Classes & Activities in New York City

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    New York's Dutch and Flemish Collection at the Met Tour

    Context Travel
    How can you take a trip to Northern Europe without stepping foot outside of NYC? Visit the MET during this three-hour tour of its Dutch and Flemish art collection! The techniques of 15th-century painters such as Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Rogier Van der Weyden featured almost photographic realism, depicting vivid landscapes and still-life elements. In the coming years and centuries, the techniques these painters employed become more and more refined by such painting luminaries as the Brueghels, Jacques de Gheyn the Elder, Jacob Vosmaer, Jan Weenix, and Aelbert Cuyp. This would eventually lead to the 17th-century Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish art, highlighted by such painting legends as Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens. During this informative tour, you'll explore the rise of the still-life movement alongside a trained art historian, while visiting some of the MET's premier examples of this style, including works by the aforementioned artists. If you're new to Northern European painting, it should be quite an eye-popping experience. And if you're not ... Well, it never hurts to brush up!
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    Italian Masters of the Met

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    Five centuries of Italian art. One world-famous museum. Unless you know what you're looking for, the Metropolitan Museum of Art can be an overwhelming experience. During this expertly guided tour, you'll get straight to the romantic heart of the matter as you explore its Italian galleries in depth. Things kick off with a look at 14th-century legends Duccio and Giotto, who helped spur the naturalism movement at the behest of the Franciscan and Dominican orders. This seminal shift in the arts changed the focus to more realistic representations -- a movement further developed over the course of latter centuries by artists such as Botticelli. Your journey will then move into the High Renaissance with a look at the 16th century, when these same naturalistic techniques hit incredible new heights. You'll also look at the Venetian approach to art, favored by painters such as Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. Next up, Mannerism: a stirring evolution of the styles popularized by the Renaissance, led by Bronzino and Parmigianino. Then, you'll witness the return to naturalism and classicism by early Baroque greats Caravaggio and Annibale Carracci, and enjoy a more indepth look at how the Baroque era progressed through the hands of several other great painters, eventually growing into the 18th-century style of Rococo. When it comes to colorful experiences, Context Travel does it right!
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    Met Walking Tour - Greek and Roman Collection

    Context Travel
    Antiquing in NYC? The this MET tour has you covered. Minus the taking anything with you part. You'll be treated to two-and-a-half hours of intellectual insights as you peruse the museum's broad collection of Hellenistic and Roman artifacts. Your guide in this journey will be either an archaeologist or classical historian, meaning you'll be getting expert commentary on Greek vases, sculpture, sarcophagi, Roman portraiture, and Pompeian wall paintings as you go. Check out works that have been around for well over 2,000 years, including pieces from several classical schools of art, while learning to spot the intricacies that differentiate these various schools. The classics never go out of style. But seriously, keep your hands to yourself.
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    American Wing at the Met Tour

    Context Travel
    Like your art "made in America?" During this three-hour walking tour guided by an art historian, you'll discover three-hundred years of art while exploring the newly renovated American Wing at the MET. You'll begin with a look at the gateway to the American art galleries, the spacious Charles Engelhard Court, where you'll find a wide range of American sculptures, including pieces by Hiram Powers, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Daniel Chester French. Your guide will lead you up above the court for a look at the balcony galleries, where cases of silver, glassware, ceramics, and jewelry dating back to the colonial era are kept, with pieces by Paul Revere and Tiffany, amongst others. Next up, the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art, you'll be introduced to hundreds of pieces of decorative art, from furniture to painting. You'll explore period rooms for an examination of the styles that distinguish various eras of American history, such as an early Dutch interior, and a Frank Lloyd Wright living room. You'll also spend a good portion of the tour learning about various masterpieces of American painting, covering portraiture, still life, and landscape painting, with works by John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, among others.
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    The Frick Walk Tour

    Context Travel
    Too much art, too little time in NYC? Don't have an art attack. During this 2.5-hour tour, you'll enjoy a relaxed, but informative look at one of the world's premier private art collections, housing European masterpieces spanning the 13th through the 19th centuries. Housed in a luxurious residential setting on 5th Avenue, The Frick Collection was amassed by Gilded Age lumiary Henry Clay Frick in the late 1800s following his travels through Europe. Within the collection, you'll see examples from numerous influential periods, including Late Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, Neoclassical, Rococo, Realist, and Impressionist. And among the artists represented are Van Eyck, Bellini, Holbein, Bronzino, Titian, El Greco, Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, Ingres, Fragonard, Boucher, Constable, Gainsborough, Renoir, and Monet. To keep things in perspective, your guide, an art historian, will offer contextualizing insights and artistic pointers into the works you'll be viewing, as well historical commentary on the life of Frick himself. It should be pretty fricking sweet!
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    Impressionism Tour

    Context Travel
    What you see is what you get during this 19th tour, and that ought to leave quite an impression! Join Context Travel for three hours of pontification in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 19th century galleries, where you'll discover the second largest collection of French Impressionist art in world, outside of the Louvre. Your guide on this colorful stroll will offer not only an artistic point of view on the pieces you're viewing, but historical perspective as well, painting with words a detailed picture of the society that birthed several 19th century art movements, including Impressionism and its antecedents, Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Barbizon School, and Realism. Among the works you'll see are those by Morisot, Degas, Cassatt, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse. Remember, no touching!
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    Jackson Heights Walking Tour

    Context Travel
    Whether you're new to the residential neighborhood of Jackson Heights, or just have no idea what you're looking at, this walking tour is a sure way to get your foot in the door! Over the course of 3 hours, you'll be treated to a rare guided look into one of Queen's most exciting and architecturally-rich neighborhoods, originally developed in the early 20th-century as a lush garden refuge. It all starts with a look at Edward MacDougall, founder of the Queensboro Corporation real estate company, and visionary behind Jackson Heights. You'll witness firsthand how his design principles led to a spacious neighborhood filled with light and greenery, while exploring some of its luxury apartment buildings. Your guide will offer in-depth commentary on the prevalent architectural trends seen in the neighborhood, including pre and post-war movements, social aspects, and preservation concerns. You'll even get an inside look at a private garden typically closed off to outsiders! Given that Queens is a diverse melting pot of nationalities, you'll also spend time discussing the rich tapestry of cultures that make Jackson Heights such an eclectic hotspot, with particular emphasis on the influx of South American and South Asian immigrants over the past twenty years. Adding to this experience, you'll make two or three stops to sample ethnic foods and beverages, and even a meal if you choose! After getting a taste of the culinary offerings Jackson Heights has to offer, you'll get back to building your architectural knowledge with a look at some of the neighborhood's famed garden apartments, including the Chateau, the Towers, and Dunolly Gardens. You'll also have a look at the storied Eagle Theater, now a Bollywood film house! We dare you not to break out in song and dance!
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    Chocolate-Themed Private Food Tour

    Context Travel
    Feel like a kid in a candy store when in NYC? Well, here's a tour that lives up to its buzz! During this sweet escape, you'll be in for three-hours of finger-licking fun, during which your guide will introduce you to some of the top chocolate shops and their distinctive goodies in the West Village and Soho. Of course, you'll eat as you go, trying a wide range of delicious samples ... But this tour is a treat for the mind as well! You'll be learning about the array of sweet, artisanal offerings NYC has to offer, from truffles to flavored bars, and all about the chocolate culture in the United States. This includes its agricultural origins, the process of making chocolate, and all the different types of chocolate out there! Oh, this is going to be rich.
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    Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City at MoMA Private Tour

    Context Travel
    When it comes to Modern Art, MoMa knows best! During this scintillating tour of the Museum of Modern Art, you'll be in for a deep and detailed look at the work of Giorgio de Chirico. In particular, you'll be viewing his early Metaphysical canvases, which depict strange, imaginary cityscapes and rooms. With the help of your knowledgeable guide, who is a specialist in the subject of Chirico, you'll begin to learn to parse the artist's haunting works while also understanding his influence on not only the art world but the architectural one, as well. There's only one question: are you ready to get Metaphysical?
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    Walking the Old Croton Aqueduct Tour

    Context Travel
    It may be all about aqueducts, but there's no watering down the fun on this tour! During this 4.5-hour adventure, you'll get to know all about NYC's first municipal water supply from a preservation expert. You'll walk several miles along the mammonthene Old Croton Aqueduct, which once brought water into Manhattan from Westchester County, 41 miles away. You'll visit several architectural remnants of this once iconic pathway, including the High Bridge and Water Tower, and numerous gatehouses, getting a fascinating look the city's 19th-century lifeblood and a key element to the rise of New York along the way. It should be quite a fluid experience!
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    Adventures in Modern Art Tour

    Context Travel
    Can't make heads or tails of modern art? This tour will help you make sense of all those shapes! During this two-hour tour, you'll explore the Museum of Modern Art's extensive collection. Accompanied by an art historian and educator, you'll come to know works by landmark artists that forever changed the world of art, including Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and many more. As a family-friendly and private tour, this experience will be tailored to suit its youngest participants, making it an excellent chance to introduce young children to some of the art world's most colorful pieces!
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    Stories in Art - Private Met Tour

    Context Travel
    Meet the MET, and hear the stories it has to tell, during a walking tour designed for families! You'll hear all about how stories can be told through art during three hours of museum exploration. The guide on this three-hour educational stroll will be a specialist in visual thinking strategy with a background in museum education, and a penchant for appealing to primary and middle school-aged children. You and your family will be introduced to a broad range of works and techniques for reading the narrative they tell, including ancient Greek sculpture, Renaissance altarpieces, Medieval armor, American portraiture, and Impressionist landscapes. Needless to say, this tour provides an excellent introduction for children to the world of art and the MET! Storytime has never been so colorful!
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    Morgan Library Tour

    Context Travel
    Looking for something a little different? This tour should prove to be quite the page turner! Tucked away in midtown Manhattan, the Morgan Library provides viewers with both architectural delights, and houses a remarkable collection of old master drawings, prints, paintings, manuscripts, early printed books, and ancient seals. Once the private library of Gilded Age luminary Piers Morgan, you become intimately acquainted with the library's treasures alongside an art historian. Highlights include three Gutenberg Bibles, autographed manuscripts by Mozart, the only surviving manuscript of John Milton's Paradise Lost, and the nation's largest collection of Rembrandt prints. The writing's on the wall during this sophisticated stroll!
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    MoMA Seminar

    Context Travel
    Looking to add a splash of color to your NYC experience? Mix things up with a three-hour walking tour of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). You'll get to know the facilities alongside an art historian or critic, who will offer commentary on this history and trends of modern art, as well as offer a critical analysis of some of the exhibits on your visit, which will cover a range of visual media. While tour routes vary, being partially based on exhibition schedules, you can expect to extensively explore the six-story David and Peggy Rockefeller Building, where you'll find the main collection and temporary galleries. You may also visit the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, depending on weather. Who knows, maybe you'll find the inspiration you need for the next great work of modern art! It's about time you put those finger painting skills to work.
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    Modernism at the Met: New York's 'Other' Avant-Garde Collection Tour

    Context Travel
    Looking for a tour that doesn't paint by numbers? Go avant-garde with this colorful tour of the MET's Modern and Contemporary art collection! Featuring over 12,000 works dating from 1900 to now, this incredible collection is the perfect place to put the past several decades of art in context. You'll be led on this exploration by an art educator, and begin at, well, the beginning of modern art's roots, including the Realist Courbet, Manet and the rise of Impressionism, and Symbolism and Japanese Prints. With a solid understanding of where Modernism came from, you'll then dive into its various and innovative forms, including Cubism, Futurism, and Abstract Expressionism. Along the way, you can expect to see works by such artists as Van Gogh, Balthus, Giorgio de Chirico, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and many more! For those who have a serious interest in finding out what Modern Art is all about, this tour canvasses it all!
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    Art Galleries of Williamsburg Tour

    Context Travel
    What's happening in the Williamsburg art world? This tour paints a pretty vivid picture! You'll spend three hours exploring this riverside Brooklyn neighborhood, where experimental galleries have turned what was once an industrial environment into a trendy art scene. Guided by a practicing artist or art critic, you'll get an insider's perspective on the social and economic considerations that gave rise to this boom, how Williamsburg factors into the NYC art scene today, and how its diverse ethnic makeup shapes the gallery scene. Of course, you'll be doing plenty of gallery hopping too. After visiting hip arts bookstore Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers, you'll visit a number of galleries, with selections dependent on current exhibitions. Gallery stops may include Pierogi, Artbreak, Front Room, Hogar Collection, and Cinders. What a great chance to show off how sophisticated your tastes are! There's nothing artists love more than a critic, after all.
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    History of Finance Tour

    Context Travel
    When it comes to NYC tours, this is one where you're certain to get your money's worth. Over the course of three hours, you'll visit sites and hear stories about how the city became the economic hub that it is today. You'll visit spots tied to its early financial growth, as well as the New York Stock Exchange, Morgan's Bank, and the Federal Reserve Bank. An experienced Wall Streeter will serve as your guide, offering detailed insights into not only the origins of the stock exchange, but stories of its triumphs and falls. You'll also visit sites tied to the early settlement of NYC, including Fraunces Tavern, Federal Hall, and Trinity Church, and spend time at the World Trade Center site and St. Paul's Chapel. We're feeling very bullish about this tour.
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    Jewish Culture and Foods of New York Tour

    Context Travel
    Keeping it kosher? Get your fill of delicious dishes during this tour of the Lower East Side's Jewish community! During this deep exploration of the Lower East Side, you'll travel alongside an expert in local culture, enjoying insights into the traditions and political landscape of the neighborhood's strong Jewish population. You can expect to visit some of the cities oldest synagogues, the headquarters for legendary Jewish newspaper Forward, and several other sites and you meander through the scenic streets. But enough about history. Let's talk nomnoms! You'll stop in for samples at several of the Lower East Side's popular Jewish restaurants, including Houston Street eateries Yonah Schimmel's, Russ & Daughters, and Katz's. Plus, your guide will introduce you to a few of the lesser-known eateries, and, depending on the time of day, perhaps take you for an appetizing stroll through some of the best covered markets. Shalom!
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    SoHo and the Cast Iron District Tour

    Context Travel
    Think NYC is just so-so? Get to know SoHo! Today a hip stomping ground offering fashionable boutiques and galleries, SoHo has a long and varied history, during which it has served as an upper class residential neighborhood, a red light district, and a producer of luxury textiles. You'll tour these iconic grounds with an architect or architectural historian, enjoying a detailed look at the buildings and remnants that serve as a visual storytelling device of its rich, 200-hundred year history. Things kick off on Greene Street, where you'll examine the rise of the textile industry in the mid-19th century and how the neighborhood's cast iron architecture played a role in the rise. Then you'll head to Spring Street, where the former studios of luminary artists such as Donald Judd, Philip Glass, and Twyla Tharp still stand, amongst several contemporary galleries and boutiques that today are among the city's most innovative spaces. Arriving at Broadway, you'll end our tour with a look at the department store culture that has been shifting SoHo's economic landscape in recent years, before checking out the famed E.V. Haughwout and Little Singer Buildings, both incredible examples of the neighborhood's cast iron legacy. It should be quite a constructive experience!
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    Building the City, From Skyscrapers to Trains Tour

    Context Travel
    Up for some tall tales in New York City? During this family-friendly tour, you'll get a top to bottom look at the constructive elements that make the Big Apple so dazzling, including the towering skyscrapers that dominate its skyline! You'll travel down the 42nd Street corridor alongside a well-educated guide as you examine iconic NYC sites such as Grand Central Station, the Daily News Building, and Times Square. You'll learn all about urban planning with accessible explanations that can be tailored to the needs of your children with various games and activities worked into the tour. This is one adventure that needs little build-up!
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    New York Tour of Central Park

    Context Travel
    This NYC tour isn't average walk in the park. Led by an architecture and landscape historian, you'll enjoy three-hours of insights into the design and history of Central Park. Learn about the two men whose vision originally shaped the park, and the struggles to keep the park true to that vision over the course of its 100-plus year history. During this tour you will visit both iconic locations and hidden gems, and get a detailed look at both monuments and green spaces. With 840-acres of beautiful vistas to choose from, you can bet there will be plenty to see on this leisurely stroll. Better bring your walking shoes!
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    Welcome to New York Orientation Tour

    Context Travel
    Trying to get in sync with that New York state of mind? Whether you're a first-time visitor or a recent transplant, this two-hour walking tour is the perfect way to get your bearings in the Big Apple. Your guide will meet your at your hotel or apartment lobby or at a nearby cafe before you embark on an in-depth exploration of the cultural and historic sites in the area around you. Customizable to your location and needs, this chat and tour is a great way to get advice straight from a local, whether it's subway and restaurant tips, sightseeing expertise, or shopping guidance! And if you're only in town for a little while, it's a great way to find out about events, concerts, and exhibits taking place during your stay. Of course, you could just use a dusty old guidebook...but we promise that book won't be half as fun and exciting as this tour!
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    New York Food Tour of Chinatown and Little Italy

    Context Travel
    Feel like NYC is gobbling you up? Turn the tables during this 3-hour walking tour, during which you'll sample the sights, sounds, and culinary delights of Little Italy and Chinatown! Starting from Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, you'll take a look back at a time to when these two vibrant neighborhoods were mostly Irish run, before heading south, where you'll pass by New York's first ever pizzeria. Arriving in Little Italy, you'll perhaps stop for espresso and a pastry, and will visit two popular fine food shops, featuring homemade pastas, and imported meats and cheeses. As you make your way southward along iconic streets, you'll find yourself immersed in a world where cuisine is culture, passing kitchen shops and restaurants promoting their fare with Old World charm. Arriving in Chinatown, you'll discover an altogether different world, rife with Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian vendors and shops. You'll browse the Chinatown markets, finding exotic fruits and vegetables, Asian butchers, fish vendors, and of course lots and lots of noodles. Exploring Mott and Mulberry Streets, you'll also find steamed dumplings, almond cookies, and barbecued duck beckoning from window displays, before walking past historic Columbus Park, and ending your journey at the city's oldest dim sum parlor. During this fulfilling experience, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy numerous samplings, and the chance to purchase more if you desire!. Certainly provides some food for thought, doesn't it?
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    Cloisters: Medieval Art & Architecture Tour

    Context Travel
    Looking to shine a light on the dark ages? During this three-hour walking tour, you'll explore the MET's medieval arts and architecture collection at the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. Situated on a hill overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters was designed and built in the 1930s, and includes parts from five Eastern European abbeys deconstructed, shipped to the United States, and then reconstructed into a museum like no other. Your guide on this journey back in time will be an art historian specializing the medieval works, who will take you on a comprehensive tour of the incredible exhibits and gardens housed within. Among the art pieces you will find both religious and secular works, including paintings, altarpieces, carvings, gold and silver, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, and sculptures. New York City is about to get medieval on your ... brain.
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    Brooklyn Walking Tour

    Context Travel
    There's no question that Brooklyn is one of NYC's most culturally alive and hippest burroughs. But how did it grow into the eclectic epicenter of cool that it is today? Peer back into its history during this three-hour walking tour! You'll find yourself immersed in the burrough's fascinating history, enjoying insights into its 19th-century architectural explosion as it grew as a separate city and rival to Manhattan. Much of your walk will take place along the East River, touring Brooklyn Heights and its adjacent neighborhoods, while getting a feel for its diverse people and architecture, and discussing its art, food, and political scene. Check out historic brownstone buildings and clapboard houses while meandering along tree-lined streets, while learning about legendary Brooklyn figures that helped give this scenic environment its edgy vibe. You'll also explore the gallery-district of DUMBO, the waterfront, and the Promenade, plus numerous other popular streets and sites as time allows. Make sure you wear comfy walking shoes!
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    Walking Tour of NYC's Greenwich Village

    Context Travel
    Think Greenwich Village is all about peace, love, and super expensive housing? That may be the case today, but once upon a time this Lower Manhattan neighborhood was very different place. Led by an urban historian, this three-hour walking tour will help put that history in perspective, starting with Washington Square - today a hip hangout, but once a burial ground for the unknown and impoverished. Around the park, hidden behind the mansions that now dominate the landscape, you will discover 19th-century carriage houses and cobblestone mews, before heading towards the verdant West Village, where clapboard houses and hidden courtyards abound. As you walk, your guide will offer insights into the various architectural examples found in the vicinity, in addition to commentary on some of the significant figures to have lived in the Village, such as Walt Whitman and Bob Dylan. You'll also enjoy an in depth exploration of the Church of St. Luke's, including a look at its walled garden, before finally making your way to the Hudson River, where you'll enjoy scenic views of the harbor. Once you're finished with this tour, you'll never look at Greenwich Village the same way again.
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    Architecture of New York Tour

    Context Travel
    Looking to build your knowledge of NYC? Then you should find this tour quite constructive! Walk the sprawl of 42nd Street, taking in some of the world's great architectural sites as you go. You'll gain insights into this famous thoroughfare, seeing firsthand the progression of urban trends through the eyes of a practicing architect or scholar of architectural history. It all begins with a look at the United Nations buildings, followed by a visit to art deco masterpieces such as the Chrysler Building, the Daily News Building, and the Chanin Building. You'll also see popular beaux arts examples, such as Grand Central Station and the New York Public Library. During the second half of the tour you'll head to Times Square for a look at the legendary intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway. There you'll discuss the area's progression from red light district to media center, and check out some of the restored early 20th-century theaters this area is known for. Finally, you'll end your trip with a look at a few of the sleek, modern skyscraper trends that have come to define the NYC skyline, including the McGraw-Hill Building, an internationally important antecedent to this trend. Better bring your walking shoes for this one!
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    Art Galleries of Chelsea Tour

    Context Travel
    Looking to brush up on the NYC art scene? Then consider this colorful find the picture of good fortune! You'll be walking the streets of trendy Chelsea, where you'll explore the thriving gallery scene alongside either an artist or an art critic (and usually both), enjoying a rare inside look. Your guide on this adventure will offer both historical and contemporary insights into NYC arts, particularly discussing some of the mavens and movements that have made it what it is today. You'll learn all about how a neighborhood of depots and auto shops became a target for the market savvy, who looked upon these spacious and industrial interiors as the perfect place to set up their trade. You'll also hear all about how the rise of Chelsea has impacted the art world at large. Of course, no gallery tour would be complete without a visit to a few galleries! During this tour, you'll visit several, including staples such as Metro Pictures and Paula Cooper, and several younger, exciting establishments thriving on Chelsea's fringes. Talk about painting the town!
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    Meatpacking and the High Line Tour

    Context Travel
    Holy cow! For those looking for an educational tour of NYC, this beefy experience really has a lot of meat on its bones! Over the course of three hours, you'll trace the industrial age of the city from the 1840s to the 1940s while exploring the Meatpacking District. While today, many of the former warehouses and factory spaces of the neighborhood have been converted to posh restaurants and clothing stores, the signs of its very different past are still readily apparent. You'll view these signs alongside either a preservationist, or an urban or architectural historian, getting an informed opinion about the the district's importance to New York's late 19th-century and early 20th-century growth, and its decline following the emergence of container shipping. Included in this tour, you'll visit the High Line Park and early refrigerated buildings, and get a look at architectural remnants such as brick facades, and neighborhood's winding, block-paved streets. This incredible tour really packs a lunch! ...I mean punch!
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