This eye-opening 3-to-4-hour private tour will take you “uptown”, above 110th street. This is a section of Manhattan that’s simply not on most tourists’ radars, which is their loss and your gain!
We’ll start with a scenic stroll along Riverside Drive on the far west side of Manhattan, with views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades, as well as some stunning residential architecture from the late 19th and early 20th century. We’ll show you one of the most important and least known statues in New York City, which serves as a reminder of the devastating power of nuclear weapons. We’ll also show you the only surviving stand-alone residential mansion on Manhattan’s West Side.
From there, we’ll head to Morningside Heights, nicknamed “New York’s Acropolis” due to its location high above the surrounding areas and its concentration of famous institutions for the “mind, body, and soul.”
We’ll pass by Tom’s Restaurant, made famous in Seinfeld as the “diner”, on our way to one of the largest cathedrals in the world. We’ll explore the incredible Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which, in any other city, would be the main attraction. But since this is New York City, most tourists (and many residents) don’t even know it exists! You’ll also discover one of the most interesting public sculptures in the city – the Peace Fountain – which, among other things, features the decapitated head of the devil.
We’ll find time for a tasty sweet treat from a popular family-run neighborhood pastry shop, as we transition from the cathedral to New York City’s only Ivy-League school – Columbia University. We’ll explore Columbia’s beautiful campus and learn about some key university landmarks, including the statue of Alma Mater (with her hidden owl of wisdom), a replica of Rodin’s The Thinker, and the Pantheon-inspired Low Library. We’ll also pay homage to Alexander Hamilton in front of Hamilton Hall (he attended Columbia when it was called King’s College).
Finally, we’ll tell you about the World World II-era “Manhattan Project” and the early days of atomic research at Columbia.
From Columbia’s classical campus, we’ll stroll by Barnard College (an important all-girls college) en route to the skyscraper-like Riverside Church, funded by John D. Rockefeller Jr. You’ll learn about America’s tallest church and the connection to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and the Rockefellers.
There is an amazing concentration of interesting and historic landmarks in Morningside Heights, so after Riverside Church, we’ll only have to cross the street to visit Grant’s Tomb, which houses the mausoleum of Civil War General and U.S. President, Ulysses Grant, the only U.S. President buried in New York City. When completed in the late 19th century, it was one of the most popular attractions in the city. And for good reason – it was modeled on one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World.
After Grant’s Tomb, we’ll take a short subway ride to historic Hamilton Heights. Here, we’ll visit the gorgeous Gothic campus of City College, New York City’s flagship public college, whose alumni include Colin Powel, Stanley Kubrick (Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut), and Andy Grove (of Intel fame). But the highlight of our visit, of course, will be Hamilton Grange, the only house Alexander Hamilton ever owned and the place where he lived the last 2 years of his life.
By the end of the tour, you will have made a lot of memorable discoveries, learned about some of the most beautiful and historic landmarks in New York City, and gained a new appreciation for Manhattan’s “Uptown”.
Date & Time: This tour is available for private booking 7 days a week year-round upon request.
Suggested Duration: 3 to 4 hrs
Cost for 3 hours (for the group, not per person):
Cost for optional 4th hour: +$70 (total for groups of 10 or fewer)