21 May 2012

New York City Review Series: Part 6 Tours

During my 5 days in New York, I went on 2 official tours. These were;
  • The Accomplice Tour
  • The NBC Studio Tour
I am not including the hop on/hop off or the water taxi even though they had tour guides who provided you with interesting tidbits of information as you travelled around.

The Accomplice Tour

So, starting with The Accomplice Tour, you can find information about it here. It is an alternative tour. You try to solve a mystery by walking around an area and along the way there are actors who relay the next part of the story to you. The tour is held in New York: Downtown, New York: Greenwich and I think they have another New York location coming soon, as well as Hollywood, and London.

Over a year ago I had posted an item on our internal website asking if anyone had any hotel recommendations for New York. At the time I had a few responses and a very passionate plea that I should make sure that I go on The Accomplice tour.  So when I was planning my trip I made sure to book myself a place on the tour. The tour groups are around 10 people, and you can be with anyone. It says on the website that the day before the tour you will be contacted with the meeting point, its all part of the experience.

I was booked to do the tour on the Saturday whilst I was away, and it was the first tour of the day, and I had opted for New York: Downtown.  I didn't think that it would be an issue. But boy was I wrong!

You see, I think I have already mentioned that I had been quite panicky on a few occasions and this was no different. I realised that once I was booked into the Hostel that I should probably contact the company and inform them of my room number, as I knew I would be out all day. So early on the Friday morning I emailed them to tell them my room number. It was fine until I was out and about in New York - if i remember correctly I was riding the bus at the time - when it occurred to me that I had given them the wrong room number. I kept getting the room number wrong - I had it in my head that it was 506 or 306 but it was 305! So then I was worried that they would call whilst I was out and I wouldn't get the message. So I decided to call them later that day. The girl I spoke to was very nice, she didn't even ask if I was an idiot!?, but told me that the person had already rang, and that if I get back to the hostel and the message isn't there then I should call her back. I got back and asked at reception about a message, when I eventually remembered the correct room number, there wasn't anything. The guy on reception told me to check the notice board by the lift, I did and there was a message for me. It wasn't an address but a clue! The last thing I needed was a clue! But still, I had an idea where they meant (having walked around the area the day before).

The next day was the day where I spent most of it roaming aimlessly, eating mash potato pizza and booking theatre tickets! I was there early. I hate to be late, I really do, and even though I had a clue and was pretty sure I was at the right place, I wasn't sure. I kept thinking, whatever possessed me to book myself on a tour in a city I don't know where I have to solve clues that might mean something to Americans but not me. Like I said - completely melodramatic about it all and ensconced in paranoid worrying. After lunch I decided to loiter in the area that we were meeting....I observed the other people, I knew there was going to be about 10 of us in the group, so I kept an eye out for other people who may be wondering aimlessly in the vicinity. The place was pretty busy and I couldn't really tell. I kept clock watching and eventually it was nearly time. So there I was on the stroke of 1pm waiting...waiting..worrying...waiting. It got to 2 minutes past and that was it. I was in full on panic mode. I hate to be late, and I assumed that the tour wouldn't start late and that therefore meant that I had in my own stupidity been waiting at the wrong place, and now I had missed the tour and they don't give refunds!!!! Sensible people reading this may be thinking that its only 2 minutes.....it was 2 minutes too much for me. So I started looking around and there was no group of people loitering at the meet point, and so I wanted to double check I had understood the clue correctly and in my defence the instructions had said that you mustn't be late and that you must arrive 15 minutes before it is scheduled to start. I saw a man talking to a large tour group, and thought I would ask him. After all he is a tour guide. He was very friendly but not from NYC, he was French-Canadian and was just visiting. OK Katy, remember to breathe. I smiled and walked back to a point where I could see the meet point.


So now, I was getting pacey and twitchy and decided that I needed to call the company to make sure I was in the right place. Maybe the clue wasn't that obvious, maybe I was supposed to read more into it. So, all I needed was a pay phone. I didn't have a mobile with me and was starting to reailse how that would have been a good idea. Oh well. I couldn't find one! There were no payphones. There was a bike tour stand, and I thought that the people who worked there must know where the nearest one is, after all they work there everyday. I waited in the queue, a man glanced up to see me waiting there and sort of yelled over...

Do you want to cycle the Brooklyn Bridge?

My reply was 'No' and he just walked off! I checked my watch again, oh god its 6 minutes past, I can see the meet point and no-one is there. A younger guy asks me again if I want to cycle the Brooklyn bridge, I say as quickly as possible that  i-don't-want-to-cycle-the-Brooklyn-bridge-but-can-i-ask-a-question-please? The guy looks surprised and nods. I ask if he knows where the nearest pay phone is...he looks around, erm, No. I wonder back towards the meet point but nothing.

Seriously, its 8 minutes past!! I am going to have to ask someone else, my heart is racing, i am feeling a little sweaty, completely out of my depth, questioning why the hell I thought that it was a good idea, a bit teary and very stressed (so dramatic, eh?!) and I go to a taxi stand and there are two girls there, I ask them if they know where the pay phone is....they say no, and then one of the girls says..

That's so funny, we were just saying about that yesterday!

I can't believe it, no phone, no-one at the place...I start babbling to the girls and explaining that I am supposed to be doing a tour and I haven't got a phone blah blah blah. They take pity on me and one of the girls says I can use her mobile!!!

I check the time and its 10 minutes past, I dial the number and a girl answers and I start to explain to her, and as I look over to the meet point, I see a guy talking to a small group of people!! She tells me to go to the meet point and she will call the guy and if he doesn't get there in 10 minutes to call her back. I thank the girls and rush down there. They have gone and I am stood there...alone... embarrassed...waiting...and then the guy comes and gets me.

I would love to tell you all about the tour, about the great actors, the wonderful route, the interesting places, and the heckling and the humour, I would like to tell you all the little details about why a couple from Colorado thought I was a mole and how we came to walk half way over the Brooklyn bridge (lost!) and how it was a great way to spend a few hours downtown. But I am not supposed to reveal certain things. So this is as much as I will say. I definitely recommend doing it, even if you live local to one of the tours. You will laugh a lot, and have a great time and see some great points of interest. And you will forget about all the strife before it even began! Luckily it was glorious sunshine the day of the NYC tour. It was so good that as soon as I came home, I booked a space for me and a friend on the London Accomplice Tour. The London tour took place in the rain! But it didn't dampen our spirits and everyone had a good time. 

Everyone should do this when they go to a city that has one! I did take one picture during the tour, or possibly two but they are on a disposable camera that I haven't had developed yet. I had a camera drama too! 

The NBC Studio Tour

My second tour was the NBC Studio tour. Its the one that I went on after I had been trapped in the metro station and stopped by the police. A friend had recommended it.  There isn't that much I can say about it, because the shows that are filmed there aren't ones that I watch but it was interesting to see inside the studios and realise how tiny they are! I probably didn't need to go on it and wouldn't again. But if you are a fan of any of the shows it might be nice. I don't think its a must see - if you disagree then please say whats
good about it in the comments so that people can know both sides.

I am sorry for all the text and no pictures, I feel bad, actually I am going to add some random NYC pictures anyway! hahaha

I am sorry for all the text and no pictures, I feel bad, actually I am going to add some random NYC pictures anyway! hahaha


  1. really funny and so easy to sympathise with. As your panic increased I found myself reading faster and faster! Looking forward to the next instalment.

  2. I've missed a few episodes due to being unwell.

    This I enjoyed very much. I still recall my one day in New York City last year.


    1. I hope you are feeling much better now.

  3. You are a thousand times braver than me!! Interactive tours? Yeah right!!

  4. very useful article - I'm thinking of taking the wife there next year

    1. I hope you do and have a great time :)


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