Although we now know Times Square as “The Crossroads of the World,” this vibrant neighborhood has many layers of identity hidden beneath its shiny facade. On this walk, you’ll learn about the ups and downs of the heart of Manhattan, from its days as Longacre Square, the center of New York’s horse and carriage trade through the gritty, seedy mid-20th century, when 42nd Street was lined with go-go bars and peep shows and was described by the New York Times as “the worst block in town.” We will explore the history of legendary theaters, grand hotels, and lavish movie palaces and see how, even in the midst of massive redevelopment, traces of “old” Times Square remain hidden in plain sight. Stops may include: the former site of the American Horse Exchange, the Astor Hotel, the Paramount Building, the Lamb’s Club, the former Aeolian Hall, and sites associated with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Flo Zeigfeld, Mary Pickford, and many others.
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Consider a private tour!
We’ve done tours for school example, group example and corporate example. Whether you are looking to integrate a tour into your academic curriculm or entertaining out-of-towners, a Big Onion walking tour is a great way to experience the city.
Private tours can be arranged for a weekday, weekend, day or evening. We can accommodate up to 500 walkers. We work closely with you to create an enjoyable experience for your group.Please call us at (212) 439-1090 ext 5 or email us for more information or to arrange.
The southeast corner of 42nd Street & Sixth Avenue, at Bryant Park.
Finding Your Guides
All guides carry an 8×11 sign that says “Big Onion Walking Tours”.
1/2/3/7/B/D/F/Q/N/R to 42nd Street/Times Square.
Time & Distance
All tours last approximately two hours. We start on time and walk between one and two miles at a moderate walking pace, stopping at various sites along the tour.
Big Onion generally presents tours rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather please check our home page for notifications or call our hotline [(888) 606-WALK (9255) ext. 1], to confirm our schedule.
The finest group of tour guides in the city. Most of us are full-time graduate students researching and writing doctoral dissertations in history passionate about the history, architecture and people of New York.
More about our guides.
Gratuities are always appreciated, but never expected.
Full refunds are available by request up until 72 hours prior to a walking tour. Between 72 and 24 hours prior to the scheduled tour we offer credit to be used on any future walk. Cancellations with less than 24 hours prior to the tour or no shows will not be refunded.
Walks are held rain or shine, but may be cancelled for severe weather or if museum is closed. No shows are considered last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. In the event of a Big Onion cancellation or museum closure, full refunds or rescheduled tickets will be offered.
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