As described in Frommer's NYC 2011, 2012, 2013, the Michelin Green Guide, and The Rough Guide to NYC.
"Mr. Oder has an encyclopedic knowledge of the borough..."
--Wall Street Journal, 11/17/07
There are lots of walking tours in New York, but Brooklyn specialist Norman Oder has designed these tours to be wider-ranging and faster-paced than most. (Next public tours: Greenpoint on June 1, Brooklyn 101 on June 2.)
These tours are geared to energetic, independent-minded people, including student groups and delegations, who seek more than just the tourist basics.
The goal is neither a seminar in architectural history nor a drive-by, but to draw clues from the environment to explain the history and evolution of the block, neighborhood, borough, and city. And, of course, to snack, see art, and otherwise explore.
The tours rely mainly on foot and public transit, though variations using vehicles of course available, as are custom tours geared for each client. All tours are led by Norman Oder.
(Above left, a view of one of the city's best blocks: S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene. At right, a view of the Pratt campus and its sculpture garden.)
My Home, My Specialty
Brooklyn would be the nation's fourth-largest city if it went independent. On these tours, you learn why Brooklyn was (and remains) important, learn about its heyday and decline, explore its fascinating and uneven recovery, and witness its diversity.
(I also offer
tours of one Manhattan neighborhood, the Lower East Side
, the immigrant gateway with a direct connection to Williamsburg.)
Neighborhood tours allow participants to learn not merely about the built environment they see but also the forces behind it.
Tours are experiences, and research shows that people value experiences above stuff. Sometimes it's seeing a bridal party at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Visiting a stoop sale with homemade cupcakes. Viewing the Manhattan skyline from various Brooklyn outposts. An impromptu visit to The Dinner Party. Checking out the sculpture garden at Pratt.
Encountering an art gallery tricked out to be a fake real estate agency spurred by a controversial rezoning. Ending a tour having earned a healthy appetite for the food and drink that awaits. Taking the new East River Ferry to skip among waterfront neighborhoods.
Private versions of listed tours are available, as are custom orientation tours for newcomers and re-connection tours for ex-Brooklynites. Private tours include detailed, personalized advice, when appropriate.
Public tours are scheduled very infrequently, on weekends, but private
tours should be available at most other times.