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 enthusiastic reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google. As cited in Frommer's, Native's Guide to NY, & Rough Guide to NYC. Follow me on Instagram.
"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.
While exploring city 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. (Here's The Onion.)
We can snack, shop, and see art--depending on the tour or neighborhoods--and we can delve deeper into local social history.
Note: I am vaccinated (and boosted) and have been leading tours outside without masking, though I can wear a mask if preferred.
Brooklyn would be the nation's fourth-largest city if it were independent. When you tour 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. I try to be more lively and wide-ranging than a purely academic or architectural tour, but mindful of public policy and more substantive than a tour focused only on shopping or eating (though we can do both). I'm intrigued, enthused, and sometimes confounded by what we see. I'm happy to work with you to customize tours.
"Brooklyn" has become media shorthand for some neighborhoods within the larger borough, part of the evolving Brooklyn "brand."
I can introduce you to some of those neighborhoods, but, remember, Brooklyn is larger and more populous than the City of Paris (within the peripherique), and it "contains multitudes." You can't see it all 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 you can request modifications. The tours rely mainly on walking, sometimes with public transit or taxis, though we can adapt a tour for vehicles.
New to Brooklyn? Consider Brooklyn 101, which includes classic "brownstone" neighborhoods, or the expanded Brooklyn 202, which adds more neighborhoods plus Downtown Brooklyn. Also consider Williamsburg, or Jewish neighborhoods, or beyond Brooklyn, like the Lower East Side in Manhattan or Long Island City or 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 gentrification and development.
Please look at the map below. (Click on the rectangle.)
I try to provide much information here to save time, so 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.)