Tag Archives: NYC Walking Tours

I heart NYC

Why I Love New York City

“Living in New York must be so exciting,” friends from outside the city often remark. And they are right, it is exciting, even after 26 years residing here. I’ve lived in about a dozen apartments, moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back to Manhattan again. And, I’ve had twice as many jobs as apartments.

The view I am lucky to have in Manhattan!

Still I’m enthralled with New York City, thrilled by the frenetic energy, captivated the residents and our collective scrappiness in the face rent that is just too damn high, the artistic events on offer 24/7/365. I groove on the toughness–though not rudeness–of the folks I meet every single day on the streets, on the subway, in the stores, grabbing a cup in coffee shops and sitting next to me at live theatre, music, storytelling, comedy, and other events. These people, New Yorkers, are my people. I’ve been meeting more and more natives recently, but it’s also true a lot of folks come from elsewhere. Some come in search of fame and fortune, most come for a sense of freedom to express themselves in various ways that are not encouraged nor welcomed where they grew up, and most everyone I know likes the anonymity the city provides, at least sometimes.

Anonymity on the Cheap

Have we met before?

There’s definitely nothing like the “Big Apple” and taking a bite of it puts a spell on those who dare to do so. It’s the difficult lover you can’t leave, the too-expensive bling you buy anyhow, your eccentric aunt who dresses as she pleases and says exactly what she wants, or your outrageous, creative friend from high school who moved here to get out of their home town. And, even if you don’t have a friend like that, you will meet one here!

I’m so tired of those NYC v. LA lists! Even worse are those painfully angsty articles about people trying to “decide” to leave (really they’ve already decided, but want to get paid to write an article about it), or those who have left and want to burden us with how they are coming to terms with it and are oh, so glad they left.

I want to talk about what New York City means to me, someone who loves the place, with all of its flaws.

New York City Subway Platform

Please step aside and let the passengers off the train.

First, let’s talk about the subway. Sure, there are stalls and delays, and the weekends are all fucked up, and especially hard for visitors to understand. But, that’s because work is being done to improve the structure and therefore, the service. Of course, the price for a ride is too high, but folks, the NYC subway is so clean and runs so beautifully compared to just a few decades ago. And, may I remind you that the MTA is moving more than 5.5 million individuals around New York City and her boroughs EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. That’s a lot of people! And when a tourist asks directions on the subway, not only do they get an answer, they receive the assistance of many local riders, all of whom are convinced their route is the best way to get the visitor to their destination.

Building a a snowman in Times Square

Crossroads of the world.

On the day I am writing this, it happens to be snowing. Many New Yorkers seem to be afraid of snow, even though it snows here ever year. Activities today have been cancelled, and lots of folks who made plans with other folks are unwilling to fulfill them. But, other folks carry on, trudging through the slippery danger of un-shoveled sidewalks (there a law to do so, btw) and delighting in the white stuff.

There are the skyscrapers, the parks, the street art, the yellow (and green) taxis, and so much more! Local Expeditions has recently added several new tours to cover the bountiful urban beauty and rich history of this city. On our GATWAY: THE IMMIGRANTS tour we  walk through the Lower East Side, a district shows that within decades how the Irish Five Points became in turn the Jewish quarter, then Little Italy, now Chinatown and today’s Courthouse District. If you take the JACKIE ROBINSON’S BROOKLYN tour you’ll find out why no other major league team in 1947 was willing to sponsor a black man on the field–Brooklyn welcomed it! If you are appalled by the actions of our current 2017 POTUS like we are, you’d love our F@CK TR#MP: CHEAP ETHNIC EATS IN MIDTOWN foodie adventure where we’ll visit West African steam tables in Chelsea, food courts in Koreatown, Pakistani grills in NoMad, Indian buffets in Curry Hill, etc., etc. etc.  as long as your feet and stomachs hold out! And, if you are a romantic and like NYC love stories, check out the sneak-peek of our GOWANUS? YES, GO ON US!

And, there are the bodegas. And bodega cats. Both are staples of NYC life, especially in the boroughs. Recently someone posted a review on Yelp calling out a bodega cat. The response was swift, fierce, and very funny.

Photo of a cat

Everyone needs a job.

As a queer person, I love that NYC protects 31 gender identities. This is something that is extremely important in the current fascist political regime when our federal government, along with many states and cities, are passing laws allowing discrimination against transgender people, LGB folks, and other gender and sexual minorities.

Gender Identity Chart

Guide to NYC’s Protected Gender Identities

At the end of the day, New York City feeds my craving for living amongst like-minded creative folks. And, I don’t mean only artists and writers, but New Yorkers of all stripes who make it here despite all the obstacles.

To-Go Coffee Cup

No sugar? Say it twice. Say it loud. Say it clear. (The default is a “regular” which has two tablespoons and milk.)

That’s why I love New York City–it’s my one and only!

Logo for The New York Times Travel Show

Local Expeditions at The New York Times Travel Show!

Logo for The New York Times Travel Show

At the Javits Center, NYC

We are thrilled to be part of The New York Times Travel Show and if you are an attendee of the show, please take advantage of our 2-for-1 offer on all our tours from now until February 3rd.

Our guides will lead you off the beaten path to explore the nooks and crannies of NYC’s most interesting neighborhoods, including DUMBO, Gowanus, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Victorian Flatbush, and Park Slope in Brooklyn; Washington Heights, Hell’s Kitchen, the East Village, and the early morning flower district in Manhattan; and Flushing in Queens.

Check out a sneak peak of some of our tours:

Citibike DUMBO begins in Manhattan at a CitiBike kiosk near the Manhattan Bridge. We ride very slowly (this is not extreme sports) as the bike gives us an opportunity to get to DUMBO and enjoy some beautiful vistas and hear some stories along the way. This also gives you a chance to get used to our excellent CitiBike program so you can enjoy some of the city’s great bike paths on future trips to New York.

Go to Hell! See Hell’s Kitchen, New York’s most misunderstood neighborhood with our food enthusiast and local expert Ziggy.  Learn about the neighborhood’s complicated and violent history, where Irish gangs once ruled the streets. You’ll get to explore Hell’s Kitchen’s many secrets including gardens, churches, and many great eateries outside the tourist path.

Gowanus? Yes, Go On Us! From its humble beginnings as a meandering creek to a lush salt marsh dotted with gristmills, the Gowanus Canal and its surrounding neighborhood, has experienced a renaissance over the past several years. A thriving community of long-time residents (as well as newcomers who are drawn to the area’s gritty, industrial appeal) reside amongst the more than 300 artists who rent studio & gallery space in re-purposed factory buildings.

And these video sneak-peeks are just a sampling of a fantastic selection of expeditions such as:

And many more!

Check our calendar and sign up for a tour that strikes your fancy and bring a friend for free! And, don’t forget to stop by Booth 872 to say hello to us at The New York Times Travel Show 2017.

P.S. Do you like street art and graffiti? Check our a sampling of the visual feast you’ll see on our tours!


MUSEUMS: Off-the-Beaten-Track Finds in NYC

There are the Met and the MoMA, of course. And the Whitney, the Guggenheim and the Brooklyn Museum, which has raised its visibility and stature in recent years. But, plenty of other museums in New York City exist that are worth a visit. It’s not easy to ferret out what institutions are here, when they are open and where to find them, so we’ve put together this guide of some of the most interesting, important, and off-beat museums to seek out.




Band in front of MoRUS

Reclaim it, people!

MoRUS, the Museum of Urban Reclaimed Space, is an effort of love, a small historical museum of grassroots activism run by volunteers. MoRUS documents “efforts to create community spaces on the Lower East Side, especially those that ‘reclaim’ space that has been taken over by city bureaucracies or corporations.” MoRUS also has exhibitions and educates about the “political implications of how social structures shape and control our space and take a long-term historical perspective on how the urban landscape evolves through cycles.” If you want to see NYC through the eyes of a LES (Lower East Side) activist, the Museum of Urban Reclaimed Space is the place for you! Located on the LES at 155 Avenue C (at E 10th Street), MoRUS asks for a $5 donation. Closed on Mondays, the museum is open 11AM-7PM Tuesday and Thursday-Sun and 11AM-3PM on Wednesdays.




I found the Skyscraper Museum when I was making a NYC itinerary for friends from Copenhagen who are into architecture and engineering. It’s a cool place, billing itself as “the world’s first and foremost vertical metropolis” with lots of engineering history, urban planning information, design esoterica, and architectural models and displays to view – and you don’t have to strain your neck in the process! The Skyscraper Museum is located in Battery Park in lower Manhattan at 39 Battery Place. Museum and hours are 12-6 PM, Wednesday-Sunday. General admission is $5, $2.50 for students and seniors and all galleries and facilities are wheelchair accessible.




Leslie Lohman Museum Logo

Founded as a non-profit foundation in 1987 by Charles W. Leslie and Fritz Lohman

A good choice for anyone with an interest LGBTQ art and history, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is the prime forum in NYC for preserving and exhibiting LGBTQ art and artists. Located in SoHo, Leslie-Lohman, not only exhibits artwork, but also puts on plays, hosts storytelling series, film screenings, readings, and other LGBTQ-related events. The space houses a permanent collection comprised of 30,000 objects dating back to the 1600s. These two collections are stored in five locations and have been professionally cataloged and preserved. Located at 26 Wooster Street (between Grand and Canal Streets), the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is open 12AM-6PM, Tuesday-Sunday
12-8PM on Thursday, and closed on Mondays and all major holidays. Admission to Leslie-Lohman is free and the museum gallery is fully wheelchair accessible.




Collage of Images

The Pop Up is also a community partner of Riot Grrrl Ink, the largest queer label in the world.

For a more grassroots perspective on LGBTQ art, history and activism, check out the offerings of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History. I’ve seen some amazing exhibitions at this museum, which pops up at various locations. Their website states, “The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History is a grassroots organization that transforms spaces into temporary installations dedicated to celebrating the rich, long, and largely unknown histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We believe that our community – and especially our youth – deserve to know our history. If you don’t know you have a past, how can you believe you have a future?” Check out The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History’s Facebook page for current information.




Peace Symbol

Peace Here Now

The Peace Museum NY is not quite yet a reality, at least not in a physical, bricks and mortar sense. But its stated mission, to use participatory “arts, community, public space, positivity, and joyful events to shift our global value system to one of love, compassion, generosity and inclusion, inspiring all to find peace in their own hearts in order to create, celebrate and share peace in our world, now,” is certainly a reality! The organization sponsors regular bike rides to places of peace and does, indeed inspire. Find the Peace Museum NY on its website and on Facebook, where new events are added all the time.




Civil Rights Activists

Civil Rights Activists

Geared toward global activism with a Black Feminist focus, the Museum of Women’s Resistance (MoWRe), according to its Facebook description, puts on “year-round exhibitions and programs that include historical and contemporary objects, as well as commissioned art, sculptures, textiles, and pottery. Video and sound stations provide selections from historical and contemporary interviews, literature, proverbs, prayers, folk tales, songs, and oral epics from the African continent as well as the African Diaspora. MoWRe has a special focus on promoting Transnational as well as Black Feminist histories and traditions, and is especially interested in promoting women’s demonstrated capacity to reach across chasms of race, class, sexual orientation, geography, and religion to mount resistance and build movements for social justice. Located at 279 Empire Blvd (between Rogers and Nostrand Avenues) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Museum of Women’s Resistance is open 10:30AM-5:30PM Monday through Friday. Entrance fees are as follows: Adults, $7, Seniors & Students, $5, while children get in FREE.




Skeletons and Portraits

Exploring the intersections of death, beauty and that which falls between the cracks.

Of all places, the Morbid Anatomy Museum truly has something for everyone. You’ll find, of course, exhibits, lectures, a library – and a cafe. Just want a cup of coffee, hold the morbid? The cafe is open from 8AM – 8PM Monday-Friday, 10AM – 8PM on Saturday, and 10AM – 6PM on Sunday. The museum roasts their own pour-over blend which they call Black Gold. And, they use espresso roasted by the local roasting company, Variety.

The Morbid Anatomy Museum hosts the kind of temporary exhibitions that very few larger museums can produce; shows both large and small, drawing on private and public collections and calling on the scholarship and expertise of the greater Morbid Anatomy community. Their permanent collection houses a research library of over 1,000 books as well as artifacts such as memorial artworks, medical moulages, wax embryological models, natural history specimens, and a variety of uncanny artworks and artifacts from around the world.

The exhibition space & library are open from 12PM – 6PM, every day except Tuesday. Admission to the exhibition & library is $12. Seniors & students are $10, and children 12 and under are free. The store is open from 12PM – 8PM Monday-Saturday and 12PM – 6PM on Sunday.

We at Local Expeditions have a tour in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood that stops at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy. Check out our sneak-peek promo of GOWANUS? YES, GO ON US!

Do you dig a museum on the down low in NYC you’d like to share with folks who like to #DoWhatLocalsDo? Please tell us: localexpeditions@gmail.com and we will share your favorite museum on social media!