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Review of NYSee Tours

NYSee Tours
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US$ 15.00*
and up
Central Park Secrets - Walking Tour
Ranked #99 of 662 Tours in New York City
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Join us on our new Secret Central Park Tour. On foot, through dappled lanes, you will discover Northern Central Park, an unexplored, and lightly traveled revelation to both New Yorkers and visitors alike. Central Park is enormous; eight hundred and forty-three wooded acres, and within those confines are hidden enclaves that are rarely seen by out-of-towners. The Park abounds with waterfalls, ravines and deeply wooded arbors, bird sanctuaries, a willow tree-shaded loch, and formal gardens.
Reviewed 2 July 2012

This tour was amazing!! I'm impressed at how much I saw in 5 hours! I got a great sense of the city, learned a lot of great facts and saw some beautiful views. The tour guide was very fun & knowledgeable. A bus with AC takes you around to the attractions, you get off and the tour guide shows you around. It is a very organized process. I would highly recommend this tour to eveyone.

Thank you!!! - from Toronto :)

1  Thank Ikjot L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 4 July 2012

It even amazes me how much we can fit into five hours without rushing. What we have going for us is the relative small size of the island - perfect for a bus/walking tour. We start around 72nd Street and work our way down to the southern tip seeing things all the way.

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Reviews (373)
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in 13 reviews
"tour guide"
in 49 reviews
"native new yorker"
in 21 reviews
"christmas lights"
in 7 reviews
"walking tour"
in 14 reviews
"times square"
in 18 reviews
"world trade center"
in 4 reviews
"wall street"
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254 - 258 of 381 reviews

Reviewed 2 July 2012

This review is about the "Get acquainted tour" through Manhattan!

Reading the "terrible" reviews on this site should give you a hint that this tour leaves on the dot at 10am. Now if you are not from NY you might have no idea how to get to the meeting point, or you might know it but have no idea how long the travel time really is from your hotel. THAT is a major problem!!

I had planned generously to be at the meeting point half an hour early, just in case. The tavelling time from the starting train station near our hotel to the train station closest to the meeting point was only like 10 min - but first you have to find the stations!!!

If you are from another area, and even more, if you are fom another country (like myself), know this in advance!!! Do not expect big signs around the Metro stations to tell you where they are, only because in your country nobody would miss the coloured and huge signs from a block away. Here, in NYC, it seems like they are trying to hide the train stations, and asking locals can be tricky.

We ended up walking around for half an hour not finding the starting train station, and the guy nearby we asked gave an unclear reply and then demanded that we would buy a shirt from him, now that he "helped us out"...

In the end we did find the train station, because we were lucky to find a woman who understood our problem. She had been to Europe and knew what we meant when we said "we need to take the R train but can't find the station entrance". She knew that Europeans are used to be notified by big signs in colours when looking for public transportation. That is why she could even understand the problem, while it seemed everyone else had no idea what we were talking about.

You might not meet that same helpful woman, so prepare yourself! Walk to the train station the night before your tour, verify that you know where your train or bus leaves from, and know the schedule!

I am aware that readers would wonder why I am taking so much space about the "getting there" problems, but I think it is really crucial. Who would take a tour like this? New Yorkers who know how to get around in NYC, or tourists from other countries and other US states who have no idea how to get around?

Obviously, the latter group is the target group for this tour. And the "terrrible" reviews give a hint that this is the major problem. People like us (from elsewhere) don't get there in time because they don't know the NY system. And they don't know the NY system just because in their countries and their states there are different systems which work differently.

The replies of the owner gave another hint that he is not understanding the problem. That is why I am pointing it out here in such clarity. Fred, your customers are foreigners who might not know which train to take or even what the northwest corner of the street crossing is where the meeting point is (I had to ask a police man who was there to my luck).

I believe it would be smarter to make the meeting point 9.30am instead of 9.45am and then I would be really leaving on 10.05 (not on 10 sharp). You have to expect that people from other countries or other US states might not find it in time, and then there would be an extra time window.

New Yorkers who know how to get to a place around Time Square on time are NOT customers of this tour! Isn't this obvious???

OK, since I calculated so generously with the time, we were still on time even though we missed the 9am train, because we were looking for the station for 30 min with printed maps in our hands. I am stressing this for future foreign customers!

We missed the train we planned to take, but we still made it with the next train 15 min later, because I had calculated a time cushion. Do that! Try to get to the meeting point at 9.20am, so when you get late, you will still make it on the bus!

We arrove still on time and handed our Groupons to Fred who asked whether we had a booking. I had personally spoken to him in March when I made the booking, and I remember how surprised he was when I requested a booking 3 months away. He didn't have our names in the reservation list.

I had no reservation code or number (had rechecked the saved confirmation email the night before we left, just to be safe). But he took my word that we did have a reservation and let us on the bus.

That bus was comfortable and climatized. Fred greeted the group and then left the bus and Onel, the guide, took over. He is from Brooklyn and knows his stuff. Our driver James was calm and nice, and he was a very good driver. We felt absolutely safe.

Fred hinted that there would be more unhappy people within a few minutes (hinting at those who will come a few minutes late), and I found that uncalled for. Why not wait for those if it really is just 5 minutes?

The tour itself is great. We saw all the great buildings and sites, and we liked the fact that you actually get out of the bus several times and walk. We walked through Central Park, got off at Grand Central Station for a lunch break (good food in all varieties, but not cheap!), and we took about 300 pictures until the batteries died.

We saw 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, many world famous Grand Hotels (from the outside!) and our guide explained everything with good humour and knowledge. We stood in front of the Dakota bulding (where John Lennon was killed and where Yoko Ono still lives), we saw Greenwich Village and the Financial District and the 9/11 location with the new constructions going on right now.

We learned so much, I wished I could have recorded that all. It was really worth the (Groupon!!) price! The bus stopped at great photo sites and even drove us to better sites (if standing underneath 30 Rock or the Empire State Building, you won't get a good shot, you need a distance away to get a good picture!).

The tour lasts about 5 to 5 and a half hours, and it was never boring or dull, it was great fun, and the walking was not too much. (Wear comfortable shoes!) We were able to leave bags and purses and drinking containers etc in the bus, as James (the driver) was always in the bus, so it was safe.

He also moved to a different location after we stepped off the bus, so we never had to walk back to the bus after walking through a location. No, we were picked up from another spot at the other end, that was really convenient.

I would absolutely recommend this tour. Look for Groupons or Living Social Vouchers months ahead of your trip to get a great deal, for example we paid $29 per person instead of the rack rate which is currently $100 per person!

As I said, once you get there in time, you will really love it! Plan to be there at 9.20am (although your paper says 9.45am), so when you are late, you will still make it!

1  Thank Hartmut N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYSeeTours, Owner at NYSee Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 27 July 2012

Thanks for your review! Most importantly, you enjoyed the tour itself. While we can't be held accountable for guests not mapping out the commute to the tour meeting point prior, we are available to answer any questions regarding this prior to the tour day. Call us up, tell us where you are, and we'll tell you the best way to get to Times Square! But in your case, seems like you didn't plan accordingly. You're right, like any "foreign city", you have to plan ahead if you aren't familiar with how to get around. But once you make it to the tour, NYSee Tours is there to take care of you.

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Reviewed 30 June 2012

My wife and I took the tour with another couple (native New Yorkers) earlier this week. The tour was great. Fred saw us off and Lance was our guide. The mix of walking (really not too much) and riding works out really well. Lance provided lots of interesting details and you get a good sense of the city from this tour.

As others have noted, you eat lunch at Eataly, which provides a number of Italian choices. There are other restaurants nearby if you don't want Italian. The change from Chelsea Market to Eataly is recent and I think it reflects the strong, hands on ownership of the tour - a change that was apparently made because Chelsea had become too crowded to manage lunch and a bathroom break. No such problems at Eataly.

Overall, a great tour that was easy to do and worth the money.

1  Thank jadedmat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 4 July 2012

Thanks for your kind comments and awareness of our efforts.

We try to keep the tours fresh and interesting, and one way we do this is to vary our itinerary. Chelsea Markets became too crowded so we switched to Eataly, some folks don't like Italian food so we offer access to the numerous restaurants along 23rd Street. We are now thinking of mixing in the Grand Central Terminal food court as a lunch stop. We are constantly working to make the tour as interesting as possible.

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Reviewed 29 June 2012

We were afraid a 5 hour tour would be too long but it was just fine. Of course it is more expensive that the regular Grayline tour but if you have a few extra dollars to spend, go for it. It is nice to hear from a real new yorker, so passionate about his city. He will tell you the good and even the bad things about NY. We stopped for lunch at Eataly (a new cool Italian market) and it was interesting as we could pick from different stands. We like the mix between bus and walk. It was pouring rain that day and we enjoyed it. Imagine on a sunny day...

Thank Jean G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 30 June 2012

Sorry about the rain, but my feeling is the same as yours, it's New York City and even in a downpour it's a great place to visit. Thanks for being a trouper and not letting the inclement weather ruin your day.

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Reviewed 29 June 2012

We went on a tour on Tuesday.Lance was our guide and he was great however our itenerary said we would Chelsea and HiLine. We didn't go to either and the bus driver left us at one
location and we waited on a street until Lance could find him. I was disappointed that I didn't
supposed to see. We saw some of the things we had already gone to see.

Thank kathyrandolph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 7 July 2012

Sorry about the slip-up with the driver, that was our fault and we apologize.

Not quite understanding the rest of your comments, why would you take a tour that duplicated what you had already seen, that's not really our fault is it?

As far as the Chelsea Markets and the High-Line go, we have replaced those stops on the tour with Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village - areas that we feel are richer and more interesting.

We tweak the tour constantly to improve it.

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