Behind the Curtain


You may have been to the places below, but these organizations have special tours that the casual visitor doesn’t get to see.  Find out how you can go behind the scenes at these New York institutions:

Bronx Zoo
Fordham Road and Bronx River Parkway; Bronx
(718) 220-5198;
Time: Call to schedule at least two weeks in advance.
Cost:  $35 for up to 10 participants.
Caters to requests.  Sample tours: Jungle World, World of Birds, Reptile House, Aquatic Bird House, Gentle Giant (Congo exhibit), and the Mouse House (great for young children).

Carnegie Hall Tours

881 Seventh Avenue, NYC
(212) 903-9765;
Time: Monday-Friday, 11:30am, 2pm, and 3pm.  Tours closed from July-September.  Call for holiday closings.
Cost: $9 adult, $6 student/senior, $3 children under 12.
One-hour guided tours cover its history and the artists who’ve performed there.

Lincoln Center Tours - Theaters of Lincoln Center
70 Lincoln Center Plaza, NYC
(212) 875-5350;
Time: Daily tours at 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 4:30pm.
Cost: $13.50 adults, $10 students, $6 children 12 & under.
Take a guided tour of the New York State Theater, Avery Fisher Hall, Metropolitan Opera House or the Vivian Beaumont Theater and see a rehearsal in progress. 

Lincoln Center Tours - Metropolitan Opera Guild
(212) 769-7020
Time: October through June, tours start at 3:30pm on weekdays and Sundays at 10:30am.
Cost: $15, $10 for Guild members, and $5 for fulltime students with a valid ID.
Takes you backstage to production areas of the opera.

Lincoln Center Tours - Jazz at Lincoln Center
(212) 875 -5350;
Time: Monday-Saturday at 12:30pm.
Cost: $10 adults, $8 students/seniors, $5 children 12 and under.
Check out the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The House of Swing features gorgeous views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, and three performance venues designed for jazz.

Madison Square Garden’s All Access Tour
33rd Street and Seventh Avenue, NYC
(212) 465-5800;
Time: Daily, every half hour from 11am-3pm.
Cost: $17 adults, $12 children.
One-hour guided walking tour around the “World’s Most Famous Arena”.  Visit team locker rooms, and learn how the basketball court becomes an ice rink.  Explore the theater and experience the history of the Garden.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, NYC
(212) 535-7710
Time: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:30am-4pm; Friday, Saturday 9:30am-7:30pm; Sunday 10:30am-4pm. Make reservations at least two weeks in advance.
Cost: $24 adults ($360 minimum) $16 seniors and
students ($240 minimum).
One-hour tours with a museum lecturer take place either in a particular collection or gallery or within the museum's permanent collection.

NBC Studio Tour
30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC
(212) 664-3700;
Time: Monday-Thursday 8:30am-4:30pm, Friday-Saturday 9:30am-5:30pm, Sunday 9:30am-4:30pm.
Cost: $18.75 adults, $15.50 children 6-12, $15.50 seniors, $15.50 groups of 10 or more.
Learn about NBC as a radio station; visit the Globe Theater’s 16- by 9-foot hi-def TV screen with surround sound, and the studios for The Today Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live. Tours end with photographs at the NBC News Desk, where two volunteers are given a chance to read the news and give a weather demonstration.

New York Yankee Stadium Tour
Yankee Stadium, Bronx
(718) 579-4531;
Time: Daily at noon except when the Yankees play at home on weekends or prior to any day game.  Tours through September 21.
Cost: Classic Tour: $15 adults, $8 children and seniors. 
The Classic Tour is the guided tour through the field, dugout, press box, Monument Park and Clubhouse (when available).  Yankee Stadium also offers extended tours for large groups.

Radio City Music Hall
1260 6th Avenue, NYC
(212) 307-7171;
Time: Daily 11am-3pm.
Cost: $17, $14 seniors, $10 children under 12.
See the inner workings of one of the world’s largest indoor stages. Experience the secrets of the stage, the 70-year-old hydraulic system the stage still uses, the art decorations of the hall, and in the end, meet a Radio City Rockette.

Rockefeller Center Tours
30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC
(212) 664-3700;
Time: (For Rockefeller Center) Monday-Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 11am-3m. Tours depart every two hours.  (For Art & Observation Tour) Daily 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm.
Cost: (For Rockefeller Center) $12 adults, $10 children 6-12 and seniors.  (Art & Observation Tour) $20 per person.
Walk around the center complex, called the “city within a city”. Explore buildings, gardens, and artwork.  Hear stories of the Center’s history through headsets provided for the tour.  The Art & Observation Tour is an extended tour, ending with a stop at the Top of The Rock Observation Deck, 70 stories above the streets of New York.
Statue of Liberty Tour

Liberty Island & Ellis Island
(866) 782-8834;
Time: Ferries depart every 45 minutes from Battery Park, NYC, and Liberty State Park, NJ. Daily 9:30am-3:30pm. Requires reservation.
Cost: Monument Access Pass (includes round trip ferry ticket) $11.50 adult, $9.50 seniors, $4.50 children 4-12, free for children under 3.  Audio Tour $6.
Only with the Monument Access Pass is entry allowed into the Statue of Liberty.  Includes presentations by Park Rangers in the museum and on the observation deck atop the pedestal. 

Stone Barns
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
630 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills
(914) 366-6200;
Time: Fridays and Saturdays 11am-12:30pm.
Cost:  $9 ages 12 and up. 
A behind-the-scenes tour of the hayloft, livestock, greenhouse and planting fields.

United Nations Headquarters Tour
First Avenue at 46th Street, NYC
(212) 963-TOUR (8687);
Time: Monday-Friday 9:30am-4:45pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-4:30pm. (The UN is closed to the public on weekends in January and February, and on some holidays).
Cost: $13 adults, $9 seniors, $8.50 students under 30 with a valid Student ID), $7 children 5-14.
This tour is featured in many languages, depending on availability.  It begins with an overview of the organization, then takes visitors around chambers in the conference building. Tour ends at the General Assembly Hall and Public Concourse where the gift shop, bookstore, coffee house and restrooms are located.