Alternative New York: Take a Tour on the Wild Side
Come along on a journey through New York City’s historic East Village, home of some of the most important cultural, political and intellectual movements in American history. From Astor Place and Cooper Union Square, through St. Marks Place, Tompkins Square Park and the once gritty and mean streets of Alphabet City, you’ll learn about the rich and fascinating story of this incredible section of Manhattan.
The East Village is a story of ground-breaking artistic expression, of riots and real estate, community activism and restoration; it is a tale of crime, and drugs, and tragedy; a saga of inspiration, resilience, strength and courage. This is where President Lincoln made a name for himself, where the Beat Generation thrived, where Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground inevitably exploded; where Patti Smith helped launch CBGB and where CBGB launched punk rock and new wave. (Be sure to check out our New York Subway Art Tour and our Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Tour.
Sights we cover on the tour:
- St. Mark’s Place – a street where so many groundbreaking artists lived.
- Astor Place and Cooper Union Square- Site of the Astor Place riots and Cooper Union Hall where in 1859 a little known politician named Abraham Lincoln gave a revolutionary anti-slavery speech that would lead to his nomination.
- Tompkins Square Park – history-rich site of violence, riots, political speeches and even a shocking murder.
- The Mosaic Trail – art by the legendary Mosaic Man and one of the must-see treats in the City.
- Sites of former legendary venues former Fillmore East, Electric Circus, the Pyramid Club transvestites.
- The General Slocum Monument in honor of the 1200 people who died in a single afternoon in the tragic General Slocum disaster of 1904.
Learn more about tour guide Dante’s encounter with the Mosaic Man on our blog.
Where: Meet your guide outside the Astor Place Downtown Subway Station (6 line) at the intersection of E 8th St, Astor Place, and Lafayette Ave. (map) Your guide will be waiting outside of the Starbucks.
Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Total distance is approximately 1.5 mile (2K)
When: View our Full Calendar.
Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget. Click here for tips for enjoying New York City on a budget.