Back to the Old Country - The Ethnic Apple Tour
Our ethnic mosaic tour
Great urban vistas that are typically not seen. Ethnic neighborhoods that are part of the unique mosaic of the city. This great bike tour combines them both!
Fridays, 10:15 am - 5:00 pm, $99
Our tour begins with a ride over the imposing Queensboro Bridge high over the East River. Don't be confused by this bridge's identity. Immortalized in popular music under its nickname, the bridge has recently been officially renamed after one of the city's most charismatic, zaniest mayors ever. Once we've entered Queens, we'll head to Gantry State Park. At this historic location we can see restored "gantries" and learn about their critical role in the city's commerce in the first part of the 20th century. The view across the East River, directly opposite the United Nations and what was the world's tallest apartment building, provides an unforgettable photo opportunity.
As we enter Brooklyn, we have a first hand opportunity to appreciate more of the fascinating nature of the city. Is it like a "melting pot," in which diverse immigrant groups meld together? Or is it more like a "salad bowl," in which different cultures mix together but still keep their own customs and traditions? Or, is it a bit of both?
The most dramatic example of our salad bowl comes out bursting with flavor in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn neighborhood where Hassidic Jews continue their centuries-old culture of the most religious of Eastern European Jews. On Friday, the day before the Jewish Sabbath, with its strict prohibition on any "labor," the community is bustling! As we pedal on its main street and its side streets, you will find it hard to believe that you are in New York City in the 21st century! But we want you to do more than just stare, as we explain to you the traditional culture and how it has adapted, on its own terms, to the broader American society.
Just blocks away from Williamsburg is Greenpoint, a vibrant Polish neighborhood that keeps its roots with a sense of pride, food, and language. Here you see how New Yorkers live outside the frantic pace and congestion of Manhattan. Then, a simple turn of the corner brings us to the very "hip" neighborhood of younger, trendy New Yorkers, who bring with them their transportation of choice - the bicycle! Their ride, as well as ours, is across the Williamsburg Bridge, which provides more rarely seen views of the city and its skyline.
As we leave the bridge the pace of the city takes over, for we are in the heart of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Here early and recent arrivals from Europe, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and China are mixed together with assimilated New Yorkers. All are seeking an "inexpensive" place to live in Manhattan. And all are seeking, like generations before them, "a bargain" place to shop.
As we complete this tour, we pass directly in front of the United Nations. What better place than this to reflect on the unique urban mosaic that makes The Big Apple such a fascinating place to explore, especially by bike!
Enjoy a “Bike and Bite” delicious ethnic Thai or Polish luncheon! (food cost not included)
“I just wanted to say thanks for such a brilliant tour. I've been to NYC about four or five times and I have to say it was the best day I've ever had there!! Getting to explore the outskirts of Manhattan was great, the guides really looked after us and were pretty much able to answer every question put to them and were full of information about every place we went!!” -- Síobhra Rush, Dublin, Ireland
This tour leaves every Friday, year-round, weather permitting, at 10:15 am from the Upper East Side of Manhattan (near the 59th Street stop on the 4/5/6/N/R/W lines) (precise address will be given after booking is made). It is approximately 15 miles and will last about 6¾ hours. (It is also available, by special request, any weekday)
The $99 cost includes the bike, a helmet, the licensed tour guide in front and “sweep” in back ($10 less with your own bike).