At once intensely historical and painfully cutting-edge, Brooklyn is a world apart: home to some of the city's oldest brownstone buildings, and birthplace of the hipster. Of all the ways to explore Brooklyn, venturing out on foot is among the best option for locals and visitors alike. In this Brooklyn tour, we'll move beyond Manhattan, walking the Brooklyn Bridge to paint a portrait of the social and economic history, the architecture, and the dynamic cultural makeup of New York’s most fascinating borough.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
Beginning on Manhattan, and walking across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, we’ll approach New York’s largest borough by looking at its development during the 19th century, when it exploded both commercially and culturally. Our historian-led walk focuses strongly on the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights—the historic area directly across from lower Manhattan—and the surrounding neighborhoods, shifting gears from architectural and social history to contemporary politics, art, culture, food, and ethnic identity.
As this Brooklyn tour continues, we'll consider the development of Brooklyn Heights in the 19th century as a refuge for genteel families from the squalor of Manhattan Island. Looking closely at the Federal-style brownstones, clapboard houses, and mews along lush, tree-lined streets, we'll trace the development of a distinct Brooklyn character over the centuries and consider such figures as Carson McCullers, one of the Heights' many resident authors who wrote how, "it is strange in New York to find yourself living in a neighborhood."
City Within A City
Our Brooklyn tour will also include a stroll through DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a former warehouse district that has become a trendy gallery zone. Here we'll walk some of the docks and waterfront to trace the origins of Brooklyn as a maritime port and discuss the importance of trade and commerce to the city until the 1970s when larger, deep water ports in New Jersey surpassed the shallower ones in the East River. Our stroll might also take us along the Promenade, to visit Henry Ward Beecher's Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, a famous stop on the Underground Railroad.
Where do we meet? Where does it end?
Generally speaking, the walk begins on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. We begin the tour by walking over the bridge into Brooklyn together. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and our 24/7 phone number. The walk typically ends in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, often near Montague Street.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this tour good for kids?
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly experts who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible expert.
Is this a walking intensive tour?
This walk covers about 2 miles overall. There are occasional opportunities to sit, use the bathroom, and get something to drink if needed.