We will meander through Central Park's romantic landscape and walk along the Mall — the only straight road in the park. We'll admire the Bethesda Terrace, the Lake, and the Reservoir with its breathtaking views. We will stroll along the Museum Mile — a section of 5th Ave that hosts 11 museums, and will see spectacular Gilded Age mansions that once belonged to the wealthiest New York elites.
The Grand Army Plaza, corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street at the south-east entrance to Central Park
11:00 PM Meeting and introductions
11:00-11:10 A bit of NYC history, geography, and our meeting location
Please, note that this is just a sample itinerary, I'm suggesting my favorite places.
- Central Park
Central Park, the green wonder of New York, is the first designed urban park in the United States and large enough to fit the kingdom of Monaco almost twice! Despite its deceptive appearance as a creation of Mother Nature, the park is man-made. There are 36 unique bridges and arches, with no two looking alike. The nearly 20,000 trees that live in the park are all planted.
- Inscope Arch
One of unique arches that give the Park its romantic look, designed by one of the Park's creators Calvert Vaux.
- Balto Statue
New Yorkers love dogs and there are some being walked in Central Park. Yet this one is very special. Balto was a true hero and one of the very few world’s canine heroes commemorated in public monuments.
- William Shakespeare Statue
The statue pays tribute to the legendary writer and was donated by the citizens of New York in 1864, honoring the 300th anniversary of his birth.
- The Mall and Literary Walk
The Mall remains the sole formal feature of Olmsted and Vaux's naturalistic creation. Referred to as an "open air hall of reception", the Mall was specially designed as a promenade, and one can picture Gilded Age public strolling along. The designers arranged trees in regular rows and chose American elms because their curvy and overarching branches create an impression of an architectural space compared to the vaulting of a cathedral.
- Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
The terrace overlooking the lake is known as the ‘heart of the park,’ and combines architecture and nature into one organism. The Bethesda Fountain, the gorgeous focal point of the Bethesda Terrace, is one of the largest fountains in New York. The statue at its center was the only sculpture to have been commissioned as a part of Central Park's original design.
- Frick Collection
The museum is housed in what used to be a private house of Henry Clay Frick, a Gilded Age robber baron who made his fortune in coal and steel. It was built in 1914 by Thomas Hastings of Carrère and Hastings (the architectural firm that designed New York Public Library). Frick willed the house and all of its contents, including the works of art, furniture, and decorative objects, as a public museum.
- Ukrainian Institute/Sinclair/Fletcher mansion
Built in 1899 for Isaac D. Fletcher, businessman, art collector and museum benefactor, this is one of the grandest turn-of-the-century Gilded Age structures that remain in New York City.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met Museum, which houses humanity’s greatest accomplishments spanning the last 6,000 years, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest wonders. With 17 curatorial departments, over 2 million works in its permanent collections, and tens of thousands of pieces on display at any given time, the Metropolitan has certainly fulfilled the dream of its founders to give New York a cultural institution worthy of the great city.
- The Obelisk or Cleopatra's Needle
Even though the Obelisk bears the name of “Cleopatra's Needle,” it is actually much older than the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. It was erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis in 1475 BC, and 14 centuries later was bought to Alexandria by Rome’s Augustus Caesar. Low and behold, in 1881 it found itself in New York City.
- Neue Gallery
The beautiful mansion that houses Neue Gallery was modeled on the 17th-century Place des Vosges in Paris. It was designed in 1914 by the architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings, well-known for their Beaux-Arts masterpieces such as the New York Public Library. It's one of the few Gilded Age mansions to survive to our days and now houses the Neue Gallery, a museum of Austrian Art.
- Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim, a businessman, art collector, and part-heir to a great mining fortune, began collecting abstract art in the 1920s. The commission to build the museum for his collection was given to the only individual suitable for the task: leading American architect, innovator, and creator of the concept of organic architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright. The founders gave the architect only one requirement: “The building should be unlike any other museum in the world.”
- Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum/Carnegie Mansion
All Andrew Carnegie wanted for his home was "the most modest, plainest, and most roomy house in New York." While the 64 room Georgian Revival house succeeded in being roomy, it failed at being plain. Andrew Carnegie, the great philanthropic industrialist and one of the wealthiest Gilded Age industrialists, owned quite a few homes, but this was his favorite. Here he spent his last happy years, enjoying his small family and many philanthropic endeavors.
The Reservoir was a part of the system that brought fresh water from upstate to New York City. Central Park Reservoir, now called Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, is no longer used as a source of drinking water, but it provides a beautiful backdrop for runners and strollers with some of the most breathtaking views in New York.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park at 91st Street
Please, contact me if you'd like to book a tour on a non-working day, I can be flexible.
This tour involves a lot of walking. Please, wear comfortable shoes and dress according to the weather.
Iren was knowledgeable, kind and very thorough! She showed, explained, enlightened and discovered fabulous icons and places in New York. She anticipated our needs and was very accommodating. She is exceptional!
Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it!
Iren was friendly, on-time, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, well-prepared, and just a joy to spend time with. By the end of our time with her we felt like we were seeing the city with a good friend. We had told her what we were interested in seeing, and she set it all up in a very logical order. We has such a good time with her.
Dear John and Elaine, thank you! It was a joy exploring the city with you, and - you took the words right out of my mouth - it did feel like spending time with friends. I'm very happy you had a good time in New York and hope you'll come back to visit again, there are just too many stories left to tell!
Our tour with Iren was absolutely awesome! She was very friendly and accommodating, and extremely knowledgeable of all the sites we visited. She made our experience most enjoyable, and gave us an appreciation of the city that we otherwise may not have had. I highly recommend Iren for any tour when you are in New York. We will definitely be looking her up again and will recommend her to everyone! Thank you Iren for an unforgettable day! ❤️
Dear Christie, thank you so much for your warm words, for choosing my tour and for being such a fun group! You made it a pleasure to share my enthusiasm for New York with you. We did have a wonderful day! There is so much more to see and do in the city; I hope you will come again and hope I can be a part of your next visit!