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Let’s Get Curious: New York Walking Tour Combines Tipples with Trivia

From Sex and the City and Friends to Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism, there are numerous tours of New York City evocative of eras gone by. Another popular NYC pastime? Pub crawls to the innumerable bars and speakeasies around the City.

Haring at the Carmine Pool, Greenwich Village as part of Cocktails & Curiosities

Haring at the Carmine Pool, Greenwich Village as part of Cocktails & Curiosities

When all is said and done, however, there is only one perfectly mixed concoction of the two: a new breed of self-guided New York Walking Tour, AKA Cocktails & Curiosities, lovingly handcrafted by artist, researcher, and wordsmith Christi Scofield. For this long-time New York resident with an anathema to guided tours, this New York Walking Tour was not only a breath of fresh air, it was a much-needed wake up call to realize that historical tours can not only be fun, and enlightening, but social as well. A formidable blend of the best of architecture, lit, art, and wit–with some delightful drinks to boot–results in the mash-up tour experience that is Cocktails & Curiosities. Good for locals and tourists to boot, it has a little something for everyone, as I found out on my truncated tour on a lovely summer’s day not too long ago…

The day started with a cupcake and wine pairing at Sweet Revenge: yes, a cupcake and wine pairing (Amen! that’s an ACTUAL thing). From there it was a quick app download to locate where our tour was jumping off from and … voila! Off to discover curious sites around Greenwich Village, with a start on Carmine Street, where a brilliant technicolor Keith Haring greeted us. The figures danced (actually, swam) across the wall of Haring’s Carmine Pool mural as though it had been painted just the other day. (To get more of Haring’s extant art in NYC check out Art Nerd’s own Lori Zimmer’s explorations of his Two Dancing Figures downtown and Crack is Wack! further uptown.) From there, it was a quick walk following the app to a seemingly quiet corner to uncover where the scions of hip-hop had not too long ago defended their turf-sometimes to violent effect–at a prominent NYC radio station HQ. Just around the corner from this 90s hotspot, the 1890s beckoned as we encountered a pauper’s grave-turned-park, complete with bocce ball court and hitching posts, on St. Luke’s Place. This little gem of a block had it all–from communists to the Cosby Family, artists to activists, this corner of the Village was the spot to be.

Tour in action, at White Horse

Tour in action, at White Horse

All this walking had whet our appetite, so our so-styled ‘bar crawl for smart people’ wound its way to the next bar in question: Daddy-O’s. A comprehensive cocktail list with a penchant for whiskey and bourbon, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to wet my whistle. Whiskey lovers take note: it may be hard to pick up from this place and star the next leg of the tour! Phil, bar proprietor and mixologist maestro, took care of us from start to finish and I appreciated his adroit skill with spirits.

Phil, Owner and Resident Drink-mixing Badass at Daddy-O

Phil, Owner and Resident Drink-mixing Badass at Daddy-O

 

All in all, three things about the tour definitely stood out to me: the variety of locations on offer, the sociability of the experience and the ease with which the tour unpacked the secrets on each block of Greenwich Village. There’s truly something for everyone on the tour, replete with icons denoting the types of fun historical facts that populate each site–from musicians and actors to writers and even the casual New York City mayor or two, everyone’s got something to savor. For a mostly virtually-led experience, the walk itself was surprisingly social–everyone got in on the fun, trading tales over cocktails and on the ambles between tour spots. Finally, from tech novice to seasoned app user, the photos of each location made the spots easy to find and the balance of history to watering hole was spot-on.

 

Just make sure you set a whole day aside to uncover the curiosities that await you! Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you wind up getting kicked out of the the Old Rabbit Club on MacDougal come closing time..!

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