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Susansez Walkabouts NYC. As savvy New Yorkers, who've been around the block a time or two, we tend to think that we are already familiar with everything that there is to know about our fair city.
A blase' been there, done that attitude pervades the mindset of many city residents who were born and raised here.
Whether it's riding to the top of the Empire State Building with the in-laws from out of town, taking in the bright lights of Broadway or visiting Lady Liberty for the second or third time, many locals take the city, somewhat for granted. There are no surprises left on the horizon.
But, when all is said and done, how well do we really know the streets and avenues that we traverse every day, going to and from work or heading out to a trendy bar for cocktails and brunch?
Behind every nook and cranny in our neighborhoods, there is an intriguing slice of history to be uncovered as well as a hidden gem of a restaurant, just waiting to be discovered.
But, where does the journey begin?
In a metropolis as vast as the Big Apple, how can you find the time to sleuth out and unlock the secrets and mysteries that make up a large part of New York's culinary and cultural traditions?
Well, you can start by going right to the source, someone who is experienced in walking on the road less traveled and knows the boroughs like the back of her hand.
The special person that we have in mind is a charming and vibrant woman by the name of Susan Birnbaum. The founder and dynamic force behind Susan Sez NYC Walkabouts, Susan is a native New Yorker who is obsessed with the city's history and food.
A seasoned tour guide with years of experience, Susan has a sometimes irreverent, but always on-point, New York wit. Not afraid to say exactly what is on her mind, Susan's love for the city is infectious. Whether you have lived in the city your whole life or recently moved here, you'll get a whole new perspective on New York after going on one of Susan's entertaining walkabouts.
A walkabout is exactly what the name implies. Susan's tours, which last anywhere from two and a half to three hours, are designed to flow at a leisurely pace.
Susan encourages her tour group to forget about their emails, texts and smartphones and live in the moment. Unless, of course, they are listening to one of their guides' anecdotes or stories about one of the colorful historical figures who made an impact on the neighborhood you're visiting.
Each tour is filled with insight, lots of fun and plenty of tasty treats.
Susan has formed strong relationships with neighborhood shop keepers, chefs, bakers, purveyors of meat and cheese as well as push cart and food truck vendors. Her tours are unforgettable culinary adventures that will forever hold a place in your heart; not to mention your tummy.
You will visit quirky, off the beaten path areas of the city. These are places that most tourists never venture, simply because the big name tour companies don't know about these enclaves.
When you want to see the "real" New York, Susan Sez Walkabouts are as authentic as it gets.
A 5'4 bundle of boundless energy, with iconic red hair, Susan has been licensed as a tour guide by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs since 2002.
Working closely with NYC and Company, the official marketing and tourism partner of the city of New York, the personable Susan is also an active member of both the Brooklyn and Bronx historical societies. This, indeed, a lady who knows her stuff and has the professional credentials to back it up.
Considered by many to be the quintessential New York neighborhood, Manhattan's Lower East Side has been home to immigrants from Ireland, Eastern Europe, China and Italy. After leaving Ellis Island, the LES and one of its' multitude of overcrowded tenements were usually the next stop for these newcomers to our shores.
Stops on this tour include the Essex Street Market, various historic buildings and houses of worship, as well as the oldest and some would say, the best, Jewish deli in Manhattan.
Susan will introduce you to third and fourth generation shop owners who are carrying on the traditions of businesses that were founded by their forebearers over a century ago.
You'll get a chance to taste everything that the Lower East Side is famous for, from pickles that are straight out of the barrel to doughnuts and dumplings.
Further north on Manhattan Island is the Bronx, an up and coming borough on the move that is, all too often, overlooked by native New Yorkers and tourists alike. What's in the Bronx anyway that could be of any interest, one may well ask?
You will get to know this intriguing community, up close and personal, courtesy of Susan.
It might surprise you to know that some of the city's finest Italian restaurants are not located downtown in Little Italy, but right here in the Bronx. Arthur Avenue, in fact, is home to one of the oldest Italian-American communities in the United States.
Many current and former Yankees, from Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra to Joe Torre and Joe Girardi, enjoy visiting one of Arthur Avenue's authentic restaurants after a game at the stadium'
Now, you won't be seeing any Yankee players on a Susan Sez walkabout, but you will meet some very interesting people along the way. Who knows, you might just get a quick lesson on the art of pizza-making or rolling Gnocchi from scratch at one of the restaurants that Susan visits with you.
Considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the nation, the borough of Queens has a veritable rainbow of delicious cuisines for you to sample and enjoy. And you can bet that Susan has tasted them all!
At one time, mostly Greek and Italian, Astoria is now home to a strong Middle Eastern community as well as recent arrivals from Mexico, Ecuador, Thailand, Japan, Nepal and Pakistan.
Just by walking down the street, you will be enveloped by delicious aromas that will most certainly whet your appetite. that's just one reason why Susan loves to run tours here.
On her tour of Astoria's famed cafes, bakeries and restaurants, you'll indulge your senses with scrumptious tastings of honey-dipped Baklava, pillowy-soft Colombian sweet bread, Thai glass noodle soup and spinach pie, as only your Greek ya-ya can make it.
You'll also learn about the history of the hard-working men and women who have transformed a once sleepy "suburb" of Manhattan into one of the coolest addresses in New York.
After hearing the rags to riches success stories of the restaurant owners and chefs, you'll see that the American Dream is alive and well in Astoria.
There's nothing wrong with an after-work cocktail at your favorite local or a trip to the movies. And, yes, there are worse guilty pleasures in the world than ordering pizza or Chinese take-out while you binge-watch episodes of your favorite TV show.
But, doesn't that routine get a little stale and boring after awhile? It's time to do something that's a little out of the box, yet is fun, entertaining and educational.
Do you really need an excuse to leave the confines of your cramped apartment and go out exploring with Susan to see what your city is all about?
How many times have you browsed through the Aplez.com blog, read about a bar or restaurant in Manhattan or Queens and wished that you could learn more about the neighborhood and its' traditions? Well, now's your chance.
History and sensational tastes and flavors come together at Susan Sez NYC Walkabouts.
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City: New York