We have a great set of behind the scenes tours coming up this month, with a special visit to the Brooklyn Kings Theatre and the return of old favorites like the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal, the Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam and others. While some of our tours are already sold out for September (Woolworth Building, NYC subway tour), here’s a preview of what we do have in store which still have tickets:
Did you know the world’s first commercially viable rooftop vineyard is hidden within the Brooklyn Navy Yard? Untapped Cities will be bringing readers on a special wine tasting and tour at Rooftop Reds, led by one of its founders who will share their knowledge of winemaking.
Within the 14,800 square foot rooftop, you will see a unique urban planter system that is the first of its kind, developed with Cornell University and Finger Lakes industry leaders. As an added bonus: all guests will get 20% off purchases of Rooftop Reds wines. Get in on this experience early, as the first harvest will be taking place in October 2017. Take in an amazing view, lounge in a hammock, and sip on Rooftop Red wines in our tours. Please note that the wine served on the rooftop is from Rooftop Reds partners in the Finger Lakes until the first harvest off the Navy Yard rooftop are ready!
At first glance, it might seem like there’s not much left of Dutch New Amsterdam, but there’s much more than meets the eye. The Dutch influence is felt in many hidden relics south of Wall Street. This includes the massive one hidden in plain sight: the original street grid embedded in lower Manhattan grid today.
Join author, playwright, and Untapped Cities guide, Justin Rivers (who also leads our Remnants of Penn Station tour), complete with Manhattan’s first map in hand as you trace the streets of Manhattan in 1667. You’ll hear about New York’s founding myths and facts while standing in the very spots they all happened. Tour highlights include a look at the remains of Manhattan’s first City Hall, a walk of the city’s original coast line, discovering the original Dutch fort, wind mill, and the original battery. Physically touch history as we also spend time finding out why Bowling Green has its name and why it’s been so important in our city’s history.
Greenwich Village is blessed with an especially dense concentration of vintage neon signs. Signs like these advertised businesses large and small throughout the city beginning in the 1920s and 1930s. They fell out of favor in the 1960s due to rising costs, restrictive zoning ordinances, and the appearance of less costly forms of outdoor advertising. In recent years, they have all but disappeared as old, independent businesses across the city have succumbed to rent hikes and old age.
On September 21st at 7:30 pm, join Thomas Rinaldi, author of New York Neon will take us past about a dozen signs dating to the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, marking the locations of some of the neighborhood’s most stalwart restaurants, bars and small businesses. We will see them at dusk, as they start to come to light and when they look their best. Some have been beautifully restored; all are in perpetual danger of disappearing. We will discuss their materials, design, origins and future!
Did you know there is a tennis court inside Grand Central? Or that the ceiling is backwards? Our popular “Secrets of Grand Central” tour is led by Tamara Agins from the New York City Department of City Planning. Tamara is also the author of our popular series on the secrets of Grand Central. On this tour, you will see the hidden tennis courts, locate the lost armchairs of Grand Central, peek into the entrance of the glass walkways and more.
The Secrets of the Gowanus Canal tour is led by writer Joseph Alexiou, author of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal, a source for our popular article on the canal’s historical secrets. On this tour, learn how real estate speculation and Gilded Age denizens transformed the once naturally-occurring creek and salt marsh into a stinking cesspool and toxic dump. Although the barges are long gone, the sewage remains—as does toxic waste and the architectural monuments to Brooklyn’s industrial heyday. The landscape of industrial buildings that remained are transforming the neighborhood into a creative hub, in turn encouraging a flurry of new development.
On this tour, you’ll see sites and landmarks like the Coignet Stone Company Building, one of the first moulded concrete buildings in the United States, the former Batcave/BRT Powerhouse, the National Box Packing Factory, the Green Building, the 4th Street Basin and more.
On September 29th at 6:30pm, we’ll be offering a special Behind the Scenes NYC tour of the Brooklyn Kings Theatre in partnership with the NYCEDC.
The Loew’s Kings Theatre was one of the five Wonder Theaters built in and around New York City – the most opulent movie palaces ever constructed. The theater was inspired by the French Revival style of the palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House. It lay in near ruins for decades until it was immaculately restored.
Steven Ehrenberg, Director of Production at the Kings Theatre, will lead this Behind the Scenes tour where you will learn about the building’s secrets, the restoration project, and the architecture of this magnificent space. You’ll be able to view the impressively ornate details, wood paneling, pink marble and glazed terra-cotta, all up close and stand beneath the decorative curved ceiling and gorgeous lobby while the theater is empty.