Summer in New York: Tour Roundup

Whether you're walking, riding or sailing, there's no bad way to view the sights New York City has to offer in the summer months. The following is a sampling of suggested tours and programs that help bring the Big Apple to life.

Sutherland Tours

Sample Package: Four-night Millennium Weekend, based on arrival on Dec. 30 to departure on Jan. 3, including accommodations at the New York Marriott Marquis, choice of Broadway show (orchestra or front mezzanine seats based on availability), pre- or post-theater dinner, and taxes and tips, is priced at $1,799 per person, double.

The operator also offers holiday weekend packages and one-, two- and three-night Broadway Hit Show Tours throughout the year, priced from $178 per person, double, which can be tailored to include tickets to "The Lion King" on certain weekend dates. For information and reservations, call (800) 221-2442.

Gray Line of New York

Sample Program: The Grand Tour by double-decker sightseeing coach includes more than 40 hop-on/hop-off stops at famous Big Apple attractions and districts, such as the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, United Nations, Lincoln Center, Times Square, Harlem, Wall Street and the World Trade Center. The tour takes about five hours, and costs $33 for a Loop ticket good for two consecutive days of sightseeing. The Grand Tour may be combined with a helicopter tour for $112 or a Circle Line cruise for $55.

Other Gray Line offerings include A Night on the Town, priced at $55; a Sunday morning Harlem Gospel tour, priced at $33, and a shopping excursion to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, priced at $33. Gray Line of New York offers tours in German, French, Spanish and Italian, in addition to English. For reservations, contact: (800) 669-0051, ext. 130; www.graylinenewyork.com.

New York Apple Tours

Sample Program: Full City hop-on/hop-off sightseeing tour by double-decker coach includes stops at more than 40 sights and neighborhoods, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Macy's, Chinatown and the South Street Seaport. The tour takes about four hours and costs $39 for a ticket valid for two consecutive days of touring.

The operator's other selections include the full city tour combined with a Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island boat trip for $48; a Sunday morning Harlem Gospel Tour for $34 ($48 if combined with the full city tour); a hop-on/hop-off Brooklyn tour for $25, and others. The full city tour is also available in Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Spanish or Portuguese for $45. For more information and reservations, contact the operator at (800) 876-9868, www.nyappletours.com.

Discover New York With Kitt Garrett Inc.

The operator offers several themed tour series, each of which features a variety of programs. The culinary series, for example, offers food buffs an opportunity to explore New York's ethnic neighborhoods and food emporia, and learn where food professionals dine and shop. Programs within this category include a tour of Little Italy; "The World of Cheese," "Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate" and others.

Other tour themes include history and architecture, decorative and fine arts, horticulture, shopping and theater. Rates depend on the specific tour chosen, the tour components selected and size of the group. For more information, contact the operator at (212) 750-5944, www.dnykginc.com.

New York City Cultural Tours

New York's history, art, architecture and cultural highlights are explored on this series of private walking tours, priced at $25 per hour for a group of four or more or $15 per hour for three or fewer people. The choice of 25 themed tours includes History of Old New York (lower Manhattan), the Waldorf-Astoria Walking Tour, SoHo and Little Italy, Jewish Heritage, Irish Heritage and the Theater District and Millionaires' Mile (Fifth and Madison avenues from East 58th to East 96th streets). The tours are conducted by Alfred Pommer, a licensed guide and New York arts and history expert. For information, contact (212) 979-2388, nycwalk.com.

Bite of The Apple Tours

The grandeur of "New York's Backyard," Central Park, is on display during the company's two-hour bike tours, offered through December. The tours leave three times daily (10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.) from 2 Columbus Circle, near Central Park, and are accompanied by guide-lecturers. The cost is $30 (including 20% agent's commission), which includes bicycle rental. Highlights include Strawberry Fields and the Shakespeare Garden. For information and reservations, call (212) 541-8759, www.nyctourist.com/ad_biketour.htm.

New York Waterway

The line's 90-minute narrated New York harbor cruise offers views of the Hudson Palisades, the Statue of Liberty, the East River bridges, the United Nations and Manhattan's famous skyscrapers. There are at least four departures daily (depending on the time of year), and the fare is $18. The line's roster of sailings also include twilight, disco and Broadway music harbor cruises; Yankees and Mets express cruises, which take passengers to the teams' home games, and sails from Manhattan to the estates of the historic Hudson River Valley. For more information, contact the line at (800) 533-3779, www.NYWaterway.com.

Spirit Cruises

The line's Spirit of New York offers daily lunch and dinner cruises, a Sunday lunch/brunch trip and moonlight cruises on Friday and Saturday evenings. The three-hour dinner cruise, priced from $56.95, includes a buffet meal, dancing to a live band and a floor show. The ship is climate-controlled and has panoramic windows, dance floor, full-service bar and spacious decks for a pre- or post-dinner stroll. For information and reservations, contact: (800) 8-SPIRIT, www.spiritcruises.com.

The line has a new sister company, Bateaux New York, which offers brunch and dinner cruises. For information, contact: (212) 352-2022, www.bateauxnewyork.com.

Summer in New York: Theater Theatre Direct International pays 10% commission on group and individual theater tickets for Broadway and Off Broadway shows. Unlike agencies that charge a fee on all bookings, TDI imposes a service fee for Saturday night performances only. The fee depends on the price of the tickets. Agents can also purchase cancellation insurance for $7.50 per ticket (not available for groups).

For more information, contact TDI at (800) 334-8457, www.theatredirect.com. The company can also be accessed on Sabre at: Y/EXT/TDI.

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