Step back in time with one of Big Onion's tours of New York's much loved neighborhoods. These are not tours for tourists, but tours for New Yorkers who want to know more about their city. Tourists are welcome, too, of course, but instead of skyscrapers and major attractions, Big Onion leads you into the streets of the city to uncover history, architecture, and little-known cultural treasures.
Walk the length of the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn Heights' haunts of Walt Whitman, Truman Capote, and Arthur Miller. Learn how Chelsea evolved from a farming to an industrial community where one of the yummiest products of industryŚthe OreoŚwas conceived. Ramble through Chinatown's rich cultural scene, eat your way through the Lower East Side, or pay homage to Harlem's legendary nightclubs. See Central Park through news eyes as your guide reveals how this seemingly natural landscape was actually constructed or explore the dark underbelly of the metropolis on the Gangs of New York tour. Whether you want to learn the history of punk rock in the Bowery or of wealthy entrepreneurs in Gramercy Park, Big Onion's guides will take you there.
Big Onion has led tours for nearly ten years now, recruiting guides from top local graduate schools whose scripts have been hailed as "hilarious" and "irreverent." Each walk is roughly one to two miles and takes about two hours to complete. Most tours don't require reservations, so just show up at the designated time and place (see the schedule) with $15 ($12 for seniors, military, and students). You can even get a Frequent Walker Card for $75 ($60 seniors and students) which gives you six walks (that's one for free).
I went on a Big Onion tour of SoHo a few years back and had such a great experience. My tour guide was so knowledgeable and funny. At first I was slightly embarrassed to count myself among the sheep in those big tour groups, but I quickly got over it!