Mar 16 - 28, 2021
13 days
$9,950per person, twin share (land content only). $2,930 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing
Mar 16 - 28, 2021

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing$9,950per person, twin share (land content only). $2,930 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Wake up in the city that never sleeps – 12 times! This residential tour to New York combines a carefully-selected range of performances – from jazz to Broadway, orchestral music and opera – with private visits to a selection of the city’s best museums and galleries, and dining in some of its finest restaurants. It also explores the fascinating history and architecture of the city through walking tours of its renowned neighbourhoods: Brooklyn, Soho, Chelsea, Downtown, the Upper East Side and Central Park. Accommodation is in spacious premier-plus rooms at the Warwick Hotel, perfect for attending theatres and visiting galleries.


Exclusive, before-hours visits to three incredible galleries

  • The Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Neue Galerie with an expert lecturer

Seven outstanding performances

  • A performance of Rusalka by the world-leading Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, including a pre-performance dinner at the beautiful Grand Tier Restaurant
  • A Broadway Musical, selected from the best of the 2021 season
  • Mezze-soprano Anne Sophie von Otter’s recital of rarely heard songs by Mendelssohn, Schumann and others at Carnegie Hall
  • Mitsuko Uchida leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s piano concertos No. 18 and 21 at Carnegie Hall
  • An evening of jazz in the elegant ‘Jazz at the Lincoln Center’, with incredible city views overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park
  • A new production of a stage play from the Broadway 2021 season
  • A Matinée on Broadway, selected from the best of the 2021 season

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–2: Explore New Amsterdam and Downtown; a Broadway musical.

Days 3–4: Tour the Metropolitan Museum before it opens, a Midtown architectural tour, a guided tour of the UN Headquarters; opera recital at Carnegie Hall.

Days 5–7: Visit J.P. Morgan Library, the Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim Museum; ferry to Ellis Island; Jazz at the Lincoln and the Met Opera.

Days 8–10: Private viewing of MoMA, walk the High Line at Chelsea and explore Brooklyn. Lunch at the Michelin two-star The Modern; an evening on Broadway.

Days 11–13: Stroll through Central Park, tour the Frick Collection and dine at The Boathouse and Gramercy Tavern; the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and enjoy a Broadway matinee.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins and ends at our hotel in New York. Qantas, Delta and United Airlines offer the most direct regular flights to and from New York, with stopovers in Los Angeles or Dallas Fort Worth. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Tuesday March 16: Arrive New York

Flights from Australia arrive in New York in the late afternoon. In the early evening, we gather for welcome drinks in the tour leader’s suite. If you have arrived early, we suggest you take one of the many harbour cruises available in Manhattan and can recommend the AIA tour. The Staten Island Ferry and the Museum of Natural History are other iconic New York offerings not specifically covered on our tour that you might consider visiting beforehand. Academy Travel can arrange bookings.

Wednesday March 17: Downtown – Broadway Musical

We begin our exploration of New York’s unique history and architecture in the Downtown area, where the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam was founded in the 17th century. We walk down some of New York’s oldest streets, learning the history of the Dutch and British colonies and visiting sites such as the elegant Beaux-Arts style Customs House, Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, Trinity Church, New York City Hall and the Woolworth Building. Lunch and an introductory lecture will be at the Capital Grille, set inside an old Wall Street bank vault. This evening we kick off our performances with a Broadway Musical, selected from the best of the 2020/21 offerings. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Broadway
Program: To be announced October 2020
Performers: To be announced October 2020

Thursday March 18: A Day at the Met – Anne Sophie von Otter

This morning we arise early to take advantage of a rare opportunity – to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s greatest museums, before it opens. We’ll take a 90-minute curator-led tour of some of the most famous highlights, free from the regular crowds. After the museum opens, your ticket is valid for the rest of the day, leaving you free to explore other areas at leisure, enjoy lunch in one of the many museum restaurants, or join other free public tours regularly scheduled throughout the day. For those interested, your tour leader can also give you a guided tour of the highlights of the American Wing. In the evening, we’ll attend the first of two performances at the world-famous Carnegie Hall. Tonight, we’ll hear the international star mezze-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter in a recital of beautiful but rarely heard songs by Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann, as well as music by Schubert, Robert Schumann, and two composers from von Otter’s Swedish homeland: Lindblad and Berwald. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall
Program: Program to include songs by Fanny Mendelssohn, C. Schumann, R. Schumann, Schubert, Lindblad, and Berwald
Performers: Annie Sophie von Otter and Kristian Bezuidenhout

Friday March 19: Midtown Architecture

Today is all about exploring the incredible architecture of New York, both old and new. We start by heading over to the Rockefeller Center, and then tour this enormous complex, including a visit to the “Top of the Rock” to see the whole of the city from up high. Afterwards, we explore some of the Beaux-Arts and Art-Deco architecture of New York’s Midtown district, including icons such as the Waldorf Astoria, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station and General Electric Building. We also look at mid-century architectural masterpieces by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Gordon Bunshaft, Raymond Hood and Philip Johnson. In the afternoon we’ll complete our Midtown explorations with a guided tour of the inspirational United Nations Headquarters, a monument to both internationalism and influential modernist architecture. The evening is free. (B)

Saturday March 20: Great Libraries – Rusalka

We start the morning with a lecture in the hotel. We then visit the superb Morgan Library, containing a wonderful treasury of extremely rare manuscripts and books collected by the banker J.P. Morgan. Ranging from ancient cuneiform tablets to key documents of American history, this is one of the world’s great bibliographic collections. Morgan’s collection is housed in several exquisite and connected buildings, beginning with Charles McKim’s Renaissance-style rotunda of 1906, flowing into Renzo Piano’s light-filled 2006 atrium. Afterwards, we’ll also take a tour of the nearby New York Public Library, an architectural and cultural landmark within the city. The evening sees us head to the Lincoln Center for a true New York experience – dinner at the famous The Grand Tier Restaurant and then a performance by the Metropolitan Opera, one of the cultural landmarks of the city, with Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva leading a riveting new production of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Metropolitan Opera House
Program: Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák
Performers: Sophie Yoncheva, Ekaterina Gubanova, Piotr Beczala, Jakub Hrůša (conductor)

Sunday March 21: Neue Galerie and Guggenheim – Jazz at the Lincoln Center

Today, after a morning lecture, we visit two important museums on the Upper East Side. First up is the Neue Galerie. This small collection has become famous for its acquisition of Gustav Klimt’s Woman in Gold, and now attracts some first-class exhibitions specialising in German and Austrian art. We take a private tour of the gallery in the morning before it opens to the public. Not far away is Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique spiral design for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. We will inspect the building and there will be time to visit the permanent exhibition and its famous temporary exhibitions. The afternoon is free to explore the galleries in depth or take advantage of other New York attractions. This evening we enjoy a performance of swing or jazz music at Jazz at the Lincoln Center complex. Overlooking Central Park, the musical temperature rises as the sun sets over Manhattan. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Jazz at the Lincoln Center
Program: To be announced October 2020
Performers: To be announced October 2020

Monday March 22: Lower East Side and Ellis Island

The rich history of immigration and cultural interchange has defined much of New York’s unique history and peoples, and today we explore the areas at the heart of the immigrant story. We begin with a tour on the ferry out to Ellis Island, now maintained as a National Park. Ellis Island was the port of entry for millions of immigrants to the United States and now stands as a permanent museum of their lives and stories. We’ll also stop by the Statue of Liberty. After free time for lunch in Little Italy, in the afternoon we explore the Lower East Side, long a hub for new immigrants to the city, and explore Little Italy and Chinatown, as well as visit the Tenement Museum, a remarkably preserved example of the 19th-century immigrant experience. We’ll also take the opportunity to survey some of the Jewish heritage in the area, such as the Eldridge Synagogue and Katz’s Delicatessen. The evening is free. (B)

Tuesday March 23: MoMA – Broadway Play

A highlight of our tour is this morning’s private tour of MoMA, New York’s famous Museum of Modern Art. Before the doors open to the public, a museum lecturer guides us through the museum’s greatest works. After the tour, you are free to spend the entire day at MoMA if you wish. Lunch is at the Museum’s excellent restaurant The Modern. This Michelin two-star restaurant overlooks MoMA’s sculpture courtyard and is certain to be one of the culinary highlights of the tour. The afternoon is free to explore the museum further, or to take an optional visit to Roosevelt Island, one of the newly fashionable areas of New York, recently redeveloped with the Four Freedoms Park and connected by a cable car that takes you over the East River. In the evening we’ll attend a Broadway play, chosen from the best offerings of the 2021 season. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Broadway
Program: To be announced October 2020
Performers: To be announced October 2020

Wednesday March 24: Chelsea, the High Line and the Whitney

This morning we venture down to the chic neighbourhood of Chelsea. There we’ll have an opportunity to stroll the High Line, an urban park created from a disused industrial railway, compete with plants and artwork that overlook a rapidly changing area of the city. The slick apartment buildings on either side of the High Line are a showcase of contemporary architecture. In the afternoon, there’s the option of visiting the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art, shopping some of the chicest districts of New York, or simply relaxing.  The later afternoon and evening are free. (B)

Thursday March 25: Exploring Brooklyn

Brooklyn was first developed as an independent city, becoming part of New York only in 1898. We’ll enter this thriving community by crossing the majestic Brooklyn Bridge, a wonder of the Industrial Revolution and an American engineering icon. Afterwards we’ll stroll through the chic Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) precinct, having lunch in the area, and also having an opportunity to explore the elegant brownstone rowhouses of Brooklyn Heights – home to writers, artists and, once, millions of immigrants. In the later afternoon we’ll visit the first-class but often overlooked Brooklyn Museum, one of the largest art museums in the world by collection size with numerous masterpieces of American and African art within. The evening is free. (B)

Friday March 26: Central Park – Mahler Chamber Orchestra

We begin today with a stroll through Central Park, whose landscaping has been described as New York’s largest work of art, and take in some of the carefully sculpted vistas the park provides, including the Belvedere and the Bethesda Terrace, discussing the history and creation of this unique urban space. We then dine at The Boathouse, one of the most iconic eateries in the city in the middle of the park. In the afternoon we visit the Frick Collection, a unique museum of European Old Masters’ paintings of the very highest quality, displayed in the former private home of Pittsburgh entrepreneur Henry Clay Frick. The house and its staggering art collection epitomise the taste and wealth of America’s ‘Gilded Age’ from 1890-1929, and the building is an exemplar of the opulent mansions that once dominated the Upper East side. This evening we make our way to Carnegie Hall for what promises to be one of the events of the season – Mitsuko Uchida leads the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in one of her iconic performances of Mozart, featuring the Piano Concerto No. 21—famous for its poetic Andante — and the Piano Concerto No. 18, notable for its beautiful writing for winds. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall
Program: Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat Major, K. 456 and Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 by W.A. Mozart, and Leoš Janáček’s Mládí
Performers: Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Mitsuko Uchida (Piano and Director), Meesun Hong Coleman (Concertmaster)

Saturday March 27: Farewell Dinner – Broadway Matinee

After a final lecture, the morning is free, leaving plenty of time for any last-minute shopping and touring. In the early afternoon, we return to Broadway for a matinee performance chosen from one of the best offerings of the 2021 season. This evening we farewell New York with a final meal in the private dining room of one of the city’s finest restaurants – Gramercy Tavern. Specialising in avant garde American cuisine and regularly bestowed top accolades by reviewers and patrons alike, this beloved New York institution is the perfect conclusion to our 13-day tour. (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Broadway
Program: To be announced October 2020
Performers: To be announced October 2020

Sunday March 29: Harlem Gospel – Departure

We conclude our tour of New York with an early start this morning to catch the 8.00am sung service at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem. The Sunday service will feature traditional choir, gospel, a vibrant congregation and a thundering sermon delivered by the pastor, the Rev Dr Jesse T Williams Jr. Hotel check-out is at midday. In the mid-afternoon, there is a transfer to JFK airport for those departing from New York today. (B)

Dr Matthew Laing

A political scientist and expert in US history, with a doctorate on the history of the United States presidency.

Dr Matthew Laing is a historian and political scientist at Monash University who has led tours to the Americas and Europe with Academy Travel for five years. He has a strong personal interest in architecture, cultural history and modern art, with a particular expertise in the United States.

Matthew holds a BA and PhD from the Australian National University, and wrote his doctorate on the history of the United States presidency. He has worked as a lecturer and research fellow at the Australian National University, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and now at Monash University in Melbourne. He is an accredited ADFAS lecturer and frequently holds public lecture series in Melbourne. He currently teaches United States history and leadership, and has published on both topics.

Matthew’s tours strive for intellectual engagement and to reveal the stories, both big and small, that can bring history to life. A voracious reader and traveller, Matthew strives to be a generalist and draws upon a wide range of subjects – from politics to architecture – to develop his understanding of a place. Matthew’s passion for the United States started as an intern in the United States Congress in 2007. Since then he has made dozens of trips across the country, for both work and pleasure, and is closing in on his goal of visiting all 50 states. He has lectured and written on a wide variety of US subjects, including the American Revolution, the Gilded Age, and American Modernist architecture. Matthew also lived in the Netherlands for two years and has travelled widely there, and has a particular interest in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Matthew has been tour leading for Academy Travel annually since 2013, with many tours to the United States and Europe, and is now taking on a greater role managing and developing further tours in these regions, including developing new tours to areas like the Southern United States.

We asked Matthew, what do you enjoy most about leading a group tour?

“As an academic, the personal joy of leading tours for Academy Travel is that I get one of the best classrooms I could ask for of intelligent and attentive global travellers who share my passion for learning about our world. And yet often I also find myself the student – with intellectually-engaged travellers from all walks of life, some of the most stimulating debates and discussions I’ve had are with my clients on tours.”

“I think those who come on tour with me benefit most from my enthusiasm, energy and passion – whether it’s a giving a morning lecture or having a causal chat at lunch, I’m always striving to draw out new insights and connections that can further understanding and increase engagement.”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours

The Warwick Hotel

Our four-star hotel is very conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan, on 54th Street. We have booked premier-plus grade rooms. These are large and comfortable, each with modern amenities. The hotel is in walking distance of many of New York’s most popular attractions. The hotel has just completed a major renovation. The Warwick has an interesting history. It was built in 1926 for newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, primarily as a residence for his Hollywood friends, among whom was his mistress Marion Davies. Over the years guests have included James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Actor Cary Grant lived in the Warwick for 12 years.

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 

Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?

Our tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade One

A Grade 1 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
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For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Lynsey Jenkins or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

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