New York St. Patricks Cathedral - SeanPavonePhoto - fotolia

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tours

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a Neo Gothic-style cathedral that is at the corner of 5th Avenue and 50th St, across from Rockefeller Center.  St. Patrick’s, completed in 1878, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. On March 17, 2012, Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced that St. Patrick’s was to undergo a massive, three year renovation, both inside and out. Years or wear and tear, pollution and acid rain had caused the exterior to begin to crumble. The massive renovation began in May 2015 and cost nearly $200 million. One step inside and you will agree it was worth it. In this video you get a preview of the interior of the cathedral and a tour of some of the most sacred spots inside.


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St. Patrick's Cathedral New York

Photo by Jean-Christophe Benoist

Tours of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must-see on your trip to NYC.  The tours will also tell you about the intricacies of the architecture as well as the right history of the building.  The self-guided tour will also show you pictures of the Cathedral in its full glory.

  • Check the cathedral’s website for general information about tours.
  • Tours for groups of 10 or more must be scheduled in advance by calling 212-355-2749.
  • Walk-in tours on certain dates are available.
  • All Walk-In Tours begin at 10am (NOTE: tours may be cancelled if they conflict with a liturgical event)
  • All tours are free, but donations are accepted.
  • You can download the cathedral’s app here. The video clip below is a preview of what to expect from the app.
  • A multi-media audio tour is also available on held-held devices at the Cathedral.  Adult, Child and Spanish versions of the tour are available.  It includes narration by Cardinal Dolan and Monsignor Robert Ritchie, photographs and videos.
  • Check out St. Pat’s Google Places link.
  • All proceeds from purchases of the  self-guided tour go towards the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.


In 1853, at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Mulberry St, Archbishop John Joseph Hughes announced that he would build a new, larger cathedral uptown.  The church had purchased the plot of land that St. Patrick’s now stands on in 1810, but with no intention of building a new cathedral there.  People thought Hughes was crazy; the proposed site was considered near-wilderness and was far north of the existing city.  Hughes, however, insisted that the spot would someday be in the heart of New York City (he was right) and that he would build the most beautiful Gothic cathedral in the New World there. (Right again, Archbishop Hughes!)

The cornerstone for the new cathedral was laid on August 15, 1858.  The architect was James Renwick, Jr., and the proposed budget was about $850,000.  The church is made of white Tuckahoe marble.  Though the building progressed very rapidly at the start, it came to a grinding halt during the American Civil War and then resumed when the war was over.  In 1878, when the structure was completed, a fund-raising fair was held in the new cathedral.  The budget had not allowed for the purchase of furnishings.  $172,625 was raised during the fair, and on May 25, 1879 St. Patrick’s cathedral was formally opened.

Things to Do Nearby

Due to it’s central location in Midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is very close to several other NYC attractions, including:

How to Get from Newark Airport to Manhattan

JFK Airport to Manhattan

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

John F. Kennedy Airport is the largest and busiest of all NYC-area airports.  Located in Queens, about 15 miles from Manhattan, this airport has over seventy airlines operation out of it.  It handles most international flight into the NYC area, so if you are traveling from overseas, this will likely be your destination!  You have several options to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan once you arrive.   Read our posts on getting to Manhattan from Newark and LaGuardia as well as our post on layover ideas.

Tip: If you are here on a layover, you can store your luggage at JFK or several locations in the city.  Read our post on luggage storage in NYC.   Also, don’t forget to take a look at our free New York Tours.

The AirTrain + New York City Subway

By far the cheapest option to get from JFK to wherever you are staying.  Just follow the signs to the AirTrain, and then got off at either Howard Beach or Jamaica Station to connect with the subway.  You can connect with the A Train at Howard Beach or the E, J and Z trains at Jamaica Station.  You will need to purchase a MetroCard for the AirTrain.  Rides within the airport terminals are free, but you will have to pay to get to the outer stations where the subway connections are.  Then you will need your MetroCard to ride the subway.

Read our blog posts on how to purchase a MetroCard and how to navigate the New York City subway system.

  • Total Cost: $7.50 ($5 for the AirTrain and $2.50 for a single subway ride) NOTE:  There will be a $1 charge to get a new MetroCard.  If you already have one you can refill it free of charge)
  • Travel Time: varies depending on your destination.  But plan on 40-60 minutes to get to Midtown Manhattan.
  • Pros: The cheapest option by quite a bit!! Also, during rush hour traveling by subway can be faster than being on the roads in a taxi.
  • Cons: If you have a lot of luggage you will have to maneuver it around quite a bit more than you would with a cab

Air Train + Long Island Railroad

A quicker, albeit more expensive option to get into Manhattan.  You will have to take the AirTrain to connect with the Long Island Railroad at Jamaica Station.  From there you will take the train to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan.  Something to bear in mind when calculating cost, however, is that depending on where you are staying you may still need to get on the subway or hail a cab when you get to Penn Station.

  • Total Cost: $15.50 (includes the AirTrain cost of $5 and the LIRR fare.   Please note that this price is for peak-time trains.  Off-peak trains will be slightly cheaper.)
  • Travel Time: approximately 35 minutes
  • Pros:  Quicker than the subway and still significantly cheaper than a taxi
  • Cons: Same issues with large amounts of luggage as with the subway.  It is doable though!

Shuttle from JFK to Manhattan

GoAirLink and Super Shuttle are ride sharing services that have the door-to-door benefits of a taxi but is significantly cheaper. You will be assigned to a van with other passengers heading to the same general area as you.  You can request GoAirLink and Super Shuttle from the Ground Transportation desk in the Baggage Claim area.

  • Total Cost: $19 for an adult
  • Travel Time: Can vary.  If you are sharing a full van (11 passengers), you might be the first dropped off or you might be the last.

GO Airlink NYC

  • Pros: Has the convenience of a taxi and is much cheaper
  • Cons: Can take a very long time.  Passengers often have to wait at the airport until there are enough people for a mostly full van, so plan to sit and wait for a bit.

Bus from JFK to Manhattan

TransBridge is a bus service that offers service from JFK to Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd Street and 8th Avenue). Depending on where you are staying you may need to take a taxi or a subway from Port Authority.  You can check out the bus schedule at

  • Total Cost: $23
  • Travel Time: will vary with traffic
  • Pros: Reasonably priced!
  • Cons: Will take a bit longer than other options and you may still need to travel once you get to Port Authority

Private Car Service 

Hoping to avoid the hassle of taking public transportation? Consider using a private car service. GroundLink is a black car service that specializes in airport transfer. They’ll take you to the airport from anywhere in the city. Guests are also able to see the cost of the service before requesting it, so there are no surprises when  the bill rolls around. They’re also incredibly dedicated to timeliness. If a driver is more than 5 minutes late in picking you up from your destination, then a $75 credit is added to your account.

  • Total Cost: Will vary depending on destination.
  • Travel Time: Again, will vary depending on destination
  • Pros: Very reliable and easy. If you’re already looking into taking a taxi out to the airport, it may be smarter to use a private car service instead as costs are competitive.
  • Cons: More costly than many of the other options. Also, as with all driving options, there’s a chance that you’ll run into traffic on your way into Manhattan, so be sure to evaluate whether your desired departure time coincides with rush hour.

Taxi from JFK to Manhattan

A taxi is definitely the most hassle free option, but it is also by far the most expensive.  You can get a taxi at any of the taxi stands, which will be located just outside from the baggage claim area.  PLEASE NOTE: Travelers are encouraged to only use the official taxi stands, and not to accept rides from solicitors in the terminal.  Many of them are operating illegally.  Also, check out discount sites, such as Groupon and Living Social, for discounted rides from JFK airport.  

There is a limit of four passengers per taxi (or 5 in a minivan), so if you have a larger party you may need to split up into different cabs.

  • Total Cost: There is a flat fare from JFK to any destination in Manhattan, which is $52. (This does not include tip or bridge tolls, which should also be calculated into your fare.)  Destinations in other boroughs will vary in price, as they are done on the meter.
  • Travel Time:  Travel time can vary greatly depending on the time of day and the traffic.  Though the airport is only about 15 miles from Manhattan, the trip can be 30 minutes or more.
  • Pros: The most direct door-to-door trip.  This is an easier option for travelers with a lot of luggage.
  • Cons: More expensive than the other options listed.  After tip and bridge tolls you will pay over $60 to get to Manhattan

Bus from JFK to Manhattan

TransBridge is a bus service that offers service from JFK to Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd Street and 8th Avenue). Depending on where you are staying you may need to take a taxi or a subway from Port Authority.  You can check out the bus schedule at

  • Total Cost: $23
  • Travel Time: will vary with traffic
  • Pros: Reasonably priced!
  • Cons: Will take a bit longer than other options and you may still need to travel once you get to Port Authority

Stay at or near JFK Airport

If you have a late flight and would like to have a good sleep before starting your visit to Manhattan, World Airport Codes JFK Airport Hotels lists a few of the hotels near the airport, where you could stay the night after or before your flight.

  • Total Cost: Prices vary depending on the hotel. You can choose from budget to the most luxury options, according to your needs and taste.
  • Travel Time: There are no hotels at the airport at the moment, but the closest is only two miles walking from the airport.
  • Pros: Relax and start your journey with a fresh feeling!
  • Cons: Will take a bit longer than going into town straight away, and it’s definitely more expensive than sleeping at at the airport 🙂
New York City Hall banner

New York City Hall Tours

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

New York’s City Hall, located in Lower Manhattan, is the country’s oldest city hall that is still used for its original purpose. While most of the city government offices are now housed in the big, magnificent Municipal Building, the Office of the Mayor and the City Council Chambers are still located in the City Hall building.

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Tip: Take a New York City Hall Tour after or before one of our Lower Manhattan tours! (see calendar for dates/times.)

Where is City Hall?

New York’s City Hall is located in Lower Manhattan within walking distance of the Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. You could make a day of visiting all 3.  It’s location means that it’s easily accessed by most major New York City subway lines.  We recommend using this Google map for directions to City Hall.

Where is New York's City Hall

New York’s City Hall has a rich history, and they offer FREE tours to the public! They are a great supplement for any day spent in Lower Manhattan.

How To Take a New York City Hall Tour

  • There is a “reservations only” tour on Thursday mornings at 10 am.  Click here to make a reservation.
  • There is a “first-come, first-serve” tour every Wednesday at noon. Sign up begins at 10am at the tourism kiosk at the southern end of City Hall Park (Broadway and Barclay St.) Sign up continues until 11:30am, but spots fill up quickly so the earlier you can get there, the better.
  • All tours are one hour long.
  • Groups for both tours are limited to 20 people (sign up early!).
  • Recommended minimum age for guests is 9 years old.
  • Price: FREE!!
  • For the advance reservation tours your guide will meet you at the Nathan Hale statue in City Hall Plaza.
  • For the first-come, first-serve tours the meeting point will be the tourism kiosk where you signed up.
  • For both tours you will be require to go through a security checkpoint. Bring a photo ID with you.
  • There are many subway lines with stops near City Hall. They are: the 4,5,and 6 train City Hall/ Brooklyn Bridge stop, the 2 and 3 train Park Place stop, the W and R trains City Hall stop and the A and C train Chambers Street stop.

The present day City Hall is actually the third one in the city’s history. In the Dutch colonial era (when the city was called New Amsterdam), the city hall was called Stadt Huys (State House, in Dutch) and was located on Pearl Street in a former tavern. The city government operations then moved to a new home on Wall Street in 1700, where they would remain for the rest of the British colonial era. The Wall Street building also served as the first United States Capitol Building for New York’s brief period as the US capitol city. It resumed functions as City Hall when the capitol was moved to Philadelphia, and continued as such until the present building was opened in 1812.

Plans for the current City Hall began in 1802, when the city had a design competition for the future building. The competition was won by the design team of Joseph Francois Mangin and John McCombs Jr. Mangin, the principal designer, was born in France and came to New York in 1795. He was the architect of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral. McCombs was a native New Yorker (his father had worked on the previous City Hall) and he also designed Castle Clinton. The team was awarded $350 dollars for their design.

Though the competition was in 1802, construction did not begin until 1810. This was due in part to objections from the City Council, saying that the design was too extravagant and costly. The architects re-worked the design, making the building smaller and reducing the amount of marble used. They decided to only have the façade done in marble and to use cheaper brownstone on the back. The site for the City Hall was at the far northern edge of the present city, so they reasoned that not many people would see the back anyway. Midway through construction, in 1811, the City Commissioners unveiled the grid plan for Manhattan, which quickly moved the city northward. The mismatched back and front of the building was not remedied until 1954, when the entire building was refaced with Alabama limestone.

By Katherine Weatherford

Best Hostels in New York City

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

 Hotel room prices can take a big bite out of your budget for your trip to the Big Apple – but we at Free Tours by Foot want to let you in on tips that will make your stay in New York City both affordable and comfortable.  More and more, travelers are looking for alternatives to large chain hotels with costly rooms and staying in new, high-quality hostel/hotel hybrids.

Best Hostels in NYC

Other Hostels in NYC

Cheap Hotels

Best Hostels in New York

There are many different hostels in NYC that offer a range of experiences. Some, like HI International and Jazz Hostels, are more youthful and attract those hoping to meet new friends. Others, like the Pod Hotel and NYC Budget Inn, are much quieter and offer greater privacy — making them perfect for business travelers. And the NYC Loft Hostel is a very hip hostel in Brooklyn that falls somewhere between the two!

Though hostels are much cheaper than hotels, they are still more expensive in NYC than many other places in the world. If you can’t find something within your budget, be sure to check out the Eurocheapo New York website.  They specialize in budget accommodations and actually visit and review those they have stayed at.  Another interesting and affordable option is to offer yourself as a house sitter. Trusted Housesitters (US) pairs homeowners with house-sitters.  You take care of the plants and pets in exchange for free accommodations.   Sounds like a great deal.  They also offer our guests 10% membership when you use FREETOURS10 at checkout.

The Guardian newspaper also has a great article on house sitting. Visiting New York City does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. You’ll need those legs to join one of our many walking tours and bike tours!


HI International NYC – 891 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

HI International NYC is part of the global hostel chain, Hostelling International, which is known worldwide for their clean and modern accommodation. This particular hostel is located in an old castle-like building near Central Park. They offer group club outtings on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as comedy, improv, and variety shows in the theater room 4-5 nights a week. The hostel features a large garden, which is actually the largest privately own green space in the city! 

Reviews of HI International NYC 

HI International NYC is the highest rated hostel in New York City. It has 4 stars on Yelp, 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, and 8.9 on Hostelworld. Nearly everyone who writes a review has nothing but positive things to say about it. People are especially impressed with the hostel’s cleanliness, friendly staff, and convenient location. They even have curtains around each bed to allow for some added privacy in the dorm rooms. All around, highly recommended!

New York Loft Hostel – 249 Varet St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Stay in hip East Williamsburg/Bushwick neighborhood at the award winning New York Loft Hostel.  The Loft Hostel focuses on private rooms and rooms with 2 or 3 beds.  They offer many amenities, including a computer room, partner fitness center, sun deck, back garden, bar and many regularly scheduled social events to assist the traveler in making new friends in the Big Apple.  It’s a great place to take our Bushwick Graffiti and Street Art Tour.

Reviews of New York Loft Hostel 

The New York Loft Hostel receives very good reviews and maintains a 4 star rating on both TripAdvisor and Yelp. People seem especially pleased with convenient location in Brooklyn that some say is “perfect for a solo female traveler” because it is in a safe neighborhood. Others praise the hostel for being an easy place to make friends and socialize. The only complaints come from those who had issues with the staff, but reviews like these are uncommon. 

New York Budget Inn — East 34st Street at 3rd Ave

So just how much money can you save staying in a private room at a New York hostel? The New York Budget Inn. has private rooms and dorm-style rooms, with either private or shared bathrooms.  Let’s say you are a group of 3 travelers–if you are comfortable sharing a bathroom with other guests (as has been the norm for decades around the world in small hotels/hostels), you could pay as little as $40 per person per night!  This establishment also offer activity nights, including pizza night, karaoke and much more.

Reviews of the New York Budget Inn

Though it doesn’t have quite as many reviews as some of the other hostels, the New York Budget Inn maintains an impressive 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and 4.5 stars on Yelp. Most of the guests seem to be travelers who come to NYC for business and want the quiet and comfort of a hotel, but for the price of a hostel. This is a great compromise and highly rated by those who have stayed here. 

The Pod Hotel – 145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016; 230 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022

If you are willing to trade room size for a hi-tech, chic atmosphere ideally situated in Midtown Manhattan, The Pod Hotel is for you.  Prices vary depending on the number of guests and if you choose a shared or private bathroom.  A great savings for two travelers can be had in the “Mini Bunk Pod”. For $200 (plus tax) you’ll get a modern, sleek room with stacked beds, free wi-fi, private bathroom, a media docking station, LCD tv, concierge service and a rooftop deck and stylish lounge area.

Reviews of the Pod Hotel 

The Pod Hotels maintain an average of 4 stars across all review sites. Many say that their experience was better than expected and that it is perfect for 1-2 nights. Pod Hotels aren’t quite as social as some of the other youth hostels, but it does offer a lot more privacy and quiet. Despite the rooms being small, they have many amenities and are very modern. 

Jazz Hostels – 36 W 106th StNew York City, NY 10025-3805


If you are looking for a fun atmosphere to meet other guests to explore the city with, then one of the Jazz Hostels are for you.  With several locations around Manhattan, each with a different vibe, but same array of amenities, you can’t go wrong. Choose between a single, double, or dormitory style room. Fee linens and towels, A/C in all rooms and a 24-hour reception are available. 

Jazz Hostels Reviews

Reviews of the Jazz Hostels in NYC are generally very positive, with people rating them between 3  – 3.5 stars on TripAdvisor and Yelp. This a great hostel chain for those looking for a fun social environment. Critical reviews tend to come from those who wished the hostel offered a bit more quiet and privacy. Also, some were disappointed that the wifi only worked in the common areas. However, this is clearly noted on their website and shouldn’t come as a surprise!

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Other Hostels in NYC

Broadway Hotel & Hostel – 230 W 101st St, New York, NY 10025

Rating: TripAdvisor – 3.5 stars; Yelp – 3 stars, Hostelworld – 7.8 stars

City Rooms NYC Chelsea – 368 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Rating: TripAdvisor 4 stars; Yelp – 3.5 stars

City Rooms NYC Soho – 120 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013

Rating: TripAdvisor – 4 stars; Yelp – 3 stars

American Dream Hostel – 168 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010

Rating: TripAdvisor – 4 stars; Yelp – 4.5 stars ; Hostelworld – 8.8 stars

Royal Park Hotel –  258 W 97th St, New York, NY 10025

Rating: TripAdvisor – 3 stars; Yelp – 2 stars

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New York Cafe Wha

Cafe Wha? Origin of The Name

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

Having fueled the careers of many individuals in the Beat, Folk, and Rock ‘n‘ Roll generations, Café Wha? is a must see for anyone interested in the Greenwich Village scene of the 1950s, and ’60s. Because of its contribution to the music and culture of the time, it is a regular stop on the Greenwich Village Tour of Free Tours by Foot.  You may also be interested in a guided tour on the rock and roll history of Greenwich Village.

When you are in Greenwich Village, be sure to use our Map of Greenwich Village and Neighborhood Guide.



Started in the 1950s as a coffee house by Manny Roth — uncle of David Lee Roth. According to Manny, if you pumped people full of enough caffeine from the cappuccino machine, they did not miss the beer.  In January 1961, Bob Dylan came to New York City to see Woody Guthrie. On his first night in town, Dylan played a set of Guthrie songs at Café Wha? Jimi Hendrix was discovered here; Peter, Paul & Mary (Mary Travers was a waitress here) and Bruce Springsteen often played here, as did comedians Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby. On the MacDougal Street front is a list of performers names, from Lou Reed, to Kool and the Gang, and even The Lovin Spoonful.

According to David Lee Roth, when the café was open by his uncle, it was operating without a name. Manny would ask patrons what he should call the place and people all had different ideas. But the name — says David Lee on a video that can be found on the Café Wha? website — comes from an exclamation made famous by his Russian Jewish grandmother. With her broken English, Manny’s mother would growl “Wha?” when at a loss for a comment or answer. Hence, the name “Café Wha?”

David Lee Roth of Van Halen tells of his early memories of Cafe Wha?


Located in the heart of the Village scene, Café Wha? is on the corner of MacDougal across from the Minetta Tavern, up the street from The Gaslight Café — regular haunts of Dylan, Dave VanRonk, Joan Baez— and down the street from the home of Pete Seeger and around the corner from the former Gerdes Folk City….

As with all things, this area changed over the years. The club was sold by Manny in 1968, featuring for a while ethnic music. But in 1987, it was brought back to its original music format. A house band now plays several nights a week, with guest performers interspersed on the calendar. The Café Wha? Band is billed as “The Best Damn Band in New York City.”

To reach Café Wha?, take the A, C, E, or B, D, F or M trains to West 4th Street. Exit the subway station at West 3rd Street and go East (up the slight hill) on West 3rd to MacDougal. Make a right and Café Wha? is on next corner.  Use our Google map for directions to Cafe Wha?

By Tour Guide Renee Rewiski

Free New York Brewery Tours and Tastings

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

Craft beers have become immensely popular in recent years.  New York City is home to several breweries, and a couple of them actually offer FREE tours of their facilities.  This is a perfect outing for any beer lover, whether you are a local or just visiting!  Here are some tips on taking advantage of these free New York brewery tours.

TIP: If you are planning on purchasing a tourist discount pass, some include beer tastings tours and pub crawls.  Read our post to see if a discount pass is a good fit for you.

Be sure to also read:


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Rest in Peace Pete Seeger; You have earned it

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

Folk musician, song writer, environmental and political activist Pete Seeger passed away on Monday, January 27, 2014 at the age of 94. Seeger was a regular face in the Greenwich Village scene of the 1950’s and 60’s, playing at the Village Vanguard as well as local coffee houses. Seeger lived at 129 MacDougall Street  for many years. In a PBS American Masters program, Pete Seeger stands outside the green Federal style building and notes this is where he lived, “although it did not have a plate glass window in front when we lived here.” Today, a restaurant is housed on the first floor on the building. The structure, two doors down from Provincetown Playhouse, is a stop on the Greenwich Village Walking Tour by Free Tours by Foot.

Pete Seeger wrote and collaborated on more than 200 songs, many of which were recorded by folk, blues and rock groups throughout the years. The Byrds in 1965 had a No.1 hit with “Turn, Turn, Turn,” Seeger’s interpretation of Biblical verses found in the book of Ecclesiastes. “Where have all the Flowers Gone,” became an anti-Vietnam war anthem. Seeger takes credit for the name of the song “We Shall Overcome,” an old gospel song that became the anthem of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Seeger said he changed the word from “will” to “shall.”  The video blow is a short clip on Seeger singing “What did you learn in school?”

Singing with The Weavers in the 1950s, which included several well-known folk singers,  Seeger popularized “On Top of Old Smokey, ” “Kisses Sweeter than Wine,” and “Wimoweh,” as well as “Sixteen Tons,” and “Kumbaya.”

Because of early early sympathies with the Communist Party, Seeger was blacklisted and snubbed for many years. He went on to say he should have left the party earlier and that he was a Communist with a small “c.”

Seeger’s identification with the working class went back to his upbringing and travels with his parents who wanted to bring music to the masses of the country. His songs have been used by several social and political movements. He said in an interview that music can say things you would not dare say otherwise.

The latest efforts by Seeger were to wipe out the pollution in the Hudson River. He started environmental cruises of the Hudson with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. By bringing attention to the pollution in the Hudson River, Seeger became instrumental in having corporations take responsibility and clean up the river.

Pete Seeger was active until the end of his life, performing in a 2009 concert benefiting the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater along with Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Emmylou Harris and dozens of other musicians; singing with the Occupy Wall Street movement along with Arlo Guthrie; and he sang at the inaugural of President Obama.

Gospel Music Harlem

Gospel in New York – Besuch einer Gospelkirche

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

Der Besuch einer Gospelkirche in New York ist wahrscheinlich für viele Besucher ein einmaliges und unvergessliches Erlebnis wenn sie in New York sind. Anstatt an einer teuren Gospeltour teilzunehmen, genügt oft schon die eigene Recherche, rechtzeitige Planung und Zeit. Hier sind einige Tipps für einen Besuch einer Gospelkirche in New York. In der Nähe des Theater Distrikts, in Brooklyn, sowie in weiteren Teilen Manhattans werden Sie fündig (das Video unten zeigt den Adult Praise Choir der Times Square Church). Falls Sie an einer unserer Stadtführungen teilnehmen, können wir Sie auch auf die unten gelisteten Gospelkirchen hinweisen:  Jeweils dienstags um 11 Uhr vormittags findet ein Harlem Gospel und Soul Food Erlebnis mit einer unserer Stadtführerinnen statt. Unabhängig davon bieten wir zudem Harlem-stadtführungen an.

Tips und Etiquette

Unsere Top 2 Auswahl

Gospel Touren


TIP: Falls Sie vorhaben, den New York Pass zu kaufen, interessiert es Sie vielleicht, dass 2 Gospel Veranstaltungen im Deal einhalten sind. Zum einen ein Gospel-Spaziergang Sonntags um halb zehn, sowie einer am Mittwochabend. Erfahren Sie mehr zum Thema, ob und wenn ja welcher New York Touristenpass der Richtige für Sie wäre (English), auf unserem Blog.

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WO KANN MAN EINEN GOSPEL CHOR IN NEW YORK FINDEN: hilfreiche Tipps einen Gospel mitzuerleben, ohne an einer teuren Gospel-Tour teilzunehmen.

  • Finden Sie am besten vor Ihrer Anreise heraus, wann ein Gospelchor stattfindet. Gospelkirchen haben ihren Service zu unterschiedlichen Zeiten, und nicht jeder Gottesdienst beinhaltet automatisch einen Gospelchor. Informieren Sie sich über Zeiten auf der jeweiligen Webseite der Kirche.
  • Halten Sie sich an die Benimmregeln. Viele Kirchen haben extra Besucherseiten auf ihren Webseiten. Lesen Sie diese, um peinliches Auffallen zu vermeiden. Jeans, Flip Flops und lässige Kleidung sind unpassend, Handys müssen ausgeschaltet sein, und auch das Fotografieren ist oftmals untersagt. Wichtig ist, sich vor Augen zu halten, dass der Gospel ein religiöser Akt des Gottesdienstes und keine musikalische Showeinlage ist. Seien Sie darauf vorbereitet an dem gesamten Gottesdienst teilzunehmen; dieser kann ca. 2 Stunden oder länger dauern. Falls Sie daher lieber ein Show-Erlebnis suchen, dann empfehlen wir Ihnen z.B. Harlem Gospel Chor Sonntags-Brunch bei BB Kings.
  • Planen Sie genügend Zeit ein. Ein Teil des Gottesdienstes mit einem Gospelchor ist die Predigt, die sehr bewegend sein kann. Es wird als unhöflich angesehen, den Gottesdienst mittendrin zu verlassen, daher planen Sie genügend Zeit für die gesamte Länge des Gottesdienstes inklusive Predigt ein.
  • Geben Sie eine kleine Spende für die Kirchengemeinde. Diese freuen sich über Besucher, allerdings kann sich auch hier keine Kirchengemeinde ohne die Unterstützung ihrer Mitglieder und Gäste über Wasser halten. Religiöse Einrichtungen, die wertvolle Gemeindearbeit leisten, sind nicht profitorientiert und daher kommen alle Geldspenden einem guten Zweck zu Gute.
  • Vermeiden Sie Touristenmassen. Besuchen Sie lieber die kleineren Gemeinden – ihr Erlebnis wird genauso einzigartig, aber dafür weniger überlaufen sein.

Gospel choir

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Times Square Church – 1657 Broadway.  Die Times Square Church befindet sich in einem rekonstruierten Broadway Theater mitten in Midtown Manhattan und ist eine nicht konfessionsgebundene Gemeinde mit Mitgliedern aus über 100 Ländern. Der Adult Praise Chor singt 4-mal die Woche. Mehr Informationen und Zeiten finden Sie auf der Webseite.

Brooklyn Tabernacle.  Den Brooklyn Tabernacle Chor gibt es schon seit 40 Jahren und er ist so gut wie nie; in 2013 wurden sie zum Singen zur Präsidentsamtseinführungsfeier eingeladen. Der Tabernacle liegt in Downtown Brooklyn an der 17 Smith Street  zwischen Livingston und Fulton Streets, Tel.: (718) 290-2000. Sonntagsgottesdienst findet um 9 Uhr, 12 Uhr, und 15 Uhr statt.

Extra Bonus: Je nach Zeitpunkt können Sie in Brooklyn im Anschluss an unserer Brooklyn Heights Tour teilnehmen, die nur einige Blocks von dem Tabernacle entfernt beginnt.

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Falls Sie Manhattan bevorzugen, hilft es auf die kleineren Gemeinden auszuweichen, da insbesondere in den größeren Gemeinden der Besucherandrang oft zu groß ist, um alle Besucher unterzubringen. Natürlich ist der Besucherandrang nicht ohne Grund so groß. Hier ist eine Auswahl weiterer bekannter Gospelkirchen in Harlem:

Abyssinian Baptist Church – 420 West 145th Street zwischen Convent und St. Nicholas Avenues, Tel.: (212) 234-6767.  Gottesdienst am Sonntag findet um 9 Uhr und 11 Uhr statt. Die Gemeinde heißt Gäste zum Gottesdienst willkommen. Es wird allerdings auch hier nicht angeraten nur zum Gospel zu kommen, sondern Sie sollten sich Zeit für den gesamten Gottesdienst einplanen.

Greater Refuge Temple – 2081 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard an der 124th Street, Tel.: (212) 866-1700. Gottesdienst am Sonntag findet um 11 Uhr, 16 Uhr und 19.30 Uhr statt.

Mount Neboh Baptist Church – 1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard zwischen West 114th West 115 Streets, Tel.:  (212) 866-7880.  Sonntags findet der Gottesdienst um 8 Uhr und um 11 Uhr statt.

Canaan Baptist Church – 132 W. 116th Street zwischen Lenox & 7th Avenues, Tel.: (212) 866-0301.  Der Gottesdienst am Sonntag findet um 8 Uhr und um 11 Uhr statt. (Ab dem 1. Juli auch um 10 Uhr).

First Corinthian Baptist Church – 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard zwischen West 115th und West 116th Streets, Tel.: (212) 864-5976. Sonntags findet der Gottesdienst um 8 Uhr und um 11 Uhr statt.

Bethel Gospel Assembly – 2-26 East 120th Street, zwischen 5th und Madison Avenues, Tel.: (212) 860-1510.  Sonntagsgottesdienst: 8 Uhr und 11:30 Uhr.

*Zeiten ohne Gewähr.

Harlem hat mehr zu bieten als nur Gospel. Lernen Sie mehr über den Stadtteil Harlem auf unserer Zahl-was-du-willst Harlem Stadtführung zu Fuß.  Reservieren Sie sich Ihren Platz!

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Falls Sie vorhaben den New York Pass oder den Explorer Pass zu kaufen, dann sind in dem Pass bereits zwei Gospel-Erlebnisse mit enthalten: Einmal ein Gospelspaziergang um 9:30 Uhr jeweils sonntags oder am Mittwochabend. Beide Veranstaltungen beinhaltet jeweils ein Gospelerlebnis. Hier haben wir ein paar Tipps ob sich der New York Pass für Sie lohnt.

Es gibt zudem jede Menge Touranbieter die Gospeltouren jeweils sonntags anbieten. Gray Line z.B. bietet am Sonntag sowie am Mittwoch Gospeltouren an. Ausserdem gibt es Gospeltouren, die mit einem Brunch verknüpft sind.

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Wir bieten dienstags um 11 Uhr unsere Harlem Gospel und Soul Food Experience Tour an. Anders als bei offiziellen Gospel-Choren, gibt es auf unserer Tour keine formale Kleiderordnung, und keine Warteschlange. Nehmen Sie teil und zahlen Sie was Sie möchten.

Nehmen Sie an unserer 14 Uhr Harlem Tour teil, die mittwochs um 16 Uhr endet. Danach haben Sie genug Zeit für ein traditionelles Soul Food Abendessen und Sie können abends den Gospelchor der Abyssinian Baptisten Kirche um 19 Uhr am Mittwoch besuchen.

Lernen Sie mehr über den Stadtbezirk und die Hauptattraktionen in Harlem auf unserer Zahl-was-du-willst Harlem Stadtführung. Reservieren Sie sich Ihren Platz! Unsere Stadtführer können Ihnen auf unseren Stadtführungen ( auch erklären, wo sich einige Gospelkirchen befinden. 

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New York City Skyline

The Downtown Culture Pass | Save Money in New York City

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

One thing is for certain: there is a LOT to see in Lower Manhattan.  It can be tough to get everything in, time-wise, during your stay in New York.  It can also be a bit hard on your wallet.  The Downtown Culture Pass can help visitors to the city save money and still be able to see almost everything that this neighborhood has to offer.  

Many of these attractions and sites are seen from the outside on our pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan Tours. If you are already downtown, come join us and learn even more about the history of the area. 


Downtown Culture Pass

It is a pass that gives you 3 days of admissions and discounts to more than 12 Lower Manhattan attractions,  including museums and tours, all within walking distance of each other.  The Pass gives you a savings of up to $75 if you were to visit these attractions and pay individually!


  • Adults: $25
  • Youth (Ages 7-17): $8
  • Children under 6: FREE


The Downtown Culture Pass can be purchased via their website.  You can also buy them in person at the following locations, which are sites included in the pass:

  • The Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall Street
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place

TIP: Be sure to downbload the app DowntownNYC, the official mobile app of the Downtown Culture Pass


National September 11 Memorial Museum 180 Greenwich Street  212- 312-8800

The country’s principal institution concerned with exploring the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events, and exploring 9/11’s continuing significance.  To find out more about the Museum, ticket prices, free hours and what tours are available, see our detailed post How to Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in NYC.



Fraunces Tavern Museum  54 Pearl Street, 212.425.1778
Open Monday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm.  (Closed on federal holidays except for Presidents Day and July 4th)

Fraunces Tavern Museum is the only Manhattan museum that is dedicated to Revolutionary War history. It was where George Washington bid farewell to all of his officers in 1783, at the end of the American Revolution.  The small but wonderful museum explores the history of both the war and of life in general during the early days of the United States. (Bonus: the food served downstairs in the restaurant is great!) Admission with Downtown Culture Pass: FREE  

Federal Hall National Memorial – 26 Wall Street 212.825.6990Federal Hall Wall Street George Washington Statue
Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5 PM; Closed Thanksgiving and December 25

It was here that George Washington took the oath of office as our first President, and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices.  For more detailed information and history, see our post about the Federal Hall National Memorial.  Free admission


Wall Street Walks 
See Wall Street with an insider. Wall Street Walks are led by members of the Wall Street financial community, so you will get the inside scoop! Learn about the amazing history of one of the oldest parts of NYC. It’s not all stocks and bonds though- the company offers a tour called “Patriots, Pirates, Prostitutes, and Taverns” and it offers a look at the more scandalous elements of colonial New York. Also offered is a tour detailing the history of the finance industry in the city, from its origins underneath a buttonwood tree through the present. Receive 50% off of tour tickets.  (Tickets are normally $25/person)

TIP: If the timing isn’t right you may find other tours, or our self-guided tour worth a look. Click here to see more.


Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall Street 48 Wall Street Museum of American Finance
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm (Closed for national and stock market holidays)

The museum, located in the former headquarters of the Bank of New York, educates about both the history of finance in the US as well as the current financial systems of this country.  There is a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibits. Admission with Downtown Culture Pass: FREE + 10% shop discount Regular Admission: $8 (for adults)

National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian Institution, 1 Bowling Green 

Museum of the American Indian New York Sculpture

Open every day (except Christmas) from 10am-5pm.  On Thursdays, it is open until 8 pm.

The National Museum of the American Indian is housed in the historic Alexander Hamilton Custom House, and celebrates a wide variety of Native American cultures.  There are permanent and temporary collections as well as a variety of programs.  Because this is a Smithsonian Museum it is always free to the public, but Downtown Culture Pass holders receive 10% shop discount.  


New York Water Taxi  Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport; Slip 6 in Battery Park  212.742.1969 New York water taxi
Operates daily

There is no better way to take in the New York City skyline than from the harbor!  New York Water Taxi offers a wide variety of harbor cruises so that you can see NYC at its best. Choose from many sightseeing harbor cruises or specialty events (see website for schedule).  Pass holders get $10 off.  

TIP: There are lots of other ways to enjoy New York City from the water, some even for free! Check out our post to find out how.


The Anne Frank Center USA – 44 Park Place  212.431.7993

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM, Closed July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.
Experience an interactive exhibit preserving Anne Frank’s diary and legacy. Hear her words, share her story. View artifacts from her days in hiding in a lifelike simulation of her attic room.  Admission with Pass and 10% shop discount.  


 Museum of Jewish Heritage  – 36 Battery Place (at First Place)  646.437.4202
Sunday – Tuesday, Thursday 10 AM – 5:45 PM, Wednesday 10 – 8 PM, Friday 10 AM – 5 PM 
Friday & eve of Jewish holidays 10 AM – 3 PM; Closed Saturdays, Jewish holidays, and Thanksgiving

Explore Jewish history and heritage before, during, and after the Holocaust through life-affirming personal stories that provide insights into a resilient and multifaceted culture. Admission with Pass and 10% shop discount.


9/11 Tribute Museum 120 Liberty St (between Church & Greenwich St)  866.737.1184
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday 10AM6PM, Tuesday 12 – 6 PM, Sunday 12 – 5 PM
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Through walking tours, exhibits and programs, the 9/11 Tribute Center offers “Person to Person History,” linking visitors who want to understand and appreciate the historic events with those who experienced them. Admission with Pass.


NYC Municipal Archives Visitors Center – 31 Chambers Street, Suite 112 (bet. Centre & Elk St.)
Open to the public Monday to Thursday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM, Friday 9 AM to 1 PM

Located in a stunning Beaux Arts building, the Visitor Center’s exhibitions highlight the collections and interpret themes and topics in city history that draw from the rich resources of NYC’s Archives and Library. Always free; Pass holders receive a 15% CityStore discount coupon


The Skyscraper Museum  39 Battery Place (at First Place) 212.968.1961
Wednesday – Sunday 12 – 6 PM

New York City’s iconic skyline is filled with skyscrapers.   Because Manhattan is a relatively small island, we had no choice but to build up rather than out.  Businesses throughout the 20th century fought to build higher and higher buildings and maximize their space.  This museum celebrates the history of the skyscraper and its place in New York City throughout its history. Admission with Downtown Culture Pass: FREE +10% shop discount


FUN FACTS:  Love skyscrapers? Learn more about the 10 Most Iconic New York Skyscrapers. 


South Street Seaport Museum Ships at Pier 
16 Bowne & Co., Printers at 209 and 211 Water Street,  212.748.8600
Daily 10 A.M. to 6 P.M  Closed (holidays): Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

South Street Seaport Museum preserves and promotes this historic district along the East River. South Street Seaport Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Port of New York and the maritime history of the region through its historic buildings, artifacts, and a fleet of sailing vessels.  The South Street Seaport Museum’s historic print shop, Bowne & Co., Stationers, located at 211 Water Street, is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 A.M. – 7 P.M.  Admission with Downtown Culture Pass: FREE +10% off at Bowne Stationers


The New York City Police Museum Museum is closed until further notice.  212.480.3100
Through its exhibitions, collections and educational programming, the Museum illustrates how the policies and culture of the NYPD have evolved over time to meet the changing needs of the City.


Poets House – 10 River Terrace 212.431.7920
Library & Reading Room Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 11:00 AM–7:00 PM, Saturday, 11:00 AM –6:00 PM, Children’s Room Hours: Thursday–Saturday, 11:00 AM– 5:00 PM
Peruse the 60,000-volume poetry library and see exhibitions that focus on the physical and visual expression of poetry. Children and their adults are invited to visit the Children’s Room (Thurs-Sat, 11 AM–5 PM).  Always free; Pass holders receive a poetry anthology


African Burial Ground National Monument  290 Broadway  212.637.2019
Indoor Visitor Center – Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM; Outdoor Memorial Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5 PM
Closed Thanksgiving and December 25
African Burial Ground National Monument, part of the National Park Service, is the first national monument dedicated to Africans of early New York and Americans of African descent. It began being used in the 17th or 18th century, but was only rediscovered in the past 20 years. The story is both of the Africans whose holy place this was, but also the story of the modern day New Yorkers who fought to honor these ancestors. Always free



The Downtown Culture Pass can save you a lot of money if you plan on taking in most of the attractions in Lower Manhattan.   If you did everything included in the pass you could save over $80! (As compared to paying full price admission as an adult.)   Even if you don’t do absolutely everything, the savings will be pretty good.  So if you have a few days to take in this amazing neighborhood pick up a Downtown Culture Pass!



We offer numerous tours of Lower Manhattan that include Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, the Brooklyn Bridge and the surrounding areas of the attractions and museums included with the Pass.  See our tour schedule and join us for one of these tours: 

World Trade Center and 911 Memorial Tour: From the history of the World Trade Center to the tragic events that led to tales of heroism, we’ll cover the memorial and St. Paul’s Church. This tour does not include entrance into the museum. 

Lower Manhattan: Our most popular tour of the financial district and the history of New Amsterdam, as it was called.

9/11 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour: An illuminated tour of the 9/11 Memorial to the City Hall and Woolworth skyscraper, this night tour ends half way across the Brooklyn Bridge for stunning night views of Manhattan.


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Dollar Bills Museum of American Finance

How to visit the Museum of American Finance in NYC

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City.

The Museum of American Finance is a relative newcomer to the world of New York City museums.  The museum, located at 48 Wall St, has only been in existence since 1988.  Originally called the Museum of American Financial History, it was first located in the US Customs House at Bowling Green, and then in the Standard Oil building at 26 Broadway.  The museum got a new name and then a new home in 2008 when it was relocated to the former headquarters of the Bank of New York.

IMPORTANT: The Museum of American Finance is currently closed due to damage caused by flooding.  There is no announced reopening date for May 2018.  For more information, please click here.

TIP:  There is a way to see the museum for free (read on).  For more tips on saving money when visiting New York City, check out our blog tag for New York on a budget.  You can also check out Goldstar which often has 50% tickets.



Be sure to check out our blog post on other things to do in Lower Manhattan.

Whether you have an MBA or you are completely befuddled by the US financial system, the Museum of American Finance has something for you!  The museum aims to not only preserve the history of the country’s financial system, but to educate the public about both that history and our present financial system.  Permanent exhibits include an exhibit about Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and a Founding Father of this country.  The museum also boasts a collection of over 10,000 artifacts relating to finance, including old stocks, bonds and bank notes.

A Bit More About The Building…

The museum is housed in the former headquarters of the Bank of New York, the oldest bank in the United States (est. 1784).   Bank of New York was founded by Alexander Hamilton himself, and was the first corporate stock to be traded at the New York Stock Exchange.  The current building opened in 1929, and the Bank of New York remained at this location until the 1990s.  The Museum of American Finance now occupies three floors of this historic building.


How To Visit the Museum of American Finance

Museum of American Finance

Days Open: Tuesday-Saturday

Note: The museum is closed for national holidays and stock market holidays

Hours:  10am-4pm



  • $8 for adults
  • $5 for students/seniors
  • Free for children 6 and under




Admission is included in Downtown Culture Pass.  It is also included in the New York Pass.  Read about the New York Pass and the other tourist passes in our blog post.


How to Get to The Museum of American Finance:

The nearest subway stations are:

2-3 Train: Wall St. Station

J Train: Broad St. Station

R-W Train: Rector Street Station

1 Train: Rector Street Station


A Few Things to Know…

  • In addition to the permanent collections, the museum offers temporary exhibitions.  At the time of writing (January 2014), the exhibition is “The Fed at 100,” an exhibit exploring the history and role of the Federal Reserve Bank, which is celebrating its centennial.

  • The museum offers a variety of special events and hosts many guest speakers.  Check out what is coming up at their website; to see what is offered during your visit!

  • Large bags and packages are not allowed inside.  Leave the big shopping bags at the hotel!

Make A Day Of It!!

For a full day in the Financial District, you could visit the Museum of American Finance and take one of our Lower Manhattan Tours!  (See our calendar for dates/times.)

Written by Katherine Weatherford