Your City and New York: Newport, Rhode Island

Although there are probably more people living in some neighborhoods in New York than in Newport, Rhode Island, the cities share many commonalities that might not immediately meet the eye.  While Newport is mostly a colonial-inspired city, it has many interesting similarities with New York.

For starters, an obvious similarity is that Newport was for a long time the society capital of America, with many wealthy New York families summering at the beaches and shores there.  The Astors and Vanderbilts were among two of the more prominent families who had large estates in Newport, which today are sumptuous museums rivaling such mansions as the Frick Collection in New York.  As a result of the wealth of historic architecture in both cities, the Landmarks Preservation Commission in New York and the Preservation Society of Newport County both hold sway in important building decisions and protect resources that are appealing to tourists.

Aside from the high society connection, New York and Newport were also cities founded relatively early in the part of the history of European settlement in the Americas.  Both were major ports, but New York would remain the larger city of the two throughout the Colonial Era.  As major port cities, many ethnicities and religions would come through each locale.  This is evident by the fact that Newport, RI, and New York contain two of the first Jewish congregations in what would later become the United States (in the Touro Synagogue and Congregation Shearith Israel, respectively).  The cities also contain notable Episcopal churches, coincidently both named Trinity Church.

The similarities also extend to the manner of entering or leaving each city, as there are great suspension bridges serving as gateways—namely, the George Washington Bridge in New York and the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge in Newport.  Learn more about how Newport, RI, and how your city can be found in New York City with Sights by Sam.

Your City and New York: Sydney

Occupying a place in similar stature to New York in the Land Down Under, Sydney is very similar to NYC in many ways.  Beyond the superficial point that they are the largest cities in their respective states and countries and were also major cities within the British Empire at a time, New York and Sydney both have many similarities, as elaborated upon below.

Both cities are at the center of fine harbors, some would say among the finest in the world.  In addition to the many tons of cargo and passengers that come through these harbors, they are also bridged by some of the greatest bridges in the world—in fact, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is said to be designed off of the Hell Gate Bridge over the East River (it is said that the Sydney Harbor Bridge also inspired the Bayonne Bridge).  A newer bridge across Sydney Harbour, the ANZAC Bridge, is a cable-stay bridge—which is the new trend in bridge building in New York—with the new Kosciuszko Bridge and new General Goethals Bridge also following suit with this design.  Each city is moreover known for its performing arts campuses, namely the renowned Lincoln Center in New York and the recognizable Sydney Opera House (the single-busiest performing arts campus in the world).  As each city has thankfully not been involved in war for a long time, there are buildings from different time periods in each locale (and great, historic meeting places for their city councils).

In addition to the physical similarities between the cities, both sprawling metropoles are very diverse in population, as each city is a major entry point into its respective country.  Each city has residents from all over the world as well as some of the best places to eat.  If the urban jungle is not one for visitors, each town also boasts vast natural beauty only a short train ride away (via an extensive commuter rail system).

Both New York and Sydney are leaders of their countries in many ways and full of landmarks within their own rights.  As a final superlative, both cities are linked together on one of the longest flights in the world.  This is the type of information you will learn on a Sights by Sam walking tour to see Sydney (or any city) in New York.

Your City and New York: New Orleans

The Big Easy and the Big Apple are both important cities and vacation destinations.  Aside from their similar nicknames and that they have “new” in their names, there are other similarities between these two great cities.

New Orleans and New York are both the result of European powers (the French in Louisiana and the Dutch in what would become New York) looking to profit commercially in North America.  Both New Orleans and New York owe their founding and survival to their location as ports near great rivers: the Mississippi and the Hudson Rivers.  The coastal location near oceans has made them great ports in the U.S. (the first and third largest, respectively).  This coastal location has unfortunately made them susceptible to devastating hurricanes in recent years given their dense populations.

Culturally, there is some similarity between the cities as well: both New Orleans and New York are centers of African American culture and music—notably important areas in jazz music.  Both cities are also fervent about their sports teams.  While New Orleans is known for its Mardi Gras carnival, New York is also famous for its annual West Indian Labor Day parade, which has a carnival-like atmosphere.  The cities also each attract writers, who have written about the highs and lows of city life in the Deep South and in the concrete jungle.  Even in death, both cities are home to spectacularly-designed cemeteries that are tourist attractions in their own right.

Not surprisingly, New Orleans and New York are both on the top of leisure destinations for visitors domestically and internationally.  While there are the noticeable climactic differences between these cities, their commonalities are indeed more than superficial.  This is the type of information you will learn on a Sights by Sam tour.

Your City and New York: Baltimore

Less than 200 miles from New York lies the industrial city of Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1729, there are similarities between the Empire City and the Charm City.

Like New York, Baltimore owes its growth to its port. The Port of Baltimore is the 16th largest port in the U.S. (the Port of New York-New Jersey is 3rd). While it is still very much a working port area, Baltimore (like Brooklyn) has reclaimed much of its waterfront for recreational use, such as in the Inner Harbor and the Camden Yards stadium complex. When the Inner Harbor was a functioning port, it was one of the major ports in the country that received immigrants to this country between the late 1800s and early 1900s, rivaling Ellis Island as the point of entry for many arrivals. Immigrants would arrive in the city and be processed before settling in the region or taking the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad west or the Pennsylvania Railroad north or south. As an aside on this, several streetcars preserved at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum have colored glass panes running along the top of the cars, which attempted to help immigrants who could not speak English find their way around town.

For fans of baseball, Baltimore is the origin city for the New York Yankees (who played their first two seasons in the American League as the original Baltimore Orioles before moving up north). The city also has major significance as it was the birthplace of George Herman “Babe” Ruth, the first superstar of the game. Other similarities between the two cities are the trove of Revolutionary War and War of 1812-era sites in the city. Although New York had a grand set of harbor fortifications that were prepared to repel a British assault during the War of 1812 (Castle Clinton, Castle William, and Fort Wood in New York Harbor), they are not quite as famous as Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, which secured its place in American History forever during the Battle of Baltimore—commemorated in the Star Spangled Banner. Although the merits of my next point may be debatable, Baltimore also has a unique dining scene—not only in several enclaves such as a Little Italy, Greektown, and a bar district in the charming Fells Point neighborhood near the Inner Harbor.

There are other commonalities with both cities—including devastating great fires and protests during the Civil War. If you are from the Baltimore region and would like see sights in New York that have a connection to the Charm City, you may be able to arrange this on a customized tour with Sights by Sam.

Your City and New York: Philadelphia

Since the first federal census in 1790 showed that New York was a larger city than Philadelphia, some people of the City of Brotherly Love have felt like they are in the shadow of their neighbors 90 miles to the north. Philadelphians have many reasons to be proud of their city.

Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Philadelphia would be unique among many American cities at the time for its religious tolerance and its orderly street grid (which would be replicated north of Houston Street in New York after 1811). The city is famous for being the birthplace of our country: home of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were approved. Philadelphia is also known in this era for its most famous son, Benjamin Franklin. From the foundation of our country to today, Philadelphia would become a major industrial center, attracting people from all over the country and immigrants from all over the world.

Although Philadelphia and New York may style themselves as rivals, there is more to bring them together than meets the eye. Philadelphia is a major port at the confluence of two major rivers—as is New York. Both cities have colorful histories—especially in their politics as they were both led by powerful political machines during much of the 1800s and early 1900s. Each city also has a statement museum: the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While Philadelphia was late to the skyscraper race (an informal agreement prevented buildings higher than the city hall for over fifty years), Philly has been making up for lost time with several tall buildings of note. These include One Liberty, which was inspired by the Chrysler Building. In addition, both cities are sites of an Ivy League University: the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, yet also contain a multitude of other high quality universities. Although New York may have a bigger Chinatown than Philadelphia, Philly has a bigger Little Italy in South Philadelphia in and around the Italian Market. Both cities also share a fierce devotion to their respective sports teams.

One Philadelphian who should be beloved by modern art fans is Solomon R. Guggenheim, who worked to build his modern art masterpiece museum in New York. There are many other similarities between these two great cities. If you are from Philadelphia, you can request a special tour to see sights in New York with significance to Philly on a Sights by Sam tour.

Your City and New York: Pittsburgh

Between 1735 and 1768, the First Earl of Chatham, William Pitt the Elder, was a prominent member of the British Parliament. He was known in his later years for arguing for leniency on behalf of the British American colonists after the French and Indian War. For his legacy, New Yorkers named Chatham Square, now in Chinatown, after him. Pennsylvanians named their second largest city, Pittsburgh, after him. The Steel City, located about six hours away from New York, has many interesting links to the Empire City.

Pittsburgh was founded at the confluence of the Ohio River, where the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers come together at Confluence Point. This is where Fort Pitt was established. Like the Dutch building Fort Amsterdam at the end of Manhattan, this placement gave the founders of each city command of the river and allowed for settlers to be safe from predation. Over time, Pittsburgh would become the center of steel manufacturing in the country—with a great deal of this ending up in skyscrapers in New York. The center of Pittsburgh, near the confluence, would soon be built up with skyscrapers and suspension bridges, resembling Manhattan. While Pittsburgh has suffered due to deindustrialization, it is on the upswing and becoming a great destination.

As a major manufacturing center, Pittsburgh would have great contact with New York over the years. Some of the great figures in Pittsburgh history such as Henry Frick and Andrew Carnegie would endow leading New York cultural institutions (the Frick Museum and Carnegie Hall). In terms of buildings, Pittsburgh does have many skyscrapers in its downtown, giving it a “Mini Manhattan” appearance. While this comparison may seem superficial at first, the architectural firm that built the U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, Harrison and Abramovitz, also designed significant sections of the United Nations complex and the Lincoln Center. Both cities also have great pride in their universities and hospitals. Both cities are also unique with having their own regional dialect of English.

If you are from the Pittsburgh region and want to see sights in New York that have a significant connection to Pittsburgh, please consider booking a special tour with Sights by Sam.

Your City and New York: Washington, D.C.

New York and Washington are locked in a perpetual battle to be the dominant city in the U.S.  While New York has tall buildings and a population that may be more cosmopolitan, Washington styles itself as the most powerful city in the free world given that the federal government is headquartered there.  Despite this rivalry and some of the aesthetic differences in the city (the glass towers of Midtown Manhattan versus the marble-sheathed government buildings in Washington), there are many similarities.

Both cities can claim the title as capital and have a connection to George Washington.  While Washington, DC, is obviously named for our first president (he never lived in the Federal City (he passed away before its completion), he was inaugurated as president of the United States in New York at Federal Hall (which you can see on a Sights by Sam  “Foundation of New York” tour).  The attempt to keep New York as the capital failed due to a political compromise to keep the Union together— partially proposed by New Yorker Alexander Hamilton.  Although not quite as stately as the Capitol Building in DC, the New York City Hall was a stop for Abraham Lincoln on his way to Washington from Illinois and when he returned to be buried after his assassination in 1865.

In terms of other aspects of the similarities between both cities, both Washington and New York are ordered by famous street grids that use easy to remember letters and numbers to find one’s way around (with the odd other name thrown in for good measure).  Both cities even have traffic circles in their grids—although New York counts Columbus Circle as the big one for this while there are many in Washington (lending their names to various neighborhoods).  Both cities also have world-class museums— and the Smithsonian Institution even has arms in both locations.  Washington is defined by its rivers—the Potomac and the Anacostia— while Manhattan is surrounded by three main rivers.  Each city also has a subway system that is central to the identity of natives and visitors alike.

While Washington and New York will probably be locked in combat for bragging rights and in sports rivalries until the end of time, these two cities have more similarities than immediately meet the eye.  A final point to ponder is that each city is also a magnet to people who are looking to make a mark on society or start anew.  This is the type of information you will learn on a Sights by Sam tour.

Your City and New York: Cincinnati

Being my hometown, Cincinnati will always have a special place in my heart.  It shares many things with New York.  Some of the landmarks that make New York recognizable had their dry run in Cincinnati.

Although it may seem hard to believe now, Cincinnati was once the fifth largest city in the U.S.  The city was founded along the Ohio River near the confluence of this river and the Licking (you could say it would be similar to New York in that there are three rivers in the city if Mill Creek or one of the Miami Rivers were counted).  In its industrial heyday, the city was the destination for many Germans, people from the Appalachian Mountains, and African Americans from the South.  Before deindustrialization in the 1960s and 1970s, the West End neighborhood was the most densely populated section of an American city outside of New York.  To most people, Cincinnati is famous for being the home of the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds, as well as having the most touristed museum in Ohio (the Cincinnati Museum Center), and being the setting for WKRP in Cincinnati and a stand-in for Monticello on most of The Edge of Night’s run.

In terms of the connections between New York and Cincinnati, two of the most recognizable landmarks of the city, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building, have their prototypes in Cincinnati: the Roebling Bridge (1867) and the Carew Tower (built between 1927 and 1931).  The Roebling Bridge has only two lanes, but demonstrated that the suspension bridge technology was feasible, and was the longest bridge in the world when first constructed—like the Brooklyn Bridge.  The Carew Tower was originally envisioned to anchor a Rockefeller-Center-like complex,  but the Great Depression put a stop to this plan.  Although it was not designed by the same architectural firm as the Empire State Building, the Art-Deco Carew Tower (believed to be the largest French Art Deco building in the world) was believed to be the design inspiration for the Empire State Building.  The Carew Tower was anchored by a department store and is still the site of one of the grandest hotels in the country, the Netherland Hotel.

With respect to other similarities, Cincinnati, like New York, is a treasure trove of Art Deco architecture: containing an Art Deco train station (Union Terminal), airport terminal (at Lunken Field, built around the same time as LaGuardia), and other buildings scattered throughout the area.  The designer of the Woolworth Building, Cass Gilbert, was also responsible for designing the PNC Tower (formerly the Central Trust Bank Building) in 1913.  In terms of more recent arrivals to the city, hipsters have begun to stage a Williamsburg-like transformation of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood just outside of Downtown Cincinnati.  The cities also share an equal passion for baseball—with the Cincinnati Reds having met the New York Yankees in the World Series three times (1939, 1961, and 1976).

There are many other similarities between these two great cities.  If you are from the Cincinnati region and would like to see sights in New York that have a connection to the Queen City, you may be able to arrange this through a customized tour with Sights by Sam.