By Bruce Northam

Walking Tours

AMERICAN DETOUR: NYC’s Undiscovered Lower East Side


“Bruce Northam is what you might call well-traveled.” —CNBC


After visiting 150 countries, veteran travel writer and author Bruce Thoreau Northam rediscovers his historic and overlooked corner of New York City’s Lower East Side below Delancey Street. His new, one-of-a-kind walking tour starts at the East River Park Bandshell (Amphitheater) and ends above Manhattan’s East Broadway F-train subway station. The two-hour odyssey mingles offbeat locales, history, untouristed establishments, fun facts, and tales of NYC and beyond. This offbeat excursion transitions through several wildly different worlds and has nearly zero crossover with any other tour because it goes backstage to NYC’s Lower East Side.


“Think of it as a Chicken Soup for the traveler — with balls.” —Thrillist


* Private tours by appointment: $35 per person (four-person minimum); 8+ people = $25 per person. Tours for less than four arranged separately. Inquiries via


“By the end of the book, you like the author, you believe him, and you’ve had a fun ride–because this is no namby-pamby travelogue.” —Travel+Leisure on Bruce’s The Directions to Happiness: A 135-Country Quest for Life Lessons


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Exploring this authentic and undiscovered corner of NYC’s Lower East Side with a travel expert includes…


* A “dive” into the East River and its crossings


* Beholding one of the city’s oldest housing projects (and its requisite, authentic bodega) and the grand architectural landmarks of centuries past that survived the bulldozer


* A peek inside a historic church and an old-timey saloon


* Untouristed ultra-Kosher businesses


* Strolling the backbone of a now trendy neighborhood, the “Lower” Lower East Side ($7 ice cream cones?) that resembled a ghost town 15 years ago


* Off-the-radar parks, streets, eateries, and ideas


* Into and under the hardcore version of Chinatown (not the Disneyland version you’ve heard about)


* Insight as to how a city of immigrants continues to reinvent itself


* Bruce’s rules of the road for surviving life in NYC


Bruce is a licensed NYC sightseeing guide who has been local since 1985. He goes Inside the East Side as only a veteran travel writer can. Contact him via


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COST: Private tours by appointment: $35 per person (four-person minimum); 8+ people = $25 per person. Tours for less than four arranged separately. Inquiries via (PayPal, cash, check). This tour does not include food or drinks but we’ll have ample opportunities to make pitstops at delis or for pizza, dumplings, ice cream, and whatever catches your eye.


MEETING POINT: 2PM at the front row of Manhattan’s East River Park Amphitheater on other side of FDR Drive from Corlears Hook Park and/or right next to the NYC Ferry Corlears Hook terminal (near Grand St) in East River Park.


* UBER/taxi customers get dropped off at 71 Jackson Street in zip 10002 @ the Sacred Heart Convent (intersection with Water St.) which is across the street from Corlears Hook Park; inside the park cross the pedestrian bridge over the FDR parkway and immediately find East River Park Amphitheater.


ENDING POINT: Near Manhattan’s East Broadway F-train subway station


DURATION: 2 hours and then time for Q&A/recommendations in a local joint.


DIRECTIONS: NYC Ferry ($2.75, coming soon) to Corlears Hook terminal in East River Park and adjacent to East River Park Amphitheater.


BY FOOT: Nearest to Cherry Street (zip code 10002) intersections with Grand Street, enter Corlears Hook Park, cross pedestrian bridge over FDR Drive, see Amphitheater (aka bandshell). Riverside walk option via Manhattan’s East River Esplanade—north from South Street Seaport or south from Houston Street/23rd Street—to East River Park Amphitheater.


SUBWAY: F to Manhattan’s East Broadway station, walk east on East Broadway, right on Grand Street to FDR Drive/East River (15-20 minutes)—or—from East Broadway station ride M22 BUS (east) to last stop on Grand Street (15 minutes or more).


SUBWAY: F to Manhattan’s Essex/Delancey station (also JMZ trains), walk south toward Grand Street then left (east) on Grand Street to FDR Drive/East River (15-20 minutes)—or—from Essex/Delancey station ride M14A BUS (south) to last stop on Grand Street (15 minutes or more).


BUS: Board either M14A or M22 anywhere on their routes but BE SURE you’re traveling in the direction of the last stop at Grand Street (ask driver). Get out at last stop (Grand St.) and enter park.


* Allow an extra half hour to get there—this part of Manhattan renders even veteran Manhattanites clueless. You will no longer be clueless.


Inquiries via