Mar 19 - 31, 2019
13 days
$10,350per person, twin share (land content only). $2,930 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing
Mar 19 - 31, 2019

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing$10,350per 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.


  • New York’s dramatic history, from colonial outpost to global metropolis
  • Outstanding performances: opera, orchestral concerts, plays and a musical
  • A breathtaking array of visual arts, ranging from European Old Masters to 20th-century classics and the cutting-edge contemporary scene
  • New York’s marvellous architectural heritage, with a focus on Art Deco, modern and contemporary
  • New York’s neighbourhoods: a city of villages with celebrated local histories
  • A survey of New York’s food scene, from historic venues to top establishments



Seven performances to be selected from the 2018-2019 season, including:

  • Tosca, in production by the world-leading Metropolitan Opera directed by Carlo Rizzi
  • The Broadway smash-hit Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton
  • New York Philharmonic Orchestra performing Brahms’s Symphony No. 1
  • Mozart virtuoso Mitsuko Uchida, leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
  • Some of the best jazz in the city at Jazz at the Lincoln

Itinerary Overview

Architecture and History

  • Architectural walking tours of Midtown’s Art Deco and Park Avenue modernism
  • New York’s fascinating history of immigration, from Ellis Island to the Lower East Side
  • Brownstone streetscapes, fantastic museums and diverse history in Brooklyn
  • Exploring Downtown, from New Amsterdam to the modern Financial District

Fine Art and Dining

  • A private out-of-hours viewing of the MoMA with a museum lecturer
  • Charming small galleries, including the Frick Collection and the Neue Museum
  • The encyclopaedic Metropolitan Museum of Art, including its exquisite medieval wing The Cloisters
  • Lunch at the Michelin two-star restaurant The Modern, inside MoMA
  • Dinner the New York fine dining institution the Grammercy Tavern

A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.

Getting There

Qantas and United Airlines fly regularly to the East Coast. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

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

Tuesday March 19: Arrive New York

Flights from Australia arrive in New York in the late afternoon. In the early evening, we gather for drinks in the hotel bar. If you have arrived early we suggest you take one of the many harbour cruises available in Manhattan, and can particularly 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 20: Downtown – Hamilton

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, Town Hall and the Woolworth Building. Lunch and an introductory lecture will be at the historic Delmonico’s, one of New York’s oldest remaining restaurants. This evening we kick off our performances with the smash-hit musical Hamilton, for some time the hottest ticket on Broadway. The musical tells the story of the dramatic life of New Yorker Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the US treasury. It’s an unlikely topic for a musical, but its popularity is proof of Broadway’s never-ending inventiveness. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Richard Rodgers Theater
Program: Hamilton, book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Performers: Javier Muñoz (Hamilton), Daniel Breaker (Aaron Burr), Lexi Lawson (Eliza Hamilton), Euan Morton (King George), Bryan Terrell Clark (George Washington)

Thursday March 21: Frick Museum and Central Park

This morning we begin with a visit to 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 is an exemplar of the opulent mansions that once dominated the Upper East side. We then head to Central Park for a late lunch at The Boathouse restaurant. Weather permitting, we will stroll home 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 Strawberry Fields and the Bethesda Terrace. This evening there is the option of catching a Broadway show, a performance at the Met Opera, or a chamber concert at Barge Music in Brooklyn. (B, L)

Friday March 22: Midtown Art Deco –  Broadway Play

This morning we begin with a lecture in the Rockefeller Center, and after touring this enormous complex itself, 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 Patricks Cathedral, the GE Building, Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building. We also look at mid-century architectural masterpieces by Mies Van der Rohe, Gordon Bunschaft, Raymond Hood and Phillip Johnson. 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. This evening we head to a theatre in Broadway to see a Broadway play selected from the best of the upcoming 2018-2019 season. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Broadway or Lincoln Center Playhouse
Program: New Broadway play
Performers: To be announced October 2018

Saturday March 23: Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim – Tosca at the Met

Today 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. 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. We’ll continue in the afternoon with the top sights on 5th Avenue, long a home of the finest shopping and accommodation in the city, including the Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany’s and the now infamous Trump Tower. Tonight we head to the Lincoln Center for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Tosca. The highly dramatic music tells a tale of political intrigue, rape, murder, shooting and suicide – all the ingredients for a perfect night out! Before the performance and during interval we dine at the glamorous Grand Tier restaurant, adjacent to the theatre. (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center
Program: Puccini, Tosca – opera in three acts
Performers: Jennifer Rowley (Floria Tosca), Joseph Calleja (Cavaradossi), Wolfgang Koch (Scarpia), Carlo Rizzi (conductor)

Sunday March 24: Soho to Chelsea

After a morning lecture, we continue our exploration of New York’s neighbourhoods with a coach and walking tour of the cast-iron architecture of Soho, Washington Square, Greenwich Village and Chelsea, as well as stopping by the Washington Square Park and the Flatiron Building on the way. In Chelsea, we’ll stroll the High Line, an urban park created from a disused industrial railway, compete with plants and art work that overlooks a rapidly changing area of the city. The slick apartment buildings on either side of the High Line are a showcase of contemporary architecture, with buildings by Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and many others on view. There will be opportunity for you to lunch and shop at the Chelsea Markets. 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. (B)

Monday March 25: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

We spend the morning at The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval department, located on the northern tip of Manhattan, featuring a collection of medieval works of art and sculpture that is easily the rival of many European collections. On the way to the Cloisters we call in at the Riverside Church, built in the gothic style with funds provided by the pious Baptist John D. Rockefeller. Adjacent is the tomb of Civil War hero Ulysses S Grant. We then travel to the Metropolitan Museum’s main campus, where we’ll explore the impressive American Wing and a selection of the museum’s 54 departments. A free afternoon will follow to allow you time to explore this vast and encyclopaedic collection of the world’s art and culture. This evening is free, but with many options for additional activities or performances. (B)

Tuesday March 26: Lower East Side and Ellis Island – New York Philharmonic

Today we explore the rich history of immigration and cultural interchange that has defined much of New York’s unique history and peoples. We begin with a tour 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. 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. This evening we make our way to the Lincoln Center for the New York Philharmonic, and Jaap van Zweden conducting Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, as well as two works by prominent American composers Charles Ives and John Adams.

Performance details
Venue: David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Program: Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Ives, Central Park in the Dark; John Adams, The Wound-Dresser
Performers: New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden (conductor)

Wednesday March 27: Great Libraries and Sights – Jazz at the Lincoln Center

This morning after a final lecture on New York we visit the exquisite 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. We stay for lunch in the Morgan’s elegant restaurant. In the early afternoon we’ll explore beyond to the New York Public Library and go up the top of the Empire State Building to get a commanding view of the city. This evening we enjoy a performance of swing or jazz music at the Appel Room at Jazz at the Lincoln Center complex. Overlooking Central Park, the musical temperature rises as the sun sets over Manhattan. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Appel Room, Jazz at the Lincoln Center
Program: Jazz band and/or vocalists
Performers: To be announced October 2018

Thursday March 28: MoMA Private Viewing

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 the 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 cable car that takes you over the East River (B, L)

Friday March 29: Brooklyn – Carnegie Hall

Brooklyn was first developed as an independent city, becoming part of New York only in 1898. Today we explore the elegant brownstone row houses of Brooklyn Heights – home to writers, artists and, once, millions of immigrants. We also stroll through the chic Down Under Below the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) precinct. And 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. Weather permitting, we’ll walk back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge, a world wonder in its own right. The evening we’ll attend an exciting performance and rare opportunity at Carnegie Hall. The legendary Mitsuko Uchida will be both conducting and pianist with the internationally-acclaimed Mahler Chamber Orchestra, in a recital of Mozart and Berg for which Uchida has become a leading musical authority. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Carnegie Hall
Program: Mozart’s Piano Concertos no. 19 and 20; Berg’s Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite
Performers: Mitsuko Uchida and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Saturday March 30: Broadway Matinee – Farewell Dinner

The morning is free, leaving plenty of time for any last-minute shopping and touring. In the early afternoon, we return to Broadway for an entertaining final performance from the best the upcoming season has to offer. 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 or Lincoln Center Playhouse
Program: Hit Broadway musical or play
Performers: To be announced October 2018

Sunday March 31: Harlem Gospel – Departure

We conclude our tour of New York with an early departure this morning to catch the 8.00am sung service at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem. Our Palm 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

Is a historian and political scientist with a PhD from the ANU. Matthew leads tours to the United States and Scandinavia and lectures for Academy Travel.

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 public transport is 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

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?
Open-age 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
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • 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

Booking conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.


A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.

Fitness rating

Grade 1

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:
Jamal Fairbrother 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Detailed Itinerary

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