Bike the Big Apple (www.bikethebigapple.com )
Licensed guides take cyclists through both historic and newly hip neighborhoods on themed tours. The five and seven hour rides are family friendly and gently paced, and they can be customized to your interest and riding level. Check the website for seasonal events and deals. The cost varies from $70 to $80 which includes the bicycle and helmet.
Central Park Bike Tours (www.centralparkbiketour.com )
The main tour visits the John Lennon memorial at Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle and the Shakespeare Garden. Film buffs will enjoy the Central Park Movie Scenes Bike Tour, which passes locations from When Harry Met Sally…and Wall Street. Most tours run at a leisurely two hours duration. Spanish language tours are also available. The cost is $40 and $20 for under 15s.
Circle Line Cruises (www.circleline.com )
Circle Line’s famed three hour guided circumnavigation of Manhattan is a great way to see the sights. Themed tours include a New Year’s Eve cruise, a DJ dance party or a fall foliage ride to Bear Mountain in the Hudson Valley. From April to October, there is a fun 30 minute speedboat ride on The Beast. The tickets are $29.50, $25 for seniors and $17 for children. This cruise is located at South Street Seaport, Pier 16, by Burling Slip & Fulton Street. For subway take A, C, E to 42nd Street-Port Authority.
NY Waterway (www.nywaterway.com )
The scenic 90 minute ride run by NY Waterway makes a complete circuit around Manhattan’s landmarks. A sundown ‘City Lights Tour’, and other specialist cruises focusing on architecture and history are also available. The price is $26, $21 for seniors and $15 under-12s. The subway ride is the same as Circle Line Cruises.
Gray Line (www.graylinenewyork.com )
Yes, this is your grandma’s classic red double-decker, but it offers something to interest everyone. Gray Line operates more than 20 bus tours, from a basic two hour ride to the guided Manhattan Comprehensive, which lasts an impressive eight and a half hours and includes lunch, admission to a United Nations tour and a boat ride to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Check the website for online deals. The prices vary from $40 to $82 and once again the subway ride is the same as Circle Line Cruises.
By Helicopter, carriage or rickshaw
Liberty Helicopter Tours (www.libertyhelicopters.com )
There will not be any daredevil swooping and diving on this tour-Liberty’s helicopters provide a fairly smooth flight-but the views are exciting enough. Even a five minute ride is long enough to give you a thrilling look at the Empire State Building and Central Park. The price varies from $77.50 to $206.50. For subway take R, W to Whitehall Street; 1 to South Ferry.
Manhattan Carriage Company (www.ajnfineart.com )
The beauty of Central Park seems even more romantic from the seat of a horse drawn carriage. Choose your coach from those lined up on the streets along the southern end of the park, or book in advance. Tickets are for $40 per 20-minute ride. Take the N, Q, R, W to 57th Street if you are traveling by subway.
Manhattan Rickshaw Company (www.manhattanrickshaw.com )
Manhattan Rickshaw’s pedicabs operate in Greenwich Village, Soho, Times Square and the Theater District. If you see one that is available, hail the driver. For a pre-arranged pick-up make reservations 2 hours in advance. Prices are between $10 to $50.
Adventure on a Shoestring
The motto of this 45 year old organization is ‘Exploring the world within our reach…within our means’, and founder Howard Goldberg is dedicated to revealing the ‘real’ New York. The company’s walks take you from one charming neighborhood to another, and topics can include Millionaire’s Row and Haunted Greenwich Village. Special celebrity theme tours, including tributes to such luminaries as Jackie O, Katharine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, are also available. Tickets are at a fixed price of $10 and for booking one can call on 1-212-265-2663.
Big Onion Walking Tours (www.bigonion.com )
New York was known as the Big Onion before it became the Big Apple. The tour guides will explain why, and they should know-they all hold advanced degrees in history. Check the website for meeting locations. Private tours are also available. Tickets are sold at $15, $12 for seniors and $10 for students.
Harlem Heritage Tours (www.harlemheritage.com )
Now operating more than 15 bus and walking tours, this organization shows visitors the soul of Harlem. ‘Harlem Song, Harlem Nights’ takes you to landmarks such as the Apollo Theater. The ‘Renaissance’ tour walks you through Prohibition-era speakeasies, nightclubs and one-time residences of artists, writers and musicians. Tickets are between $20 to $100.