Big Apple Greeter is a voluntary organisation which was set up to give visitors to NYC a personal insight into the Big Apple.
A Greeter meets you at your hotel and you get an hour's walking tour of your chosen neighbourhood, and it is all free. You even get a subway pass for the day. We had a great time. Check the websites for details.
We're normally people who cringe at the idea of organised tours but after a couple of days touring the city by foot and subway, it was nice to let someone else do the work.
It's impossible to get a true handle of the neighbourhoods in an open top bus but it's a good way of getting your bearings and snapping some good photos.
The guys selling the tours are polite but really just after the sale so don't really offer much in the way of explanation or advice. I don't think English is often their first language but that's no reason to to be fearful as all the tours are totally legit.
I do recommend the Brooklyn Tour. Although the photo opps are less than in Manhattan, we were entertained for a good couple of hours by the guide (Mr Siegel, didn't catch his first name). A true Brooklynite, he regaled us with his own family history and his own upbringing outside of The City. It was refreshing to have someone combine the official tour script with his own political opinions, his feeling about Manhattan and his hatred of the LA Dodgers! Make sure he serenades the bus with the Frank Sinatra song or ask for your money back!
Get on the main city tour and then hop off at the South Street Seaport to get your connection. Watch your timing as the last tour to Brooklyn starts about 3pm.
Get on at 8th and 49th, or 45th and Times Square.
Connection at South Street Seaport.
Get a free (but make a donation) personalised tour of New York for your family/small group, led by an NY born citizen.
You can suggest some things you'd like to see, they'll show you how to use the subway and bus - or anything you and they like. Book well before you go. It made the rest of our stay so much easier - and we'll use them again.
Totally customized private tour of New York City. Very personal and personable guide. Before you arrive, they work out an itinerary with you by email. Then, their guide takes you all around. It is much cheaper than you might think. Depending on the number of people in your family or group, it may actually be the best tour bargin in New York.
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