Day Tour

Brooklyn, Portrait of a City (3 Hours)

Context Travel

New York City, NY United States

Valid for Travel Now Through: 01 Feb 2021

Brooklyn, Portrait of a City (3 Hours )

New York City, NY United States

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking & Biking

Meals

None

Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level

Moderate

Description

During this walk of Brooklyn's major neighborhoods, we'll paint a portrait of the social and economic history, the architecture, and the dynamic cultural make-up of New York City's most fascinating borough. Led by an urban historian, this walk is geared to visitors and residents who want to move beyond Manhattan to learn more about the various faces of the city.

Located across the narrow East River from Manhattan, Brooklyn has always existed as a world apart. An independent city until 1898, Brooklyn is the largest of New York's five boroughs. It is at once an intensely historic place, with some of the city's oldest brownstone apartment buildings and such world-famous monuments as the Brooklyn Bridge, and an essentially current, dynamic part of the contemporary city. During our walking seminar we'll focus on the development of Brooklyn during the 19th century when it exploded architecturally, commercially, and culturally to, at points, rival Manhattan. Our walk will focus strongly on the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights—the historic area directly across from lower Manhattan—and surrounding neighborhoods, shifting gears from architectural and social history to contemporary politics, art, food, culture, and ethnic identity.

We'll consider the development of Brooklyn Heights in the 19th century as a refuge for genteel families from the squalor of Manhattan island. Looking closely at the Federal-style brownstones, clapboard houses, and mews along lush, tree-lined streets, we'll trace the development of a distinct Brooklyn character over the centuries and consider such figures as Carson McCullers, one of the Heights' many resident authors who wrote how "it is strange in New York to find yourself living in a neighborhood."

Our walk will also include a stroll through DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a former warehouse district that has become a trendy gallery zone. Here we'll walk some of the docks and waterfront to trace the origins of Brooklyn as a maritime port and discuss the importance of trade and commerce to the city until the 1970s when larger, deep water ports in New Jersey surpassed the shallower ones in the East River. Our perambulations may also take us along the Promenade, where we may visit Henry Ward Beecher's Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, a famous stop on the Underground Railroad.

If there's time, we'll also venture into such peripheral neighborhoods as Carroll Gardens, a historically Italian neighborhood, and Boerum Hill, home to a lively mix of Middle Eastern food shops and boutiques and cafes that make Midtown Manhattan feel hours away.

By the end of our time together, we'll emerge with a portrait of Brooklyn, a city within a city, and a deeper understanding of the important role its played in the history and culture of New York.

About Us

Context Travel offers cultural and historical tours and activities led by deep subject-matter experts in over 50 cities around the world. With coverage of lesser known locales as well as main city sites, our experts take clients through in-depth, thematic topics to help them get to know a city more deeply. The tours are designed to be the ideal environment for learning – they are conversation-driven private experiences that are structured, but never scripted.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our docent, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the docent. No shows are treated as last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within three business days need to be made by phone to the emergency number provided in your confirmation email. Cancellations within three business days made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored. Other terms and conditions may apply.



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Reviews and Recommendations for Context Travel

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Italy trip

By: Joe C


Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2018

Without question they did a superb job.
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"The Great European Tour"

By: MJ


Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018

The trip was our first experience with Context and it was amazing!
Travel Advisor:  Donna Peacock
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informative

By: Shari


Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2018

The 6 person maximum of Context tours really made for an intimate learning experience. The docents they get to lead the groups were top notch!
Travel Advisor:  Kelly Millington

Context Travel: One very good tour, one medium good tour

By: Rob


Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2019

We had two tours, one entitled "Intro to HK: Colony to Financial Powerhouse" and the other "Kowloon Street Food Tour". The first had an architectural as well as historical framework, which was worthwhile, and our guide was very earnest and enthusiastic. We liked her very much. Our second tour, ostensibly a "Kowloon Street Food" got a little off track onto some political topics (reference is made in the description to discussing "local issues") but we made clear to our guide that we much preferred to spend our limited time checking out the street food and markets, and leaving politics and history aside. (Every guide prior to this had given us a similar capsule history of HK.) In fairness to our review of the guide, my wife and I were extremely tired by the time of our evening tour, and had to conclude the tour early, and we do not fault our guide in any way for our "running out of steam". Our guide was nice, though he made a couple of comments that might have been better left unsaid.
Travel Advisor:  Rachel Dicker

Context Tours

By: DHunt


Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2019

We were highly impressed with context tours. Each guide was very knowledgeable and the private group setting allowed us to really spend time and enjoy each site without feeling like we were part of a herd. Further, the guide is interactive, not just dictating into a radio with information.
Travel Advisor:  Nathan Cripps

Ecellent

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 22 Mar 2019

Great tours, leaders had in depth know,edge and were patient with questions. Length of tours were appropriate and breaks were schedule to accommodate our needs.
Travel Advisor:  Marion Harbison