Tours of classic venues

Guides share cool facts about NYC locales.

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  • Wall Street

  • St. Patrick's Cathedral

  • Broadway

  • Photograph: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

    Radio City Music Hall

Wall Street

Gino Francesconi, Carnegie Hall Tour
"There was a speakeasy in a building owned by Carnegie Hall that was formerly the stables for Andrew Carnegie. It opened in late 1924.  When Mrs. Carnegie found out, she was infuriated; she was told the space would be [used as] an auto showroom." 881 Seventh Ave at 57th St (carnegiehall.org). Mon--Fri 11:30am, 12:30, 2, 3pm; Sat 11:30am, 12:30pm; Sun 12:30pm. $10.

Andrew Luan, Wall Street Insider Tour
"Federal Hall is perhaps the most historic place in New York City. It's where George Washington was inaugurated as the first U.S. President, and where Congress met to ratify the Bill of Rights, and create the Supreme Court and the Treasury Department." Meet at 15 Broad St between Nassau and William Sts (thewallstreetexperience.com). Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun 10am, 1:30pm; 75mins $35, 2hrs $50.

Vickey Downey, St. Patrick's Cathedral Tour
"We have many mysteries. Depending on how the light shines onto the Altar of the Holy Face, Jesus's eyes may appear open or closed." Fifth Ave between 50th and 51st Sts (saintpatrickscathedral.org). Mon 28, Dec 6, 8, 9, 14, 15 at 10am; free.

Tom Comerford, Inside Broadway Tours
"The Booth Theatre on 45th Street is named for Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, the brother of President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Edwin saved the life of Lincoln's son before the attack, when he pulled him from the path of a train." Meet at the George M. Cohan statue, Broadway at 46th St (insidebroadwaytours.com). Tue, Thu 1pm; Sat 4pm. 75mins $35, 2hrs $50.

Vickie Costa, Expedition Tour at the American Museum of Natural History
"The museum sponsored Robert Peary's expedition to the north pole, and in Greenland he discovered the largest buried meteorite in the world, Cape York [three chunks of which are on display]." Central Park West at 79th Street (212-769-5100, amnh.org). Tours take place daily on the hour from 10:15am--3:15pm; $10.50--$19.

Dan Brucker, Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour
"The main concourse boasts a hidden staircase that's used by Grand Central employees all the time. You can see the brass cylinder that conceals the steel staircase in the center of the information booth." 42nd St to 44th St between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves (212-340-2583, grandcentralterminal.com). Daily 9am--6pm; $6.

Joyce Hancock, Radio City Stage Door Tour
"The interior of the theater was designed to look like an ocean liner, from the slightly ramped entrance in the ticket lobby and the oval shape of the foyer, to the mezzanine sections, which resemble the decks of a ship." 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (212-247-4777, radiocity.com). Tours take place daily every half hour from 11am--3pm; $12.50--$19.25.

Carole Wehberg, Lincoln Center Guided Tour
"The chandelier in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera was a gift from the Austrian government in 1966, when the building opened." David Rubenstein Atrium (at Lincoln Center), 61 W 62nd St at Broadway (212-875-5350, lincolncenter.com). Schedule varies; visit website for details. $8--$15.

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Irene
Irene

There are free food tasting tours running in Manhattan. Just reserve your spot at www.freenyfoodtours.com. Pay for the tastes as you go and tip your guide at the end of the tour. It's that easy.