We have a slew of tours taking place this week at Untapped. From a deep dive into the history of gritty Times Square to an exploration of an iconic New York City span, here’s the full list of events we have coming up.
Insider Tour of the Members Only Players Club: Wednesday, October 18th at 6:00pm
Untapped Cities invites you on an exclusive insider tour of the Players Club on Gramercy Park, led by a Players Club docent. This members only social club was founded in 1889 by Edwin Booth, one the most renowned American actors of the 19th century, along with fifteen friends and colleagues including Mark Twain and General William T. Sherman. Today’s notable members include Jimmy Fallon, Ethan Hawke and Tommy Lee Jones, whose portraits hang in the club’s grand staircase.
On this tour, you’ll learn about the history of the club and step inside Edwin Booth’s bedroom, where you can find the skull that was used in his famous 100 consecutive performances of Hamlet. Also get a close look at Mark Twain’s poker table and visit the Hampden-Booth Theatre Library, which contains a vital collection of books, plays, theatre magazines and other artifacts of 19th and early 20th century American and British theatre history.
Tour of Stunning Off-Limits Bialystoker Synagogue in the Lower East Side: Thursday, October 19th at 7:00pm
On this new encompassing tour offered by Untapped Cities in partnership with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, guests will visit the stunning Bialystoker Synagogue, normally off-limits to the public and only accessible via our organizations. The landmarked synagogue was built in 1826, originally as the Willett Street Methodist Episcopal Church. Today, it stands as an example of architectural reuse in New York City from church to place of worship for the Jewish community. It is one of only four early-19th century fieldstone religious buildings surviving from the late Federal period in Lower Manhattan. In addition to its architecture, the building has its fair share of secrets, which will be shared on this tour.
Secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge: Saturday, October 21st at 10:00am
Beyond the Brooklyn Bridge’s stately exterior lies an epic origin story. Now over 130 years old, the granite and limestone structure has dazzled both tourists and residents alike. On our newest tour, author, playwright and Untapped Cities’ tour guide Justin Rivers will not only unpack the history behind the Brooklyn Bridge, but also explore its many hidden secrets. Our unique walking tour will give you a whole new appreciation for one of New York’s most iconic landmarks.
On our tour, we will cross the bridge span and check out some of the best vantage points in New York City, explore the perimeter of the Manhattan and Brooklyn anchorages of the bridge and discover Brooklyn Bridge’s various secrets, including its old Cold War fall out shelter, the love locks, the Russian fur vaults, the bridge jumper survivor’s support group and more.
Insider Tour of Kearny Point, New Jersey’s Counterpoint to the Brooklyn Navy Yard: Saturday, October 21st at 1:00pm
We’re excited to announce the latest addition to our tours, which will take you inside the raw industrial spaces, latest renovations and future plans at Kearny Point, a former United States shipyard, poised to become New Jersey’s counterpoint to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Join us for the tour, which kicks off on October 21st at 1 PM (Uber taxi codes will be provided to cover transportation from Jersey City to the site).
During World War I and II, Kearny Point was once one of the world’s most prolific shipyards when it operated as the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, where as many as 30,000 people came to work each day. Today, Hugo Neu is transforming the 130-acre industrial complex into a new mixed-use, sustainable waterfront destination – one that embraces the site’s history and provides opportunities for the businesses of the new economy. Its renewed work environment is situated only minutes from Manhattan, but comes at a fraction of the cost of workspace in New York City, Newark, Hoboken or Jersey City.
Tour of the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal: Saturday, October 21st at 2pm + 4pm
The story of Grand Central Terminal is that of New York City itself: the structure embodies the social, cultural, economic and technological evolution around it. It is one of great men, feuding architects, ingenuity, rejuvenation, secrets and surprises. On this tour, we will tell you these stories – about what once was, what could have been, and what can be; about the struggle to save and restore Grand Central as a preserved icon of the past, and of challenge to ensure that it serves New York’s future. We will show you what it was like in the booming age of the railroad, as a rundown embarrassment, and as a renovated jewel at the center of the city. Peek into the entrance of its glass walkways, locate lost armchairs, see its hidden tennis courts and learn about its backwards ceiling. Whether you pass through it every day on your morning commute or stroll through the Beaux Arts beauty for the first time, you are sure to leave having learned, seen, or experienced something new and extraordinary.
Tour the Remnants of Gritty Old Times Square: Sunday, October 22nd at 11am
We are thrilled to announce the latest addition to our tours which will take you back to the Gritty Old Times Square of the 1970’s… Back then, Times Square was a dangerous, exciting, gritty, intense, racially and sexually diverse neighborhood frequented by both locals and tourists. Love it or hate it, you couldn’t ignore it. Most of old Times Square has been carefully obliterated by generic hotels, soulless office buildings, and Walt Disney musicals, but there are still a few vestiges of its seedy past—if you know where to look.
So let us take you back to the halcyon days when 42nd Street was the Deuce, Eighth Avenue was the Minnesota Strip, the Great White Way was a red light district, and the Crossroads of the World was XXX-rated. We will see former peepshows, grindhouses, adult book stores, dive bars, hotsheet hotels, sex clubs, porno theaters, and massage parlors–not to mention all three locations of the New York Times. We will discover the personalities who made Times Square what it was: the King of the Peeps; the reclusive genius behind the McDonalds of Sex; the woman who built a gay and S&M porn empire; the slumlord with two suitcases filled with gold and five wives; and the Catholic priest who flew too close to the neon sun and crashed and burned. Also learn about the largest sex emporium in New York City (and maybe the world), the freak show where Diane Arbus found her inspiration, as well as the last remaining hot sheet hotel and live peep show in Times Square.
Secrets of Central Park Walking Tour: Sunday, October 22nd at 2pm
Did you know that Central Park was once the site of a former African-American village? Or that it was previously home to an infamous casino, where alcohol flowed throughout the Prohibition? For almost 160 years, Central Park has been the green heart of the city, serving as a pastoral haven for New Yorkers and visitors alike. Even so, it still holds many secrets that have yet to be discovered. On this walking tour, we’ll explore the history behind some of its best-loved and hidden sites. Learn about the genesis, design, and evolution of the immense green space, while uncovering its many outrageous happenings, scandals and more.