Welcome to Signature Tours!

Custom-created tours of New York City
...and beyond...

"Thank you for your competence, professionalism and attention to detail."

"...[Our guide was] charming and knowledgeable...did more than recite the facts...gave us the flavor of New York."

Read more about what people have to say about Signature Tours.

All our tours are custom-created...but here are some suggested themes...

  • See a sample tour.
  • From Bauhaus to Beaux Arts...and everything in between! We'll focus on a style or an area or a particular type of structure...or give you a great overview...it's your call!
  • Tour the world-famous Garment District—"Project Runway," sample sales, showrooms, a cutting factory and more...or tour the various shopping enclaves in New York City, from 5th Avenue to NoLIta...all with your personal shopping guide showing you around...and switching that size 8 for a 6 while you're stuck in the fitting room!
  • Gallery tours—SoHo, Chelsea, DUMBO, etc. (even art-buying tours), as well as museum tours (Met, MoMA, Guggenheim, etc.)...and don't forget our city's world-class collection of public art and statuary!
  • From hip-hop to classical—see Verdi Square, see where "Rhapsody in Blue" was written, where John Lennon was murdered, where Jay-Z lives; tour Carnegie Hall, visit a recording studio, "crawl" down Bleecker Street's music clubs...hear Music Under New York, the City's official endorsement of subway buskers...and much more.
  • From Rucker Park to the West 4th Street Basketball courts and Madison Square Garden...from Yankee Stadium to Trump World Tower (where Derek Jeter lives!)...and, yes, much more...
  • FOOD
  • Culinary or "noshing" tours can be based on a particular type of food (pizza? chocolate?), a particular cuisine (Middle Eastern, Chinese, etc.), a neighborhood (the Lower East Side, for example, has a huge variety of ethnicities) and so forth—all cross-referenced with the history and culture of the city. Eat. Walk. Learn. Eat.
  • Each New York City neighborhood is like a city within the City...defined not only by ethnicity (Chinatown, for example), but by architecture (SoHo is the former Cast Iron District), purpose (the Financial District, the Meatpacking District), history and topography (Hamilton Heights, for instance, is the hilly area where Alexander Hamilton had his estate). There may be no better way to learn about what makes the City what it is.
  • Harlem on Sunday...there's nothing like it. Join the churchgoers in their finery, get inspired by a gospel choir and some no-holds-barred preachin'. Drink in the history and the culture of Harlem and top it all off with brunch at one of the area's famous soul-food restaurants.
  • One way of "reading" New York City's hugely diverse population is through its churches and temples, from the world-renowned St. Patrick's Cathedral to the imposing Harlem Mosque to the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue to the tiny Chinatown storefront called the Eastern States Buddhist Temple...and there are so many more.
  • Yes, "Sex and the City," but also "Gossip Girl," "Hitch," "Stuart Little," "Enchanted"...hey, don't get us started! Where shows were filmed, why the locations might look different in person, who lives where (both in real life and on the screen)...in this most filmed city in the world.
  • Where Norman Mailer lived, where Edgar Allen Poe wrote, what Greenwich Village meant to writers from O. Henry to Dos Passos...visit Shakespeare Garden and Literary Walk in Central Park, Cervantes' statue at NYU, the spectacular main branch of the New York Public Library...and, oh, the list goes on and on...
  • See the hotel where one wiseguy went into the barbershop to get "just a little off the top" and—you guessed it—got clipped...or where "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, "Legs" Diamond and Willie Sutton lived. How about the East Harlem eatery where TV and movie mobsters break bread every day alongside the real article? And there's much more in "Gangland Gotham," including a lunch in Little Italy, possibly even where Joey Gallo got whacked back in the 70's...
  • Get the long view of the extraordinary history of New York City, founded not out of a quest for religious freedom (as most other historic American cities were), but in the service of the almighty dollar (well, actually, guilder, the Dutch currency)—from the quiet Native American presence to the Dutch West India Company to the bloodless British takeover and the very bloody Revolutionary War...all the way to the present. Or...focus on one issue or aspect of our history: political, cultural, financial, etc. As always, your choice!
  • It's a truism that in New York City "everyone comes from somewhere else." OK, maybe not everyone, but there may be no city on earth that is comparably diverse. There are sections of Chinatown where you will believe you are in China, areas of Washington Heights where, but for the lack of palm trees, you'll swear you're in the Dominican Republic. Exploring all this with your guide, you will have, in some sense, taken that trip around the world you've always wanted.
  • The city's beginnings were about money...and that's one thing that hasn't changed in its almost 400-year history. Wall Street, the NASDAQ, the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs (did we mention Goldman Sachs...?)...from the charmingly-named contract establishing the New York Stock Exchange (the Buttonwood Agreement!) to the fall of Lehman Brothers...money makes the world go 'round and the money capital of the world is New York City!
  • Raconteur, Russian emigré, filmmaker, MFA, songwriter (for Russian rock star Garik Sukachev!), foodie par excellence, tri-lingual explainer of all things New York, Vadim sees the city through an artist's lens and with the soul of a true New Yorker. Take a tour with Vadim and you will see what he sees. Some tours he's given: the Wet Tour (done only when it's pouring out, this tour is way more than the Hudson River...it's about bays and canals and ponds and underground springs, some filled in by history, some still flowing...it's about bridges and rocks and waves...and how a city that walks everywhere is transformed by rain)...or the Life and Death Tour (well, actually, it's mostly death...cemeteries abound...ancient Jewish and African burial grounds...a columbarium...favorite suicide spots...no, really...)...or the I-Have-a-Love/Hate-Relationship-with-New-York Tour (this is the very essence of the New Yorker...stay here six months and this tour will be all about you!). Told you Vadim was, well, "unusual"...
  • ...and much more

The name of this most famous borough (until 1898, the entirety of New York City) is said to derive from the Lenni Lenape word "Manna-hatta," which has been variously translated as "island of the hills" and "island of general inebriation."  Since most of the hills were leveled as a result of the 1811 Commissioner's Plan—and since nowadays there's a watering hole on every other corner—we're going with the second one.  Bottom's up!

Despite living in New York City's most populous borough, the many Brooklynites who are employed in Manhattan still say they work in "the city"...yet, before the consolidation of 1898 (which united all five boroughs into one huge city, at the time second only to London in population), everyone thought Brooklyn was going to be THE city.  Today, with extensive waterfront development and trendy, revitalized neighborhoods like DUMBO and Williamsburg, Brooklyn is surely giving Manhattan a run for its money.

The Bronx is the only borough of New York City that is entirely on the mainland.  Named for Jonas Bronck who established a farm there in 1639, it developed a terrible reputation for crime in modern times, thanks to movies like Fort Apache, the Bronx.  Nowadays it's considerably safer and there is much on the positive side to see—Arthur Avenue (the Bronx' own Little Italy), the winding lanes of Fieldston, the spectacular beauty of Wave Hill, among whose residents were personages of no less celebrity than Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt—and much more.

The largest borough in terms of area, Queens is widely-regarded as the most multiethnic location in the United States.  Forget the United Nations!  Just take the 7 train and get off at every stop for a different national cuisine.  Made famous in The King of Queens, it is home to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (yes, in New York City!), the elegant single-family homes of Malba, the wonderful ocean beaches of the Rockaways and, of course, the US Open.

Perhaps known best for the iconic Staten Island Ferry (free to all comers), it's also where the largest sporting event in the world, the New York City Marathon, starts.  Distinct in character from the rest of New York City—it's almost suburban—Staten Island has actually, in the not-too-distant past, considered seceding from it.  But don't write off the "forgotten borough!"  It is home to treasures such as a beautifully-preserved row of Greek revival buildings and the lovely Chinese Scholar's Garden—and it's where (of course!) the reality TV show Staten Island Cakes is filmed.

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