Clusters of tourism sites in Manhattan

Manhattan is 13 miles or 21 km long and around 2 miles/3km across. Places are clustered, sort of.


MIDTOWN includes the Public Library main branch, Grand Central, Empire State Building, Macy’s, Bryant Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s.


CENTRAL PARK is north of Midtown.


THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT is close to the Statue Of Liberty and Staten Island ferries, National September 11 Memorial, Wall Street, South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s fairly close to Chinatown.


My company does walking tours that may go through up to 3 districts in a tour:


SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown.


Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO.


Brooklyn Heights, ferry boat to Wall Street, and African Burial Ground.


Grand Central, Saint Patrick’s, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square.


Brooklyn Heights, ferry to Manhattan, Murray Hill, and end at customer’s choice of Grand Central or Empire State Building.

IT’S SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!!

IT’S SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!
Parade tips:

I’ve walked the parade 20 times, and have been caught in crowds in other years.

There will be tremendous, tremendous numbers of people on 5th Avenue sidewalks in Midtown, as you can see from my 2018 photo. You can bypass all that by going up to the expensive apartments and mansions of upper 5th Avenue.

The best place, in my opinion, to view the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is on 5th Avenue North of 59th street.  That’s across 5th from Central Park. Don’t stand in the park. There’s a wall and you might not be able to see over it.The parade will march northward from 44th street up to 79th. You might get a good spot right at the railing.

This photo was taken at the corner of 51st and 5th looking South. Saint Patrick’s would have been to the rear left. The building in foreground is the British Empire Building of Rockefeller Center. If you need to get down to 48th street and don’t want to walk sideways very slowly, go west – right – on 51st to Rockefeller Plaza. Walk through it to 48th or whatever, then wade back to 5th.

It’s virtually impossible to cross 5th Avenue except at the wider, 2 way traffic streets like 72nd and 57th.

PARADE HACK: if alone, you may be able to inveigle yourself into marching the whole way by buying a big (at least 6′ x 4′) tricolor flag on a flagpole, then walking amongst the AOH groups from 44th to 48th streets before 10 AM. Ask them, while displaying your flag, if they happen to need a flagman/woman in their group. You must commit to walking the entire route of nearly two miles. This hack worked for me 15 years in a row.

Trust me, I’m not only an O’Connor: I was related to Cardinal O’Connor.

Favorite Rooftop Bars

The Knickerbocker Hotel rooftop (actually a setback) bar has a great Times Square view. 100 years ago the bartender’s name was Martini. Not gonna tell you what he invented.

For a quieter vibe, you might try the Library Hotel at 41st and Mad. Not great views, but it’s quiet and sunny.

1 Hotel in Brooklyn near Pier A has a FANTASTIC harbor view. Very impressive.

Great harbor views from 1 Hotel Brooklyn

However, when I last went up in 2020, it had been ‘discovered’ by the DUMBO set, who seemed to require very loud music. I hope that’s changed.

Personal Favorite: 50 Bowery. Music isn’t too loud. Largely young office-worker non-Asian people, though it’s in the heart of Chinatown. I like taking my Chinatown tour customers up, post-tour.

Friday at 6


Nearly a 360° view. That means perfect views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, as well as Midtown, the Financial District and both rivers. Great views of Canal Street (which is more interesting than you’d think). You can see DUMBO, much of the Lower East Side and Little Italy.

NYC movie scenes in walking tours

Does this look familiar? Lyra Belaqua, played by Dakota Blue Richards, ran down this Manhattan block in the film The Golden Compass. The block of identical wooden houses is on my Washington Heights tour.

Same block in the movie!

This block is on my Brooklyn Bridge  & Brooklyn Heights tour. Why the studio decided to use the blue Brooklyn house as the Washington, DC home of Kay Graham, played by Meryl Streep as the former owner of The Washington Post in the film The Post, is beyond me.

Riffing off Mystery Science Theatre 3000, I call these posters ‘moviesign.’  Printed by the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television, they warn car owners to stay away on certain days so that movie or tv trucks can park there. It’s a great way to learn what movie or TV show is filmed where and when. This one was for the 4th season of the TV show Power, in 2017.  Watch my @tourguidestan Twitter for #moviesign mentions.

Movie directors love to use icons as backdrops.Washington Arch is a New York City icon. Consider every ‘famous city’ movie you’ve ever seen. Are some scenes within sight of a famous icon in that city? You bet.  Because moviegoers will remember their own experience in that spot. That’s a big selling point, so directors use the icons. Washington Square arch has been used for many films. Here is a link to a short YouTube video of mine. In 20 seconds it shows you the exact locations near the arch where scenes in four films were made: https://youtu.be/8BHhRgjVeeI

McSorley’s Old Ale House was used in an episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. It’s one of my favorite bars in town, for many reasons, one being
MCSORLEY’S DOESN’T BLAST LOUD MUSIC.
I take customers here when we ‘do’ the East Village, and at the end of Mrs Maisel’s Marvelous Greenwich Village. https://youtu.be/zJQtj48uKT4

At the poet’s walk, or the literary walk, in Central Park, film Scenes have been shot here since at least 1979, when Meryl Streep stood by the statue of Robert Burns and Dustin Hoffman took up the opposite spot by Walter Scott. Kramer vs. Kramer.

But that’s only the earliest Literary Walk film scene I can think of. How about some more?

Enchanted

Autumn In New York

Home Alone II: Lost In New York

Icons, baby. It’s all about the icons! And New York holds sooo many icons that it’s the perfect city to shoot in. That’s why as many as 400 movies and TV shows are shot in New York annually. Take some of my tours and stand exactly where the stars stood. Go to http://www.isleofnewyorktours.com or write the email address in this video: https://youtu.be/SKTNhcJRjwQ