Energetic, eclectic tours of Brooklyn and beyond, from a veteran guide.
Why tour with Norman Oder of NY Like a Native?
Why visit Brooklyn neighborhoods?
See reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google.
"Fast walking, fast talking Brooklynite Norman Oder"
--Rough Guide to NYC.
"The thinking person's tour guide"
"Their favorite day of class over the semester"
"Mr. Oder has an encyclopedic knowledge of the borough..." --Wall Street Journal
"...incredibly knowledgeable, dynamic, and engaging."--Trip Advisor reviewer
Veteran Brooklyn tour guide Norman Oder aims these tours--mainly walking and public transit--to be wide-ranging and briskly-paced. Most tours involve 2 to 5 miles of walking, but can adapt to your pace. Vehicle tours range farther.
These tours, all led and booked by Norman, a longtime Brooklynite, are geared to energetic, curious people, and have attracted enthusiastic visitors of all ages, from student groups to seniors, as well as New Yorkers and Brooklynites interested in learning more.
They are generally for visitors who've already seen Manhattan's must-see highlights and want to go deeper into the city.
While exploring neighborhoods, we aim to understand the history of what we see, what's changed, and why. Yes, I typically bring a binder with relevant images (some old, some relatively recent), and sometimes photo books, as well.
The idea, as one tour guest aptly put it, is to get the gestalt of a neighborhood, recognizing the advantages and pains of change.
Please note: these tours were originally conceived for people visiting the neighborhoods from Manhattan. If you already live in or are visiting Brooklyn (or Queens), I may be able to adapt the routes to take advantage of your starting point.
Brooklyn would be the nation's fourth-largest city if it were independent. When you explore with me, you learn about the ebb and flow of Brooklyn's history and neighborhoods, especially its fascinating and uneven rebirth, and witness its diversity, complexity, charm, and challenges. I aim neither to sugarcoat nor to denigrate.
My private tours can focus on Brooklyn highlights, specific neighborhoods, or multiple areas, including parts of Queens and Manhattan. I try to be more wide-ranging than a purely academic or architectural tour, but mindful of history and more substantive than a tour, say, focused on food (though we can eat!). I'm intrigued, enthused, and sometimes confounded by what we see. I can work with you to customize tours.
I can introduce you to some of Brooklyn, but, remember, it's larger and more populous than the City of Paris (within the peripherique), and it "contains multitudes." You can't see everything in a day!
First steps to your tour
Nearly all my tours are private tours, and mostly on foot. My listed tours usually start at 2.5 hours, but can be modified. The tours rely mainly on walking, sometimes with public transit or taxis, though we can adapt a tour for vehicles.
New to Brooklyn? Start at the waterfront. Consider Brooklyn 101 (3 hours), which includes classic neighborhoods and borough highlights and, or the expanded Brooklyn 202, which adds more neighborhoods. For a less-demanding 2-2.5-hour tour, choose DUMBO & Brooklyn Heights.
Also consider Williamsburg, or Jewish neighborhoods, or go beyond Brooklyn, like the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan or Long Island City and Jackson Heights in Queens.
I can also combine neighborhoods for themes; many but not all have interesting architecture; some have waterfront views; some have more food options; others help tell the story of different immigrant groups; some show recent redevelopment.
Please look at the map below. (Click on the rectangle.)
To save time, please first check tour pages, fees, my FAQ and list of "top misconceptions" about Brooklyn, then get in touch.
(I recommend using a desktop or laptop to read this text-heavy site.)