Faith and Food, Ganymede and Glaucus Inspire Pedagogic Perambulations
The Downtown Alliance has designated the winners in its Walking Tour Incubator Grant Program. Each finalist will receive up to $12,500 to develop new walking tours in Lower Manhattan.
The winners are the South Street Seaport Museum, which will escort guests on a journey around the South Street Seaport Historic District to learn about some of the lesser-known local history; Christopher Street Tours, with a focus on pivotal sites in Lower Manhattan’s LGBTQ+ past; Inside Out Tours, a specialty food tour celebrating artisanal vendors; Awesome Walks, an immersive excursion that looks to the future Lower Manhattan; and Vivace Tours, an exploration showcasing Lower Manhattan’s role in the formation of many faith communities.
“The strength and diversity of our applicant pool highlights how much opportunity there is to develop tours about a variety of subjects in Lower Manhattan,” observes Alliance president Jessica Lappin, noting that the “creative walking tour concepts will help drive tourism to the neighborhood beginning this summer.”
Along with financial support to help develop, launch, and scale their walking tours, participants will benefit from one-on-one sessions with tourism industry leaders and access to an educational curriculum designed for tour businesses, as well as Downtown Alliance’s network of relationships with local business and leaders.
Applicants were judged by their ability to run a business and their familiarity with tourism—either in New York City at large, or specifically in Lower Manhattan. Additional criteria included being situated close enough to the community to effectively run and scale a localized tour seven days a week, and aiming not only to launch a walking tour business, but also to scale it beyond a one-person operation.
The incubator period of the program will begin next week and last approximately two months. Tours will launch by mid-summer. One of the Alliance’s goals is to foster programs that can be sustained in Lower Manhattan for at least one year.
The mission of the Downtown Alliance is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents, and visitors. Along with providing security, the Alliance offers trash pickup and operates the business improvement district, or BID, that covers the area south of Chambers Street, excluding Battery Park City. Among the services provided by the Alliance that Lower Manhattan residents especially prize is the Downtown Connection shuttle, which ferries passengers free of charge between dozens of local stops that link residential neighborhoods (including Battery Park City) with business and shopping districts.