Beginning at The Plaza Hotel, we discuss the development of estate and mansions along 5th avenue, when the area was mostly farming land. As we stroll past the famous 5th avenue window decorations we uncover the dynastic industry families that made 5th avenue one of the most luxurious streets in the world. We'll view the masterful window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany's, Cartier, along with others. We'll also visit long-time homes of the Rockefeller family, as well as Saint Patrick's Cathedral. The tour will conclude near Rockefeller Plaza, which is home to the longest-standing municipal Christmas tradition in the city. Depending on the group's interests, we may also explore the Bryant Park Winter Villiage.
Can I learn more about New York City's history before my trip?
Yes! Context offers several online learning seminars about American culture and history, available here.
Becky studied urban history as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania and for her master’s at the University of Leicester, UK, researching nineteenth-century city planning and its social implications. In New York, she co-wrote a history of liquor distilling in the city and discovered musty secrets for guides in Time Out. A freelance writer, she primarily covers travel for publications like New York magazine, Travel + Leisure, and the Washington Post. The coolest place she’s been in the city: behind the clock above Grand Central Terminal.
Ben Rubin holds a bachelor's degree from Hanover College, a Master's from Western Carolina University, and is completing his Ph.D. at Drew University. He is also a graduate of the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. His work has been published in the Journal of Backcountry Studies and in Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. In addition to academic experience, Ben worked as a docent at the Biltmore House in Asheville, and as a whitewater raft guide on the Nantahala River.
August has over a decade of experience in art and architecture education. He has coordinated various aspects of international design programs on four continents and over a dozen countries. His interests are in American campus design and contemporary architecture. He currently lives and works in New York City.