You don’t have to travel to far away lands to meet people from all corners of the globe, as New York City has always been a haven of immigration and a melting pot of different cultures. There is a little bit of the whole world in this metropolis – from Italian to Irish, from Jewish to Chinese, from Cuban to Jamaican, and every other nationality in between. New York was built by immigrants and to this day almost 40% of the population is foreign-born.
Nowhere is this welcoming spirit more evident than at The Statue of Liberty with its famous poem by American author Emma Lazarus. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, Emma writes in The New Colossus, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door”. This inspiring poem was written in 1883 and then cast onto a bronze plaque at Lady Liberty in 1903.
With these new arrivals all carving out their own slice of the American Dream, it was inevitable that the Big Apple would become one of the world’s greatest hubs for art, architecture, culture, food, history, music and more. By wandering around the streets and neighborhoods of NYC you feel this extraordinary energy and a sense of instant belonging that no other destination on earth offers. For this reason, one visit is never enough.
If you are planning your first trip and would like to dive into the culture of the city, we recommend booking one of the walking tours in New York with FoodStrolls. Alex is the founder of this family-run business and he is passionate about NYC’s food and history. His private group tours run for two to three hours, so it’s the perfect way for your family or friends to spend an afternoon. Make sure you come hungry because the food is fabulous!
The variety of cuisine on offer throughout the city is remarkable. Browse through the FoodStrolls blog to see what awesome foodie adventures Alex and his family of five have been on lately. From a Thai food paradise in Elmhurst, Queens to the finest Lebanese restaurants in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn – no matter what type of gastronomy you crave when you are out and about in New York City, this blog gives you all the inspiration you need.
Best Walking Tours in New York
There is no better company to help you navigate NYC’s food and history like FoodStrolls. They offer 12 walking tours in New York that cater to all tastes. Backpackers on their first visit might want to get their hands on some of that finger-licking pizza pie! While new immigrants may wish to branch out of their neighborhood to explore a different area of the Big Apple. There is something for everyone but here are the five best tours that we suggest.
1. New York City Pizza Tour
The NYC Pizza Tour takes your group on a three hour adventure through Manhattan, Greenwich Village, West Village and East Village in search of the best pizza in America. Four iconic NYC pies will be on the menu so ensure you leave plenty of space in your stomach for these tastings. Along the way you will get the opportunity to learn about the origins of pizza shops and how the distinctly NYC style of pizza evolved over the years.
As delicious as these slices of pizza are, this isn’t the only dimension to the tour. Various history-based stops will be made at Washington Square Park, tenement buildings and music clubs – plus touring inside Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment from Sex and the City. Like all tours with FoodStrolls, this experience is fully flexible and customizable if you need it to be. Feel free to get in touch with Alex in advance to request any changes.
2. New York City Wine, Food and History Tour
Enjoy two hosts for the price of one on this New York City Wine, Food and History Tour. Alex is joined forces by Matt (a certified Level 3 Sommelier) and together they serve fine wine while discussing secrets of NY’s history, subway and bridges, neighborhood demographics and more. A cool feature of this tour is that you can choose which tour to convert into a wine experience like the Greenwich Village, Chinatown or Brooklyn Heights tour.
Since all the FoodStrolls’ tours have a food component to them, you won’t be going hungry as the wine flows and the conversation heats up. This tour is a wonderful option for groups of travelers looking to celebrate something special. It could be your first ever night in New York City, a birthday or anniversary, or just because you are a wine-lover! All fees charged include food and wine, so you don’t have to worry about extra costs mounting up.
3. Historic New York City Pubs and Taverns Tour
Fancy a night out? Then this pub crawl is the way to go! Alex takes you to the most famous pubs, taverns and speakeasies in town. You will go to the same watering holes that famous politicians, writers and musicians went to. The tour fee includes classic bar bites and four rounds of drinks but you can always order more if you would like. It’s a three and a half hour experience, so four or five drinks is plenty of alcohol to enjoy the night.
One of the most fascinating aspects about the Historic New York City Pubs and Taverns Tour is getting to know about the prohibition period. It lasted from 1920 to 1933 and many NYC establishments struggled to survive during this era. When walking from pub to pub, there will be a few important points of interest to stop at where history can be discussed. If your group would like a longer night out, you could request that with Alex.
4. Brooklyn Heights Food and History Tour
The Brooklyn Heights Food and History Tour is one of the top walking tours in New York as it transports you back in time to the founding of the city’s first suburb. What began as Dutch farmland changed to become one of NYC’s most exclusive neighborhoods, known today as Brooklyn Heights. Several landmarks are included on this two and a half hour itinerary like the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Civic Center and 19th century churches.
Historic architecture isn’t the only highlight of the tour because of course food is what FoodStrolls do best! Local artisan businesses in the area provide guests with delicious dishes like finger-licking NYC pizza, old-school deli sandwiches, sweet pastries from a Middle Eastern market and ice cream that will knock your socks off! Alex leads the way from place to place as you soak up the vibe of arguably New York’s coolest neighborhood.
5. Chinatown and Little Italy Food and History Tour
Chinatown and Little Italy are two cultural powerhouses of NYC that boast incredible food – from tasty soup dumplings and crispy roast pork within the Chinese tradition, to fresh prosciutto ham and stringy mozzarella cheese within the Italian one. Both areas transport you to new continents where for a brief moment it’s hard to believe you are still in America. Alex leads you through these streets where phenomenal cuisine is guaranteed.
On this tour with FoodStrolls you get to learn how these Manhattan neighborhoods developed over time – with a focus on the role of immigration and the changing demographics that took place. Chinatown and Little Italy are two prominent examples of how immigrants have enriched NYC for the better. And by no means are these the only areas that represent mini-countries. There is pretty much a mini everything here!
Every neighborhood of NYC has hidden gems of gastronomy. The more you explore, the more you realize how diverse the cuisine is and how many nationalities are represented – the full A to Z (from Albania to Zambia). You could try to taste it all by yourself or you could join a couple of walking tours in New York with Alex and his family at FoodStrolls. They live and breathe this city and good food is more than just a hobby for them, it’s a way of life.