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“Fascinating tour through immigrant NYC”

Streetwise New York Tours
Ranked #7 of 648 Tours in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Most walking tours point and stare at New York-with Streetwise New York, you live it! Streetwise New York explores neighborhoods, recounts history and studies contrast--but does so knowing that New York’s essence isn’t listed in guidebooks or displayed in museums. The true New York is melted into slices of pizza, hidden in subways, and carried in the ever-changing stories of its 8.5 million people.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 14 July 2011

Queens, half of whose residents are foreign-born, is a polyglot mix where a vibrant strip of Latin American food vendors is sandwiched between blocks of Indo-Pakistani and Nepali-Tibetan shops, as well as a row of Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese eateries. But neighborhoods like Astoria and Jackson Heights in Queens – considered the most multi-culturally diverse neighborhood in the world – are left off most New York travel

Streetwise NYC's tour weaves through all these sites, beginning with the more well-trodden immigrant centers of Manhattan (Chinatown, the Lower East Side and Little Italy - the "immigrant NYC" of Gangs of New York, The Godfather and history books) and ending in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights, Queens. Tour guide Andrew is a long-time resident of Queens and a reporter in the borough, and along the way, he not only points out great ethnic eateries and shops, but also offers historical and contemporary anecdotes, including stories and explanations for why food vendors are clustered on one side of a particular street; how so many electronic cookware stores can all survive clustered on one block; why Jackson Heights' majestic pre-war garden apartments were initially built and who lives there now; and the kinds of health concerns and social issues the new immigrant communities face.

We took the Chinatown van with Chinese immigrants from Manhattan to Queens, which was a lot of fun, and ate at a family-run Indonesian restaurant whose name I can't remember (Andrew could tell you which; also, the food was delicious), but my favorite part of the tour were Andrew's stories. When you have only a short time to get to know a place, stories really bring it to life and give you a sense of how people there really live, where they might be going as they pass you on the sidewalk.

I definitely recommend this tour for anyone who wants a more off-the-beaten-track experience of NYC, and anyone interested in immigrant America generally.

2  Thank AndreaAudrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 July 2011

Andrew's tour personalised New York City for us and empowered us to use the subway, shop,eat and explore on our own for the remaining days we had in New York. It was an interesting and enjoyable day for all of us( 2 Adults and 2 teenage children).Andrew was a considerate, thoughtful and informative guide and tailor made the tour for us. New York City no longer felt intimidating after our day with Andrew and I'd recommend it to others as a must do on the first or second day in New York.

1  Thank tmm789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2011

I booked a "custom" tour for six friends and myself over July 4th weekend. I have visited NYC at least 100 times but wanted to focus this visit on the Outer Boroughs. I consulted ahead of time with Andrew Silverstein who was our guide and new friend. We went to some classic spots in the Lower East Side for a fascinating history "lesson" and then took a Chinatown to Chinatown van where we were the only English speakers. Then a journey through the worldwide polygot that is Elmhurst and Jackson Heights in Queens. Andrew was a delight, accomodating our special requests and some of the tour group who likes to wonder off base or live in the ozone :). Highly recommended, a real food and other fun delite.

3  Thank DMWizard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2011

It felt totally natural to wend one's way through the neighbourhoods of the Lower East Side and Queens. Andrew made us feel inconspicuous and part of the scene. And thank goodness his knowledge of the streets is matched by his appetite! We ate the UN! The first time you go to New York see Times Square. The second time you go see Andrew. He'll show you the New York where people live, where books and plays are written and movies shot. Where the circle of life keeps spinning, grabbing each new successive wave of immigrant in it's vortex to constantly renew the tastes and sounds and smells of the city. To be jostled by an elderly Chinese lady buying tadpoles for dinner in the fish market or jostled by a strapping Latino transvestite in drag dancing to a boom box, it was the way I wanted to spend a Sunday in New York.

2  Thank hungryshoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 June 2011

The Immigrant NYC tour was SO interesting and informative. Andrew was full of information, compelling stories, historical nuggets, and social context. I **highly** recommend it for anyone in NYC or visiting -- you'll understand better why NYC is how it is, the policies and people that made it that way, and how this city has become the most cosmopolitan corner of the world. We ate delicious food, walked a lot, and had 5 hours of stimulating and educational information about lower Manhattan and Queens. One of the best tours I have taken anywhere.

Thank mib2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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