What we’re about
This is a group for people either new to New York City, or have called the city home for awhile and are interested in discovering new neighborhoods and learning more about the city's fascinating history, architecture and culture. Most of our activities are professionally-guided walks of 3 - 5 miles within a NYC neighborhood that has distinct and unique qualities. They usually last from 2 to 4 hours. We sometimes have an optional social hour afterwards for a meal and/or a beverage at a local restaurant (except during COVID-19 for safety reasons). Barring any COVID-19 restrictions, during the summer months we usually combine a walk with a free outdoor concert, often in the evenings. During the winter we'll have shorter outdoor walks coupled with a museum visit ( if permitted under COVID-19 guidelines for indoor activities).
I also organize theme tours to add some spice and variety to honor holidays or famous New Yorkers. Our events are usually free with a voluntary donation of a dollar or two. When we have museum visits there may be an admission charge.
I started this group because I am a native New Yorker and have a successful dual career as a professional tour guide and real estate agent and I am affiliated with the prestigious Corcoran Group, which was started by pioneering entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran. I had a 25-year career as a social worker, including work in the South Bronx and throughout Brooklyn, and served on the teaching faculty of Columbia University, Fordham University, New School University, Hunter College and NYC Technical College.
I have a B.A, in English and a Master's Degree in Social Work, and have also been an exhibited visual artist with a focus on experimental and landscape photography. I love to introduce people to new neighborhoods and explore their past, present and future and also welcome the opportunity to learn from others. With the fast-pace of life here it is easy to overlook the hidden treasures and iconic buildings that we pass by every day. While I have a repertoire of touring a good 70 neighborhoods, I especially love Harlem (where I spent my formative years) due its many different areas, amazing history and beautiful architecture. Other favorites include the West Village, Lower Manhattan (where the City's history began), Flatiron/Gramercy, Upper West Side, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, Long Island City, the East Village and Washington Heights.
WAIVER OF LIABILITY
Your participation in the activities of Exploring NYC History and Neighborhoods acknowledges that you are solely responsible for your own assessment of your abilities and your physical fitness and health to participate in that activity.
As I have resumed in-person tours, proof of full vaccination is required to participate. You should also be physically fit and be able to walk several miles at a moderate pace. Given the added importance of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also important that participants are capable of being keenly observant of their surroundings.
There are always inherent risks that can cause or lead to injury, property damage, illness *including the coronavirus*, emotional trauma, disability or death to participants or others when participating in an activity. Some, but not all of these risks include: hazardous and unpredictable ground, water or weather conditions, traffic conditions, misjudgments made by the leader or a participant, the potential that a participant or others may act carelessly or recklessly, etc. etc.
Hank Orenstein and Exploring NYC History and Neighborhoods cannot assure a participant’s safety or eliminate any of these risks. The participant is voluntarily participating in our activities with knowledge of these risks, and therefore the participant must accept full responsibility for the inherent and other risks (both known and unknown) of these activities, and for any injury, damage, death or other loss suffered by the participant.
By joining any event conducted by Hank Orenstein/Exploring NYC History and Neighborhoods, the participant agrees to release and indemnify Exploring NYC History and Neighborhoods and/or Hank Orenstein with regard to any and all claims, liabilities, suits, or expenses (including reasonable costs and attorney’s fees) for any injury, property damage, illness including the coronavirus, emotional trauma, disability or death to participants or others in any way connected with the participation in an activity.
Upcoming events (1)See all
- Greenwich Village: Celebrating NYC's Most Impactful and Inspiring Neighborhood!Strand Book Store, New York, NY
Immediate sign up! One guest permitted. Space is set aside for new group members, first and 2nd timers who land on the waiting list. Email me at email@example.com to request your spot.
This tour is free with an optional donation to your guide at the end of the tour.
Make sure to take care of business prior to the tour. Restrooms in The Strand Bookstore are on the 2nd floor by the children's section. The store opens at 10am, fun browsing a well! In nearby Union Square and 14th Street try Whole Foods or Trader Joes. There's also a nice coffee shop a block away - Think Coffee at 123 Fourth Ave., between 12th and 13th Streets. On 8th Street and Lafayette is the new Wegman's which has restrooms on the main floor.
Meeting Place: On East 12th Street, around the corner from the bookstore's entrance.
Greenwich Village packs a lot of history and culture and for this reason captures important aspects of New York City’s development and as an attractive place for immigrants, visual artists, writers, musicians and political activists. It was also at one time the center of NYC's high society leading up to the Gilded Age and was the inspiration for the Henry James' novel Washington Square.
This tour will cover the heart of the neighborhood between Broadway and 7th Avenue South as opposed to the East Village or further into the West Village.
The Village has been the birthplace of NYC's art scene, coffee-house culture, off-Broadway Theater, the folk music scene with Bob Dylan and others launching their careers, the gay and gay and lesbian liberation movement. We'll also visit the South Village which some same was the "real Little Italy." Back in the mid 19th century the area was also known as "Little Africa" which included the leading African-American church and the first Black-led and owned Theater.
We'll make a stop at the recently unveiled extraordinary memorial for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire that occurred in 1911. This tragic event, according to eyewitness Frances Perkins, was "the birthplace of the New Deal." Perkins became the Secretary of Labor during FDR's Presidency and is known as "the mother of Social Security."
Additionally, as Greenwich Village is one of NYC’s oldest settled neighborhoods dating back over 200 years, touring the area provides an opportunity to survey various architectural styles of architecture.
The tour will end around 1:00pm near Sheridan Square/7th Avenue South, convenient to the #1, A,B,C,D,E,F subways.
Optional group brunch after the tour - please respond accordingly so I can plan in advance.
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