Turnstile Tours offers highly-specialized tours of lesser-known places and stories of New York City that can be adapted to complement undergraduate, graduate, research, professional development, and industry-related programs. Built around rigorous research and close connections to the communities in which we work, each tour is offered in partnership with a non-profit organization and explores topics ranging from the the history of New York City’s industrial waterfront and military infrastructure to contemporary stories of the city’s manufacturers, immigrant entrepreneurs, urban planners, and architects.

The section below is for academic and professional groups. If you are interested in more specialized tours, click below to find more detailed information for:

K-12 Students • Private Groups & Individuals • Travel & Tourism Industry

Our central mission is to advance public knowledge about the meaning of place, connect people of diverse backgrounds, and inspire a culture of community participation through well-researched, engaging, and accessible tour experiences.

Our guides are engaged in research and are assigned based on their relevant teaching experience and expertise and background in the subject matter. To learn more about our team, please click here.

• Click the tiles below for information on our tour programs •

BNYThe background includes a large atrium with railroad tracks running down the middle with large concrete walls with balconies on both sides of the atrium with a foreground that reads Brooklyn Army Terminal in white lettering.A metal food cart in the background with text that reads Food Cart Tours in white lettering in the foreground.Background includes a market that reads "Moore Street Market" with the words Immigrant Foodways in the foreground in white lettering


BROOKLYN NAVY YARD TOURS

Aerial perspective of the Brooklyn Navy Yard with industrial buildings and dry docks along Wallabout Bay. Manhattan is in the background.

Turnstile Tours offers group tour packages and customized itineraries on behalf of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 that range in theme from World War II and maritime history to sustainable architecture and 21st-century manufacturing practices. The 1-hour, 1.5-hour, and 2-hour tours highlighted below explore the 300-acre (126-hectare) historic Yard that is today a city-owned industrial park home to more than 330 businesses. Any of these tour programs can be adapted based on your interests and goals for one visit or multiple visits. Packages are also available and can include guided or self-guided explorations of the exhibits at BLDG 92, pre-ordered lunches, and customized half-day or full-day itineraries of Brooklyn (contact us for a proposal and pricing information).

Tour Programs:

A man holds up an image as he sits in front of an industrial crane and people smile as they look on⚓ Past, Present & Future Tour

For 165 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a leading naval shipyard, building some of America’s most famous fighting Naval ships, including the USS Maine, USS Arizona, and USS Missouri. Today the Yard is a city-owned industrial park and a center of manufacturing, technology, and craft, home to over 330 industrial and creative businesses, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers. This guided tour offers an overview of the vast 300-acre property and its history, from its founding in 1801, through major political and technological eras – including the Civil War, World War II, and its transition to a civilian industrial park – that are still visible in the Yard’s historic landscape.

This tour offers opportunities to take a closer look at the Yard’s most intriguing sites, including a dry dock that’s been used continuously for ship repair since 1851, several historic buildings that are being adaptively reused for modern industry, and development projects that will more than double the Yard’s workforce by the year 2020. Along the way, we will use oral history clips and historical photographs from the site’s naval past, as well as stories of the people at the Yard today, to bring this place to life. While we use a bus to get from place to place, we do get off the bus at several locations throughout the Yard to take a closer look.

Wind turbines on top of an aluminum building🏢 Sustainable Architecture & Industry Tour

Once America’s premier Naval shipyard, today the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a mission-driven industrial park and a hub of industry, technology, and craft. Explore the Navy Yard’s unique architecture and examine the many layers of history visible in the landscape, from Civil War-era machine shops to innovative LEED-Certified structures, and see how these buildings have been adapted for modern manufacturing. Learn about development projects currently underway at the Yard, which are projected to more than double the Yard’s workforce to over 16,000 by 2020, the greatest expansion of the Yard since World War II.

This tour showcases the role the Brooklyn Navy Yard plays in providing economic opportunities for thousands of New Yorkers, from small business owners to manufacturing workers to technology startups, and looks at the infrastructure that keeps the Yard – and all of New York City – running, including stormwater management, solid waste, and alternative energy systems. The tour covers most of the massive 300-acre campus, including visits to the still-active 1851 Dry Dock No. 1, the one-million-square-foot World War II-era Building 77, the sites of the Admiral’s Row and Dock 72 projects, and the LEED Platinum-certified Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.

USS Menges and USS Holder being repaired in dry dock 5 or 6, 1944🚢 World War II Tour

The Brooklyn Navy Yard played a pivotal role in World War II, building battleships and aircraft carriers, repairing over 5,000 ships, and sending troops and supplies to fronts across the globe. Not only did the Yard construct the USS Arizona a generation before the war, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but it is also where the battleship Missouri was constructed, where the peace treaty ending the war was signed in 1945. Thanks to the efforts of its 70,000 workers, the Brooklyn Navy Yard became the world’s busiest shipyard, earning the nickname “The Can-Do Yard” for its ability to patch up wounded ships and put them back in action.

This tour examines the role of the New York City waterfront in the war effort, explores connections between the Yard and famous battles of World War II, and visits sites of significance that remain from this era, including the former ship assembly shops and the historic Dry Dock 1. Throughout the tour, we listen to clips of oral histories recorded with sailors and shipworkers who were at the Yard during the war, including from women working in industrial jobs, and from people of color, for whom the war presented both challenges and new opportunities. This tour aims to evoke a sense of what the Yard was like during the war – a place of tremendous energy, innovation, and achievement, but tempered by terrible loss. While we use a bus to get you from place to place, we provide opportunities for everyone to get off the bus at several stops for a closer look at historically significant sites.

🌻 Urban Ecology Tour

Discover the natural world in the midst a thriving urban industrial park on this 2-hour tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where we will explore New York City’s waterways, terrestrial ecosystems and urban farms. The highlight of the tour is the stunning 65,000-square-foot Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm, where we will learn how they produce thousands of pounds of vegetables annually – as well as honey and eggs – and are a national leader in the development of rooftop and urban farming techniques. From the rooftop, we’ll also have amazing views of the Yard, including an extensive green rooftop and one of the largest rooftop solar installations in New York City.

Descending to the bank of the East River, we will visit an oyster restoration project led by students from the New York Harbor School and will discuss the improving health of the city’s waterways, and the challenges that remain. We will also explore planned and unplanned natural landscapes of the Yard, including the landscape architecture surrounding BLDG 92, identifying native and exotic plant species along the way. Finally, we will visit New York City’s newest green space, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative‘s Naval Cemetery Landscape, a meadow designed to restore the natural habitat, provide a space for environmental education, and commemorate the thousands of sailors, Marines, and others once interred at the site.

This tour will reveal that the natural world truly is all around us, even in the heart of the city.

A museum exhibit that includes a series of photographs and videos to the right and an exhibit case with commercial products to the left

⚓ Explore the Exhibits at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92

BLDG 92 offers three floors of exhibits about the past, present, and future of the Yard. The galleries are open to the public Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6pm, and admission is always free. If you would like to incorporate a 1-hour guided tour of the exhibits into your visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, that can be arranged, subject to availability.

 

Brooklyn Navy Yard Tours are available for 1 hour, 1.5 hours, or 2 hours.

The tours are designed to be 2 hours in length, so only the full 2-hour tour will include all the sites and themes listed in the description. We are happy to discuss any modification to the tour in order to accommodate your desired itinerary.

All rates below include a knowledgeable and engaging guide from Turnstile Tours and a map of the site. Bus tours include a 32-passenger bus and driver provided by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, and bicycle tours include a bicycle safety sweep in addition to the tour guide.

All tours require a minimum of 15 participants or equivalent payment.

2-hour Tour (by bus or bicycle):

  • Standard Rate: $30 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $27 per person

1.5-hour Tour (by bus or bicycle): 

  • Standard Rate: $24 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $21.60 per person

1-hour Tour (by bus or bicycle): 

  • Standard Rate: $18 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $16 per person

1-Hour BLDG 92 Exhibit Tour at BLDG 92: Rates below include a knowledgeable and engaging guide from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 and an exhibit pamphlet.

  • Standard Rate for all groups: $5 per person (minimum of 10 people)

Customized Itineraries and Tour Packages: Please contact us for customized requests and quotes.

Groups that provide their own bus transportation will receive a discount. Private buses must provide proof of commercial vehicle insurance in order to enter the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard covers 300 acres, so transportation by bus or bicycle is required to get around the site safely and efficiently. The Yard is a secure industrial park, and their is no public access except for Yard tenants, their guests, and tour participants accompanied by a guide.

Tours using BNYDC Bus:

All tours can be offered year-round using the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation’s 32-passenger bus for private group tours. The BNYDC bus is generally available during the following times (subject to availability):

  • Saturday-Sunday 10:30am-1pm
  • Monday-Tuesday 10:30am-3:30pm
  • Wednesday-Friday 2:30-3:30pm
  • These times apply during the academic year; more dates are available during summer months

Tours using Private Buses:

For groups of 33 or more people, or if the BNYDC bus is unavailable, Turnstile Tours can charter private buses seven days per week, subject to availability, but please note that pricing will differ based on charter rental fees. Groups may also provide their own bus transportation and will receive a discount on group rates. Private buses must provide proof of commercial vehicle insurance in order to enter the Brooklyn Navy Yard and be accompanied by a tour guide.

Tours by bicycle: 

All tours can be offered by bicycle only on Saturdays and Sundays during daylight hours. Groups must provide their own bicycles, and everyone must wear safety helmets in order to participate. Upon request, Turnstile Tours can arrange for bicycle rentals and safety gear with partner bicycle rental companies.

Private tours require a minimum of 15 participants, or equivalent payment. Tours that utilize the Brooklyn Navy Yard bus are restricted to 32 participants. We can accommodate larger groups, including coach buses.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Tours can be customized and adapted to focus on specific themes or areas of the Yard.

Past, Present & Future Tour:

  • Industrial history of Brooklyn’s waterfront
  • History of shipbuilding and technological advancements
  • Labor history on Brooklyn’s waterfront
  • Military history of New York City
  • Placemaking

Sustainable Architecture & Industry / Urban Ecology Tours*

  • LEED-certified building
  • Landscape architecture
  • Adaptive reuse of historic sites
  • Current redevelopment projects
  • Urban planning and Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront
  • Models for socially- and environmentally-responsible business practices
  • Industries, businesses, and manufacturers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard today
  • Economic development, employment programs, and community engagement
  • Marine and terrestrial ecosystems in an urban industrial setting
  • * Participants on these tours are eligible to receive American Institute of Architects Continuing Education credits.

World War II Tour:

  • Oral histories with former civilian and military personnel
  •  New York Harbor’s maritime industry and related infrastructure
  •  Labor history on Brooklyn’s waterfront
  • Issues of race, class, and gender in the armed forces and wartime workforce
  • Military history of New York City

Below are some testimonials from organizers of academically-focused tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard:

“Andrew at Turnstile Tours catered an amazing custom experience for my fellow classmates and I. We are all third-year M. Arch graduate students who were looking for some insider tips and unpublished intel on one of the many buildings in the Navy Yard in preparation for a studio project dealing with the building’s re-imagination and re-development. Andrew spent the full hour focused on the building in question, providing context but really diving deep into the specifics – which is just what we asked him to do. He was friendly and knowledgable and very willing to spend time answering our questions as they popped up. I would definitely recommend a custom tour with Turnstile like this for any academic group looking for more in-depth expert info about the Navy Yard.”

– Whitney Shanks, Parsons New School for Design

“I will say this about our tour: it had a profound effect on our production. Our production of On the Town could have felt as fanciful and as fictional as a fairytale but it found its grounding and its urgency in the visceral connections to the reality of WWII during our tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We spoke about the tour and the exhibits in BLDG 92 all the time in rehearsal and I’m grateful that we were able to begin our work together on the show through this remarkable experience.”  

– Virginia Anderson, Connecticut College

Select groups that have participated in specialized tours and programs:

  • Parsons The New School for Design
  • Pennsylvania State University School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • University of Pennsylvania Landscape Architecture Program
  • Etsy
  • German-American Chamber of Commerce
  • St. John’s University
  • Columbia University
  • NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate
  • New York City College of Technology
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • Colgate University Department of History
  • CUNY School of Professional Studies
  • CUNY Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies

Additional archival resources may be available depending on your area of study and interest. The bulk of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s archival collections consist of architectural drawings created when the Yard was a federal facility and mostly date to between the 1910s and 1960s. In most cases the BNY Archive does not have complete sets of drawings for each building or necessarily drawings that cover the lifespan of each building. Currently the archive is not able to host external researchers in person; however, we can provide digital copies of select drawings.

In making your request, please be as specific as possible regarding what you need, as requests such as “all drawings for building X” cannot be accommodated. Due to the high volume of requests, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation cannot guarantee an immediate response. While the primary mission of the archive is to support the day-to-day operations of BNYDC, archive staff endeavor to respond to all external inquiries within 10 business days. If several groups or students in one course are working on a project related to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, consolidated requests will ensure a more timely response.

For groups visiting the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we can arrange for catered lunch from nearby establishments in a private room, which can accommodate up to 60 guests.

Please contact us for information on menu options and pricing.

Click here to fill out an inquiry formwhich will help us to better serve your needs. We are usually able to respond to your inquiry within 2 business days.


BROOKLYN ARMY TERMINAL TOURS

Turnstile Tours, Brooklyn Army Terminal

Step inside an engineering marvel that is today a center of manufacturing and innovation on Brooklyn’s Sunset Park waterfront. Built to supply American forces in World War I, this enormous Cass Gilbert-designed complex served as a supply base for the American military for nearly 50 years, employing more than 20,000 people during World War II. Today, this thriving industrial park is home to over 100 companies in a wide array of industries, from precision manufacturers to biotech researchers, online retailers to chocolatiers.

On this 2-hour walking tour, we will explore how millions of tons of war supplies and personnel were shipped through this teeming transportation hub, hear the stories of soldiers, longshoremen, and merchant mariners who worked these piers, rail yards, and warehouses, and learn how these facilities are put to use today. Looking at the broader context, this tour will discuss what made the Port of New York the envy of the world in the mid-20th century, why it went into decline, and how Brooklyn’s working waterfront is being revitalized today. Along the way, we will enjoy sweeping views of the harbor, closely examine the architecture and infrastructure, and step inside the Terminal’s architectural gem – the breathtaking atrium of Building B, where freight trains once rumbled through to be loaded from the innovative cantilevered balconies. Join us to explore the sights and stories of a century of work at the Brooklyn Army Terminal!

Brooklyn Army Terminal walking tours are available for 1 hour, 1.5 hours, or 2 hours.

The tour is designed to be 2 hours in length, so only the full 2-hour tour will include all the sites and themes listed in the description. We are happy to discuss any modification to the tour in order to accommodate your desired itinerary.

All rates below include a knowledgeable and engaging guide from Turnstile Tours and a map of the site.

All tours require a minimum of 12 participants or equivalent payment.

2-hour Tour:

  • Standard Rate: $22 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $19.80 per person

1.5-hour Tour: 

  • Standard Rate: $19 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $17.10 per person

1-hour Tour: 

  • Standard Rate: $16 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $14.40 per person

Customized Itineraries and Tour Packages: Please contact us for customized requests and quotes.

All Brooklyn Army Terminal Tours are conducted on foot, though private groups that use coach buses may park on site, and some areas of the complex can be explored by by guided bus tour. Private buses must provide proof of commercial vehicle insurance and be accompanied by a tour guide in order to enter the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Tours are offered seven days a week during daylight hours, subject to availability.

Private tours require a minimum of 12 participants, or equivalent payment. Single tours are limited to 30 participants, but we can accommodate up to 60 guests with multiple guides.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Tours can be customized and adapted to focus on specific themes or areas.

  • Role of New York Harbor in the World Wars
  • History of intermodal transportation and cargo handling
  • Historical and contemporary shipping operations in the Port of New York
  • Architectural history of concrete
  • Architect Cass Gilbert’s impact on industrial building design and construction
  • Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings
  • Industrial and creative sectors in New York City today
  • Public policy and urban planning

* Participants on these tours are eligible to receive American Institute of Architects Continuing Education credits.

Select groups that have participated in specialized tours and programs:

  • St. John’s University
  • Space Architects
  • Redtop Architects
  • German-American Chamber of Commerce

For groups visiting the Brooklyn Army Terminal, there is a restaurant on site, Pete’s Brooklyn Eats, which offers delicious, affordable lunch options and can accommodate up to 60 guests in their dining room.

Please contact us for information on menu options and pricing.

Click here to fill out an inquiry formwhich will help us to better serve your needs. We are usually able to respond to your inquiry within 2 business days, and you can always contact us for more information.


FOOD CART TOURS OF MANHATTAN

A woman wearing glasses in an apron and a young man next to her are both standing in front of a metal food cart on a busy street.Join us for this strolling lunch through Midtown or the Financial District to learn about the past and present of operating a street food business in New York City. While tasting the borough’s best street food at six different carts and trucks, you’ll taste cuisines ranging from Caribbean and Mexican to Bengali and Korean and learn about the vendors behind each of the recipes. But this is more than just a tasting tour – you will also learn the ins and outs of running one of these demanding small businesses, understand the complex regulations affecting the industry, learn about advocacy efforts led by the street vending community, and meet the vendors. This tour can be adapted to complement courses on a wide range of subjects, from immigration to business, regional and food studies, urban planning and public policy.

Food Cart walking tours are available for 1.5 hours or 2 hours.

The tour is designed to be 2 hours in length, so only the full 2-hour tour will include all the tastings and themes listed in the description. We are happy to discuss any modification to the tour in order to accommodate your desired itinerary.

All rates below include a knowledgeable and engaging guide from Turnstile Tours, 5-6 tastings from different carts and trucks, a bottle of water, and a map of NYC food carts and trucks.

All tours require a minimum of 6 participants or equivalent payment.

2-hour Tour (includes 5-6 tastings):

  • Standard Rate: $48 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $43.20 per person

1.5-hour Tour (includes 4 tastings): 

  • Standard Rate: $40 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $36 per person

Customized Itineraries and Tour Packages: Please contact us for customized requests and quotes.

All Food Cart Tours are conducted on foot.

Tours are offered on weekdays during lunch hours (roughly 11:30am-4pm), subject to availability. Depending on the season or day of the week, we may recommend specific times for the tour in different neighborhoods in order to maximize the number and variety of tastings, and to minimize delays during busy lunch service times.

Private tours require a minimum of 6 participants, or equivalent payment. Single tours are limited to 16 participants, but we can accommodate up to 80 guests with multiple guides.

We work with more than 40 street different street vendors, and our menu varies based on the neighborhood, day of the week, and which vendors are out on the street on a given day. Tastings on your tour may include falafel and lamb off the bone, halal chicken and rice with tamarind sauce, Korean short ribs, Indian kati rolls, Greek souvlaki, Vietnamese sandwiches, Belgian waffles, and Mexican quesadillas, all prepared in these amazing curbside kitchens.

We can also accommodate most dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. Please contact us for information on menu options, accommodations, and requests.

Food Cart Tours can be customized and adapted to focus on specific themes or areas, including:

  • Immigration patterns over time
  • City regulations affecting street vending
  • Street vendor advocacy organizations and campaigns
  • Regional cuisine and food studies
  • Case studies of entrepreneurship and business development
  • Policy debates over public space and street vending
  • Public policy and urban planning

Select groups that have participated in specialized tours and programs:

  • Ramapo College
  • Columbia University
  • Chobani
  • Association of American Geographers annual conference
  • Rural Sociological Society annual conference

Click here to fill out an inquiry formwhich will help us to better serve your needs. We are usually able to respond to your inquiry within 2 business days, and you can always contact us for more information.


IMMIGRANT FOODWAYS PUBLIC MARKET TOUR

Angelo and Holly hi-res

From farms to pushcarts to public markets, this 2-hour walking and tasting tour explores historical aspects of New York’s food system and the influence of Caribbean and Latin American cultures and cuisines on the past and present of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Once known for its pickles and kosher meat, today the eastern section of Williamsburg serves up herbal tea remedies from Mexicosounds of salsa, and traditional ingredients. Based on more than 20 oral history interviews with neighborhood residents and local business owners, and on original archival research, this tour explores the history of Brooklyn’s “Avenue of Puerto Rico” and takes an in-depth look at the Moore Street Market, built in 1941 to mark the end of the pushcart era and today a centerpiece of the Spanish-speaking community. The tour includes 6-8 generous tastings from market vendors and local eateries.

The Moore Street Market Immigrant Foodways walking tour is 1 hour or 2 hours.

We are happy to discuss any modification to the tour in order to accommodate your desired itinerary.

All rates below include a knowledgeable and engaging guide from Turnstile Tours, 6-8 tastings from different market vendors and local restaurants, a bottle of water, and a map of the neighborhood.

All tours require a minimum of 8 participants or equivalent payment.

2-hour Tour (includes 6-8 tastings):

  • Standard Rate: $48 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $43.20 per person

1-hour Tour (includes 3 tastings):

  • Standard Rate: $30 per person
  • Non-profit & Educational Rate: $27 per person

Customized Itineraries and Tour Packages: Please contact us for customized requests and quotes.

All Immigrant Foodways Tours are conducted on foot.

Tours are offered on weekdays during the market’s operating hours (10am-6pm), subject to availability. Depending on the season or day of the week, we may recommend specific times for the tour in order to maximize the number and variety of tastings.

Private tours require a minimum of 6 participants, or equivalent payment. Single tours are limited to 16 participants, but we can accommodate up to 48 guests with multiple guides.

Tastings on the tour may include (but are subject to change) morcilla sausagegreen bananas and onionsroasted pork and chickensancocho stewbatidos (Latin American hand-made beverages), plantainssorullos (corn fritters), tembleque, and tamarind juice.

With advance notice, most dietary preferences or restrictions can be accommodated. Vegetarians can be easily accommodated, and while we strive to accommodate all dietary needs, visitors with a vegan diet may have a more limited menu, though we offer the same quantity of food. Please contact us for information on menu options, accommodations, and requests.

Immigrant Foodways Tours can be customized and adapted to focus on specific themes or areas, including:

  • Cultural and culinary traditions from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Mexico
  • Historical patterns of settlement of Jewish and Latin American communities in NYC
  • Latino studies
  • Food studies
  • History of public markets in NYC & US
  • Urban food systems
  • Culinary traditions and food networks in immigrant communities in NYC
  • Immigrant entrepreneurship in NYC
  • Local economic development
  • Public policy and urban planning

Select groups that have participated in specialized tours and programs:

  • Columbia University
  • Open House New York “Final Mile” tour series
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Jane’s Walks

Click here to fill out an inquiry formwhich will help us to better serve your needs. We are usually able to respond to your inquiry within 2 business days, and you can always contact us for more information.