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All tours are on level or gently sloped ground. Tours are ideal for ages 14 through adulthood, and are handicapped accessible. Sturdy shoes, a water bottle, and weather-appropriate clothing are always recommended. Tours are generally two hours long, though walking distances vary per tour and per weather.
Join me for this colorful tour of 5th Avenue retail palaces, which endeared themselves to the Ladies of Fashion while displacing them from what was initially New York’s most exclusive and expensive residential real estate. We will enjoy the architectural details of these and other sumptuous Fifth Avenue buildings while learning about the quirkiness, genius, and motivation that fueled the ambitions of their creators and propelled New York to become fashion capital of the world.
Saturday May 12th, 2018 1 PM
Wednesday July 11th 2018, 1 PM -
Monday June 18th 2018, 10 AM
Architectural / Historical Walking Tours of Manhattan withDeborah Zelcer
Licensed NYC Tour Guide #2054130-DC
Terminating the remains of the opulent 5th Avenue luxury retail zone sit the still-reigning hospitality jewels of yesteryear. The surviving triumvirate of The Plaza, The Pierre and the Sherry Netherland Hotels are notable Grande Dames of hospitality . These luxurious destinations have catered to discriminating travelers and local residents wishing to wake at the doorstep of rarified purveyors of finery, connoisseur quality restaurants, and the timeless romantic elegance of Central Park. Lets explore tales behind the creation of these landmark abodes, and their relationship with the evolving character of Millionaires Row and the changing city beyond. (good for inclement as well as good weather, as much of the tour is indoors)
After the Civil War, stewards of our young nation sought to develop artists with talent to rival that of Old Europe. Their goal was to elevate the level of refinement of the average American, and prove that we could be preoccupied with more than the almighty Buck! On this pleasant Museum Mile trek, we will discover how the keepers of our first cultural collections defined art and decided what would or would not hang within their walls, in the process competing with each other and the highbrow institutions overseas. This is an outdoor tour focusing on museum architecture as a reflection of their founders and the collections inside. Tour includes viewing and discussion of the exterior of the National Academy of Design and Whitney Museum uptown (now the Met Breuer), as well as the landmarked Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museum facades.
Saturday July 14th 2018 1 PM -
A new way of seeing an old classic. The Erie Canal and industrial expansion propelled New York City to the economic forefront in 1800s America. People flooded in to seek opportunity. Yet, inadequate housing and sanitation bred epidemics and squalor. Old World monarchs and aristocrats and Southern plantation owners derided the Yankee and his unholy metropolis. Join us to discover how the stewards of New York development addressed these problems, while hoping to elevate American culture and unite the city's disparate classes, religions and ethnicities through the gift of a Central Park.
Wednesday August 1st, 2018 1 PM
Inspired Insanity - Nikola Tesla in New York!
Down the High Line - Former Path to Hell!
Historic Harlem, from the 1600s to its Renaissance and Beyond
Saturday May 26th, 2018 1 PM -
Puritans, Immigrants and Slaves - Central Park and the Vision of a Cohesive Society:
Saturday May 19th, 2018 1 PM -
Altmans! Bergdorf! Saks! -
A History of Elite Shopping on Fifth Avenue
The Little Pillbox Hat Tour : (wear your favorite version!)
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Preservation of Our Architectural Treasures
Step off the sidewalk and back in time to the glamorous twenties. Explore the backdrop of that romantic and high living era by joining me to view magnificent period lobbies on or near Park Avenue, including the Waldorf Astoria, the Fred F. French Building, the former Shelton Towers Hotel, the Chanin Building, and the iconic Chrysler Building. These opulent landmarks are local place markers in the chronology of architectural form. Learn about the frenzied one-upsmanship that bred the 1920's race to build the tallest building in the world, and the colorful characters that competed in it, forever transforming the skyline of New York and creating a vivid new language of architectural style. (tour can be modified in foul weather to be mostly indoors)
Saturday July 7th 2018, 10 AM - in honor of his birthday:
offered through the Municipal Art Society of NY
Decked Out in the City - Deco Era Buildings and NY Glamour
From quietly influencing the powerful people she was surrounded with, to outright personal action, JKO fought to advance an enlightened cultural agenda inspired by her storied upbringing. Join me to learn about the very important role that our most unforgettable First Lady played in defining good taste, high culture, and the importance of preserving the livability and distinctive architectural character of American cities. We will visit buildings associated with her charmed and often not-so-charmed existence, and consider her very important advocacy work in shaping and preserving New York.
Saturday June 30th, 2018 1 PM
While socialism emerged in the 1800's European utopian dialogue, New York artists sought to make their mark on the international art scene. Our walk will illustrate how this utopianism was adapted domestically, through the genesis of cooperative living arrangements, originally by and for artists. Their goal was to enhance innovation and collaboration through proximity to an extended creative community. Join me on a visit to the West 67th Street Artists Colony; a string of well designed and appointed cooperative residences that to this day are peopled with creative individuals. Then let's stroll down to West 57th Street to see the institutions that were originated by these dynamic individuals - Carnegie Hall, the Art Students League, and other beautiful classic studio buildings along the way.
The Grande Hotels of Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza
Not Starving Artists : How the 1800s Art Scene Spawned the Co-op
Join ProwlerNYC to Prowl the local haunts of the mad genius who brought us the Induction Motor, Current Wars, power distribution, a deluge of patents, and a fantastic deserted monument designed by the eminent architect Stanford White, meant to generate wireless power, graphic images, sounds, data and maybe even a focused DeathRay into the aether toward an unwitting recipient! Backed and then deserted by the Robber Barons of the last century, Tesla’s musings, inventions and rantings predicted and gave form to our modern technological era. Join me to walk in the footsteps of this eccentric and colorful resident who left a charged impression on Our Fair City.
Art Wars - The Met, MoMA and the Whitney,
and What Each Will Argue Is Art:
Join me for a very Picturesque Prowl through historic Harlem, once a bucolic estate setting for gracious mansions, later a hub for European immigrants, and then the destination of southern Blacks fleeing Jim Crow and migrating to the North in pursuit of jobs and rights. We will visit settings associated with all of these phases of Harlem's history, while concentrating on the emergence of the Harlem Renaissance, that wonderful period of Harlem history when the creativity of Black writers, musicians and performers became a sought after and much admired influence on American and world culture. We will walk through Sugar Hill, past Hamilton Grange, Hamilton Heights, the historic City College campus, Strivers Row, and the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and see sites where well known Harlem residents lived. We will end this enlightening and pleasurable Prowl at a special pavilion to view historic WPA era murals depicting the lives of Harlem's Black residents. Allow two hours for this tour on urban sidewalks, either level or downhill.
Sunday June 3rd, 2018 1 PM
Thursday June 14th, 2018 1 PM
What a meat market! Join me for a colorful Prowl through Manhattan's gorgeous new park, where drug addicts, prostitutes and gay/transgender life flourished in the years before its magical renaissance in the early 2000s. We'll have a colorful discussion about the industrial, architectural and social history of this pulsing artery traversing sought-after neighborhoods that restored or replaced former rail yards, food markets, slaughterhouses, and dark recesses that accommodated the seamier side of life. Join our parade of peeping Toms as we peer through glass facades at area occupants who willingly reveal their lives to this public promenade. We will learn how the High Line's history still shapes its future, while becoming familiar with Hudson Yards, Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and prominent old and new buildings nearby.