called the borough home. We’ll talk about all that jazz, and why Queens became the community of choice for jazz greats and other notable African Americans at the time in the context of the Great Migration of African Americans out of the South. And we’ll also “swing” by where many of these jazz greats lived! And that’s just the beginning. . .
*Please call for special pricing options for groups of less than 5 or greater than 12
The Queens 7 $75 per Person – Minimum 4, Maximum 10
This 3-hour walking/public transportation jaunt is a shorter version of our Queens 101 Tour, focusing on some of the neighborhoods along the # 7 subway line also covered by our Queens 101 Tour. The #7 also passes through the new Queens of riverfront parks and dynamic neighborhoods that has exploded into life across the East River from Manhattan—as well as through Flushing Meadow Park, home of the Unisphere, the USTA Tennis Center and those alien spacecraft! Subway fare for stops along the way is included in the tour.
In addition to these itineraries we can also build custom private tours for you. We know the territory, but you know what you’re interested in–so just let us know what that is and we will custom design the experience you’re looking for. Call us for details. Here are just a couple of possibilities:
- Hit the water–explore Queen’s amazing river and ocean-facing waterways, the City’s harbor and beyond by small boat; learn about their unparalleled historic, commercial and recreational significance; and see the City as few visitors ever do
- Deep dives into specific cultural and neighborhood experiences