New York Harbor Tours

NYC’s Maritime History Tour

Take a journey back through lower Manhattan to experience New York as the world’s greatest ports of call!

Starts at


Tour Length

2 hours

Alexander Hamilton Customs HouseWavertree at South Street Seaport

New York is New York because of its situation on one of the world’s best harbors. For the first three and half centuries of its life, this city was defined and sustained by its maritime operations. However, in the past few decades most of the 8 million people who call New York City home or the 60 million people who visit annually barely even give a second thought to the harbor, bays, rivers, or boats that used to define and supply this popular set of islands. New York’s maritime roots are often overlooked and ignored. Explore the history behind this special part of the city on this New York harbor tour.

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  • Explore the early Dutch era maritime history through the stories of infamous sea captains Adrian Block and William Kidd.
  • Walk the less-charted trail along the historic east side slips including Old Slip and Coenties.
  • Learn about New York’s old buried ships on both the Hudson and East River shores and New York’s old floating churches.
  • Discover other related sites including the International Merchant Marine Building, The Cunard Building, the Alexander Hamilton Custom House and a stop at the stunning Merchant Marine Memorial by the historic Pier A building.
  • Visit South Street Seaport for the history of this unique museum, its historic ships and unparalleled views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.
  • Maritime History, who knew? I participated in a walking tour of lower Manhattan with emphasis on New York City's Maritime History. You may have heard of or seen the Cunard Building, the Custom House or Castle Clinton, but do you know their role in New York City of a hundred years ago? Our guide was personable, knowledgeable and shared many photos and maps that helped all of us have a better understanding of the past. She did not skimp on the reality of the treatment of immigrants and slaves - yes slaves - upon their arrival in New York City. I recommend this tour to anyone with an interest in history.

  • NYC\'s maritime history Even if you think maritime history is not your thing, this tour is still worth your time. Focusing on the the southern most tip of Manhattan, it's really about the history of the New York and the critical role of the Hudson River in its development. If you love New York and want to understand its early roots, you'll find this fascinating. In a two-hour tour we cover more than 200 years of the history in the radius of a few blocks. It was incredibly well researched by presented in a series of vignettes, so it was interesting to follow along. The guide also did a great job of connecting the past to the present by pointing out the architectural significance of certain buildings and presenting maps to visualize the geography of lower Manhattan from hundreds of years ago. My husband and I did this tour on a lark, and we're so glad that we did! We got so much more out of it than we bargained for.

  • NYC Maritime history Mandy gave a great tour and her enthusiasm for the subject, and general love of NYC, shows. She helpfully also recommended books and films on the subject of the tour.

  • Loved this tour, I took several walking tours with Justin and he is always so good!

    Stephanie T.

What Guests Have to Say

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Know Before You Go

Where To Meet
Please meet in front of 27 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 the Cunard Building (Cipriani's)

How To Get There
By subway: 4, 5 to Bowling Green; R, W to Whitehall St; 1 to South Ferry. Please consult with the MTA for weekend subway schedules and routing changes.

What To Bring/Wear
Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes!

Frequently Asked Questions

How strenuous is the tour? How much walking will we do?

This tour is easy and most people can participate.

Is this tour indoors or outdoors?

This is an outdoor tour! Please dress accordingly.

Is there an age limit or recommendation?

There is no age limitation.

Who will guide our tour?

One of our licensed New York tour guides.

Contact Us

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