People ask me, Lazer, where do you come up with the stuff about New York? Ok, I’m ready to spill the beans. Yes, I am in love with NYC and its history. I have several “go to” sources. First is a series on public television called Secrets of New York. The host of the show takes us into some of the really cool secrets about this great city. In fact, some of our neighbors have been on the show, for instance Jimmy Roberts, who helped run the Department of Environmental Control, did a wonderful show on the NY water supply system. So, if you ever see that show on, watch it!
There is also a book called the Secrets of New York. And there are many others that you can get that tell you about all these little things that nobody knows. One of the best ways to discover New York though, is to be a tourist, and when you are a tourist, well, you take tours. I haven’t done the whole bus thing yet, but I see it in my future.
I do like a group called New York Discovery Walking Tours. If you Google them, you’ll find some information online about them. But there is no website, you have to get on their email list. I have done two tours with them and they charge about $25 for a two-hour tour. I did a Ghost Tour last year around Halloween and it was great. It started in the East Village and ended up in the West Village with some very interesting macabre facts about old NY. I just recently did one in the West Village, a pub tour that included the Kettle of Fish, Marie’s Crisis, Chumley’s and The White Horse. It was really fun. We spent some time talking to the other folks, who were also mostly New Yorkers, and they had done a few tours too and they all realized that it was the same tour guide!
So, New York Discovery Tours offers about 20 or 30 different tours of New York, but we all had the same tour guide, which left us wondering is this really just a one-man show. The guide was a bit nerdy, like the actor Rick Moranis, but really informative. If anyone out there is interested, send a note in to The Rockaway Times and I will forward the email; it’s easy to sign up for their emails.
I was recently sitting on the steps of Federal Hall across the street from the NYSE eating a sausage and peppers hero, a tradition on Columbus Day when lower Broadway is converted into a street fair, when I spotted several tour guides with umbrellas shepherding groups around. I whispered to my son that if he ever saw me doing that to feel free to disown me. He looked at me and said, “Who are you kidding, you would love to do that.” And maybe he is right. Because as we were sitting there, a couple walked by and asked what this place was, and immediately I said Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. My son just looked at me and shook his head. Guess he was right! Hey, take the ferry in, take a tour, be a local tourist! Maybe you’ll get me as a guide.