I recently got a tour request from a couple of seniors (from a Midwestern state in the USA) who are contemplating their first visit to New York City, bringing their 12-year-old granddaughter. They're thinking about hiring a guide for two to four hours a day over three to four days to introduce them to NYC.
That's not actually in my wheelhouse--blame the name of my company!--but it's fine that they contacted me.
Below is a modified version of my response.
If you look at my website, I actually do not specialize in introductory NYC highlights (Financial District, Times Square, Central Park, etc.) but rather on more focused walks around various neighborhoods, mostly in Brooklyn, and a few in Manhattan and Queens.
In other words, they're generally for people who've already seen those highlights and want to go beyond. I suspect you'd probably want to spend at least two, maybe three (maybe all?) days in Manhattan.
Please keep in mind that NYC is large—you can't see a lot in two hours, even if you're limited to Manhattan.
There are numerous guides who could help you in Manhattan, as well as scheduled group tours.
(I can lead tours in Manhattan—I did a 9-hour tour a few weeks ago that included pieces of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens—but others specialize in Manhattan.)
Some DIY research
I'd encourage you to first buy (or borrow from the library) a guidebook, so you can figure out your priorities. In other words, you generally don't need a guide to take you around a museum.
I'd also encourage you to join the Facebook group What to Do in NY and search for people reporting on what they did with a 12-year-old.
Also think about how much walking you can do, and whether you'd want to cut down on distance by taking public transit (buses or subway) or taxis.
Finding and paying a guide
Think about your budget for a private guide: it will cost you minimum $60-$75/hour, and some guides do charge $100+/hour.
If you can't find a guide recommended in Facebook or other web searches, you can always search on the Guides Association of NYC website. Or post a request for a guide (the more focused the better).
What about Brooklyn?
Finally, if you would like a tour of Brooklyn with me after you do the highlights in Manhattan, we could do an introductory tour: Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, etc. My fees are here (but will go up slightly in 2024),
As noted above, I can lead introductory tours in Manhattan and did combine part of one with a larger tour that included Brooklyn and Queens. That was for a recurring client--a leader who brings 5-6 different people to New York once a year for a full day of touring!
But I don't market myself for those tours because I don't specialize in those highlights. Sure, I can show you Times Square and Rockefeller Center and part of Central Park, and it will be "good enough" for new visitors. But I know some other guides are there all the time and know all the nuances.
I spend a lot of time trying to keep with the complexities of all the neighborhoods (mostly Brooklyn, plus two in Manhattan and three in Queens) where I do lead tours.
That said, if anyone does want a tour that combines boroughs with Manhattan, that could work. I'm happy to lead more long tours!
Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.