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New York Revisited

Old Money, New Money, Corruption, and Jazz

September 14-20, 2014
Historian Guide: Latifah Chinnery

The Gilded Age of late 19th-century New York was a time of unrivalled opulence, grand estates, sea-going yachts, and the great family fortunes. Wealth came from land and industry and fortuitous marriages. Society was decorous, strict, and entirely stratified. The Astors, Vanderbilts, Fricks, and Carnegies were living it up in lavish homes of European architecture carried to dizzying extremes. Within a matter of blocks, one could take in renaissance, Romanesque, and rococo mansions.

Surrounding the lavish enclaves was a city that was a hotbed of syndicates, racketeering, and unionization. The corruption and graft under Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall prevailed until the turn of the century, giving way to reforms by the middle class and the founding of the city's pre-eminent theaters and museums. Troops returning home from World War I marched up 5th Avenue, thus kicking off the Jazz Age, the flamboyant "anything goes" era that saw skyscrapers transform the skyline.

Historian guide and native New Yorker Latifah Chinnery will show us what real drama history is made of. It's all here: the rise of industrial power such as the world had never seen, wealth of almost unimaginable proportions, and the struggles that would determine the role of workers in industrial America. It's the good and the bad and the promise of progress. Here is part of our experience as a nation too little understood and of greatest importance — when the America we know came into being.

7 Days / 6 Nights

Cost: $3,275 Single Occupancy, $2,995 Double Occupancy

Click to request a 2014 printed Travel Guide.


Sunday, September 14
Gather in New York City for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Latifah Chinnery and History America TOURS.

Monday, September 15
It was in Kingston, New York's first capital, where the "Great and Gracious" made their mark on American society in the 19th century. From the decks of the Rip Van Winkle yacht, view millionaires' sumptuous estates on our cruise along the Hudson River. Return to the city for dinner on own.

Tuesday, September 16
We tour the Merchant's House Museum, New York's only home preserved intact from the 19th century. Complete with original furnishings, it offers a glimpse of domestic life in New York City of the well-to-do. Visit Tweed Courthouse, one of New York's greatest civic monuments, with decorative elements unparalleled in any American public building. The evening finds us at Fraunces Tavern, where Washington bid his troops farewell in 1783, and where we will enjoy a special dinner.

Wednesday, September 17
A study of New York's iconic architecture takes us first to the Empire State Building. Planned during the booming '20s, it was built during the Depression, when soaring skyscrapers seemed overly optimistic. At Rockefeller Center, we take a look into the rich artistry of John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s vision for a cultural center that signified man's development in spirit, science, and industry. For a change of pace, we reflect on the French, English, and German-Gothic styles of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Tying it all together is the Museum of the City of New York, which showcases defining features of the city that shaped its institutions and public life. Dinner is on your own at your choice of the many restaurants near our mid-town Manhattan hotel.

Thursday, September 18
We experience the contrast between the very modest and very grand 19th century homes with tours of the quaint Edgar Allan Poe Cottage and the splendid Greek revival Bartow-Pell Mansion. Each in its own way provides an important link to the social history of New York. The afternoon is free to take in sights at your leisure.

Friday, September 19
We visit Alexander Hamilton's home, where he lived while serving as the first Secretary of the Treasury, and the only house he ever owned. We'll also stroll through Central Park this afternoon. Once an area of quarries, pig farms, and swamps, it was created as a kind of social experiment where both the upper and lower classes would meet and mingle, a revolutionary idea for its time. We cap the week with dinner and music at Birdland, the famous Jazz Mecca of the Big Apple.

Saturday, September 20
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.

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Updated on 18 February, 2014