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New York

New York City at a Slower Pace: The Best of the Big Apple

Program No. 23029RJ
Hear New Yorkers’ formidable stories and join art, architecture and history experts to explore New York at a slower pace.

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At a Glance

Discover the best of the "big apple" as you explore the city at your own pace. Walk in the footsteps of millions of migrants at Liberty and Ellis Islands, and learn their stories at the Immigration Museum. While visiting Rockefeller Center, stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral, a symbol of the successful assimilation of New York's Irish population, on fashionable Fifth Avenue. Taste the diverse flavors of this city as you dine like a New Yorker! See the city through the eyes of art, architecture and history experts as they lead you through New York's iconic sights.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
This program is specifically for those who want to avoid subways. We will have a private coach to transport us on most field trips. Walking up to a mile at time and climbing stairs.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Discover the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a museum that is to New York what the Louvre is to Paris.
  • Recall the heady days of the world’s largest privately owned entertainment and business complex at Rockefeller Plaza.
  • Explore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, gateway to America for millions of immigrants.

General Notes

There are lots of different ways to explore New York City depending on your preference of pace and modes of transportation, program inclusions and time available for travel. Visit to explore them all!
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Richard Turnbull
Richard Turnbull is an assistant professor in the History of Art Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and lectures regularly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. He has published numerous articles on topics from the challenges of being an adjunct professor to the photography of Luke Smalley, and has forthcoming articles on Islamic art and 70s pop music and culture. Richard earned his Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Richard Turnbull
Richard Turnbull View biography
Richard Turnbull is an assistant professor in the History of Art Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and lectures regularly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. He has published numerous articles on topics from the challenges of being an adjunct professor to the photography of Luke Smalley, and has forthcoming articles on Islamic art and 70s pop music and culture. Richard earned his Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts.
Profile Image of Tom Bernardin
Tom Bernardin View biography
As a National Park Service Guide at Ellis Island, Tom Bernardin became an avid collector of Statue of Liberty memorabilia — and his association with Ellis Island inspired him to write "The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook: The Story of Our Past Told Through the Recipes and Reminiscences of our Immigrant Ancestors." He has made guest appearances on National Public Radio, the TV Food Network, Arts and Entertainment and the History Channel.
Profile Image of Angela Christensen
Angela Christensen View biography
Angela Christensen is a licensed New York City excursion leader who has extensive experience in event planning and hospitality. She worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society managing events in the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, Prospect Park, the Queens Zoo and the New York Aquarium. Now, she loves showing off her city with lifelong learners from around the world!
Profile Image of Karl Baudendistel
Karl Baudendistel View biography
A New York City resident for more than 25 years, Karl Baudendistel loves sharing his knowledge of the city with visitors from around the world. Having spent 20 years overseeing ‘the business of show business’ for numerous Broadway and touring productions, chances are he’s been to a city near you. Karl is a member of The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, is a trained sommelier and was educated at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
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While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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6 days
5 nights
11 meals
5 B 2 L 4 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
New York
Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:30 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. Between 4:00 - 4:30 p.m., come to the hotel’s boardroom located on the lower level to register with the Group Leader. Orientation: 4:30 p.m. In the same space, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Group Leaders on our programs are highly trained and knowledgeable about many aspects of the city. We will also have the benefit of local experts who will provide information and commentary on areas of particular interest. If you wish to attend an event independently, such as a Broadway show or a performance at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, etc., you may want to order tickets in advance. Same-day tickets for many performances are available at 20% to 50% off regular prices at the TKTS Discount Booth. The Group Leader will be happy to give advice on how to make it go as smoothly as possible. See for details. The app TODAYTIX is also helpful. One can purchase future performances at a discount. The fee is modest and well below those paid on Ticketmaster or Telecharge. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/current conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: 6:00 p.m. We will walk to a neighborhood restaurant.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

NYC Intro, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral
New York
Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; city driving. Walking a few blocks in Rockefeller Center area, approximately an hour; urban terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll be joined by an historian for an introductory lecture on New York City, a city with its own unique personality. We’ll then board our motorcoach and ride over to Fifth Avenue where we’ll explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center, including Top of the Rock for a bird’s-eye view of the city.

Lunch: At a neighborhood restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we'll stop in at Radio City Musical for a private look behind the scenes. We’ll return to the hotel via our motor coach for a little break before dinner.

Dinner: At a neighborhood restaurant.

Evening: Following dinner, we'll take a stroll to explore Times Square.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island; Little Italy
New York
Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; city driving. Getting on/off New York harbor ferries. Walking at your own pace on Liberty & Ellis islands.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll begin our morning by meeting a former National Parks Ranger for a historical look at Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty. Then we'll board our coach and head downtown to the very bottom tip of Manhattan island where we'll board the ferry for our day on Liberty & Ellis Islands. We will explore both islands at our own pace to see and do what interests each of us most. Liberty Island features a wonderful state of the art museum dedicated to the statue. It is not to be missed. Additionally, you may choose to stroll around the island while listening to the included audio guide or join up with a NPS Ranger. The Statue of Liberty was an amazing gift to the people of America from the people of France — our oldest ally — celebrating freedom and democracy. We’ve seen this national monument in countless movies and TV shows and may even take it for granted, but at its unveiling on the Fourth of July 1884, it was the biggest event in the country. Years later, these words of poet Emma Lazarus were added: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” With the opening of the new museum, the park service no longer includes entry into the pedestal or the statue as part of our admission. If this is something you would like to do, these tickets may be arranged separately, in advance of the program and at your own cost via the NPS exclusive ticket seller: Note: Choosing to arrange this for yourself will require a great deal more time on Liberty Island and will necessarily reduce your time on Ellis Island.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. Both Liberty and Ellis Islands have cafeterias.

Afternoon: Next, it’s on to Ellis Island. From 1892 when the immigration station opened until it closed in 1954, more than 12 million people coming to America passed through Ellis Island. This was their “golden door” to new lives. Today, the descendants of these immigrants make up almost half of all Americans. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration tells the story of where people came from and what their experience was like. Many went first from Ellis Island to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, at one time the most densely populated neighborhood on earth. The museum includes numerous exhibits, an included audio guide, NPS Ranger-led walks, a documentary film and the family research center where you may choose to look up the historical documents that pertain to your family’s history through Ellis Island. We’ll reconvene with our Group Leader mid-afternoon for a brief visit to the 9/11 Memorial before returning to the hotel. You may choose to return to the site during your free time on Wednesday if you wish to visit the museum. Advance tickets are encouraged and they can be obtained by going to the museum's website.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: The evening is at leisure.

Broadway History, NY Public Library, Free Time
New York
Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles with frequent stops; city streets. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll begin this morning with a talk on the history of musical theater in NYC. Broadway is a huge economic engine for the city, generating more income that all 10 of our major league sports teams, combined. Later, we'll stroll over the main branch of the New York Public Library where we'll visit their marvelous Treasures Exhibit, displaying incredible pieces from their collection including a Gutenberg Bible, the original Winnie the Pooh dolls, the Commissioner's Plan map laying out the grid of NYC; Dickens' desk, etc.

Lunch: We’ll have a bag lunch “picnic” in Bryant Park, a wonderful oasis in the heart of midtown. Located just a couple blocks from the hotel, the park is centrally located to begin an afternoon of independent exploration.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York
Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; city driving. Walking about 1/2 mile through Central Park; at your own pace through the museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board our motor coach and ride to the Upper West Side neighborhood where we’ll stroll across Central Park to The Met Museum. An art historian will join us to provide an overview of the museum.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Metropolitan offers both a cafeteria on the lower level of the Lehman Wing offering a wide range of choices and a café in the American Wing offering soups, sandwiches, coffee and pastries. Or you might take the opportunity to grab a famous New York City hot dog from one of the vendors out on Fifth Avenue. Our badges allow re-entry to the museum.

Afternoon: During this self-directed field trip, we’ll explore The Met, each at our own pace. Bring your smart phone and ear buds. The Met has recently moved all of their audio guides online for easy and free access in the galleries. The Met, founded in 1870, is one of the world’s greatest museums with a collection spanning more than 5,000 years of creativity. Its artistic treasury from every corner of the world includes paintings, arms and armor, costume, decorative arts, musical instruments, photography, works on paper, and much more. There are 26,000 objects from ancient Egypt, the largest collection outside Cairo; 2,500 European paintings, one of the most extensive collections anywhere; and the most comprehensive collection of American decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture in the American Wing. The Beaux-Arts façade and Great Hall of the flagship building — designed by architect and founding museum trustee Richard Morris Hunt — opened in 1902. Today, tens of thousands of objects are on view at any given time. We’ll regroup mid-afternoon and return to the hotel for a little break before dinner.

Dinner: At a neighborhood restaurant. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

Living in New York City, Program Concludes
New York

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll reconvene one final time in our meeting room for a closing discussion about NYC and how we experienced it this week. We expect the session to end by 10:30 a.m. This concludes our program.

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