During a typical tour of Manhattan, major tourist attractions attract all the attention. For example, Times Square, Empire State Building, Central Park. But on new walking tours from a local guide, you'll see secret historical sites you won't find in a regular guidebook. Time-out.
Tours from Kay Crombie "Death in New York", "Psychiatric History of New York" and "Hell Gate" explore the dark side of the city through theatrically presented historical stories.
It all started in the early days of the pandemic, when a guide spotted refrigerated trucks for COVID-19 victims on the city streets. This got her thinking about sanitation and the idea of making a map of all the city's cemeteries for the burial of unknown people. She plunged into research and published a book “Death in New York: the history and culture of burials, burials and executions”. And then she turned her work into a walking tour.
“There are no ghosts here, no legends,” says Crombie. The theme of all my tours is what the city doesn't want you to see. It's about the mismanagement of death."
Tour spans over four centuries of life and death in Lower Manhattan
You will learn about the first death of a European in New York (murder). And also hear about the funeral of President Lincoln in Union Square. Find out where undamaged skeletons are still found, walk along the city funeral row and much more.
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After launching the Death in New York tour, Crombie began to explore the history of the city's psychiatry and the history of Hell Gate, creating tours on both topics. The Psychiatric History of New York tour focuses on the Upper East Side. It examines the journey of psychiatry from Central Europe to America and discusses the psychoanalytic explosion that took place in New York. And also given the opportunity to look at the psychiatric islands of the East River.
The Hell Gate tour explores the history of this treacherous section of the East River. You'll learn about the thwarted Nazi plot to blow up the Hell Gate Bridge, the whirlpool engulfing ships, and the Hell Gate explosions.
Each excursion is a 4 km long walk in two and a half hours
Tours "Death in New York" and "Psychiatric History of New York" are held weekly. And "Hell-Gate" - twice a month. The cost of excursions is 32-34 dollars per person. Book you can take a tour here.
This summer, Crombie will be releasing a tour of the father of the atomic bomb J. Robert Oppenheimer's connections to New York City, with a focus on the Upper West Side.
Since she started doing tours last year, she's noticed that these themes have attracted New Yorkers.
“When you live in a place for a long time, you tend to take it for granted,” she said. “They are rediscovering the city they live in. I think this is significant.”
Tours are open to everyone - New Yorkers and visitors to the city.