Social Justice Tours
Social Justice Tours
Social Justice Tours is a nonprofit grassroots organization that engages New Yorkers in critical dialogue by exposing injustice and highlighting inequality in an effort to encourage thought and inspire action.

All public tours cost $16 per person. 10% ticket sales for both public and private tours will be donated to support the mission of a cause/organization in alignment with that tour’s subject matter. These organizations are listed in the tour descriptions below and have been chosen by our guides.

Inclusivity and accessibility is a priority for us. If you would like to take a tour but don’t have the financial means to do so, we still want to have you with us! Email us at and we can work with you to ensure you are able to join us. Alternatively, if you have the financial means to pay for the participation of another, please consider donating.

All of our tours are wheelchair accessible. If you have specific needs or concerns around accessibility, please contact us.

Any tour listed below can be booked privately. Find out more on our Private Tours page.


Public & Private Tours


Queer History of the Village


Tour Guide: Jay Toole · Start Location: Washington Square Park · 3 Hours · 2 Miles

Journey back to the queer '60s with someone who experienced it all first hand. Writer, storyteller and queer legend Jay Toole leads folks on a walking tour of the West Village, sharing personal stories and stopping at important places and historical moments along the way. Learn more about the neighborhood through stories about historic lesbian bars, the Women’s House of D (Detention), homelessness in Washington Square Park, the mafia's connection to local gay bars and much more.

Themes Covered: Prison, Homelessness, Queer Bars & Queer Bar History, Police Harassment, The Three-Piece Rule

Sites Covered: Washington Square, “House of D”, Stonewall Inn, 8th Street, Christopher Street, West Side Piers

10% of ticket sales will be donated to The Audre Lorde Project.


Reproductive Freedom in Lower Manhattan


Tour Guide: Cindy Cooper · Start Location: Broadway & Park Place · 2 Hours · 2 Miles

This tour traces the people and places in New York that have been instrumental in the fight for reproductive health, rights and justice, and the adversaries that they’ve encountered along the way. While walking through old New York, Tribeca, Soho and Greenwich Village, this tour connects the past and the present. Focusing on the 100 years from the end of the Civil War to the 1970s, the tour also looks at the universal desires for reproductive freedom and the struggles that still exist today.

Themes Covered: History & Status of Reproductive Freedom, Rights, Health & Justice, Changes in Abortion Laws, Suppression of & Access to Contraception & Birth Control, Related & Intersectional Issues of Bodily Autonomy, Maternal Mortality, Activism, Safety, Nondiscrimination, Equality, Human Rights

Sites Covered: Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony Marker, Anthony Comstock Outpost, Madame Restell Facility, New York Pharmacy, New York Hospital House of Relief, Trojan Condom & Margaret Sanger’s Diaphragm Headquarters, Illegal Abortion Meeting Site, Mid-19th Century Brothel Setting, 1910 Tenement, First Italian Catholic Church in the US, Polly’s Restaurant, Washington Square Church, Judson Memorial Church, Washington Square Park

10% of ticket sales will be donated tO THE New York Abortion Access Fund.


Women’s History of the Village


Tour Guide: Lucy Piccochi · Start Location: Broadway & Bleecker St · 2 Hours · 1.5 Miles

Even before Greenwich Village became known as the center of American Bohemianism, extraordinary women have been making their mark here with art, activism and unconventional living. During its pre-WWI heyday the Village was a magnet for feminists, and it continued to be home to women artists and entrepreneurs throughout the 20th century while also cultivating a thriving lesbian and trans community. This tour explores sites associated with some of the many fascinating women in the neighborhood, some of whom have been largely forgotten but no less played a vital role in creating the legacy of feminism we continue today.

Themes Covered: Free Love, Queer Culture & Struggle, Birth Control, Women's Suffrage, Anti-Racism, Salons & Debate Clubs, Arts & Journalism, Union Organizing, Settlement Houses, Bars & Restaurants

Sites Covered: Notable Residences, Pfaff's Beer Cellar, National Academy of Design, Triangle Factory, Washington Square, The Original Whitney, Provincetown Playhouse, Liberal/Heterodoxy Clubs, Eve Addams Tea Room, Golden Swan, Cafe Society, Romany Marie's, Women's House of Detention

10% of ticket sales will be donated tO THE New York Abortion Access Fund.


New Tour!

Rezoning & Dysplacement in Central Harlem


Tour Guide: Greg Baggett · Start Location: Frederick Douglass Circle · 2 Hours · 1.5 Miles

In the rezoning of Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem, growth and diversification—gentrification—was not imposed on an unwitting community by unscrupulous developers or opportunistic outsiders, but rather it was imposed on the community from within, from the community’s grassroots. This walking tour discusses the logic and strategy behind a plan framed within a vision of community "progress,” but it was actually a tool to weaponize competing class interest: how one public land process along a single avenue brought about change that resulted in the displacement of almost all of the area’s long-term residents and small businesses along the streets and even the neighboring avenues. Using calculators on our smartphones, the participants on this tour reckon with the deep ideological problem that prompted Harlem's political establishment, community-based organizations, middle-class, and even low-income shareholders in limited-equity cooperatives to produce outcomes that benefited the few and threatened the many.

Themes Covered: Zoning, Rezoning & Upzoning, Displacement & Dysplacement, Progress, Gentrification, Housing Development Fund Companies (HDFCs), Central Harlem South (SOHA) Controversy, Housing Loopholes: Major Capital Improvements, Individual Apartment Improvements, Preferential Rents, Vacancy Bonus, Vacancy DeControl.

Sites Covered: Frederick Douglass Circle, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, Frederick Douglass Boulevard, West 116th Street, New construction, HDFC Cooperatives, Graham Court, Row Houses, A. Philip Randolph Houses, Wadleigh Secondary High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Harlem Hebrew Language School, Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, Minton’s (formerly Minton’s) Playhouse, Central Harlem South, First Corinthian Baptist Church, A. Philip Randolph Square, HCCI preservation project, Harriet Tubman Monument 

10% of ticket sales will be donated tO The A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance.


A People’s History of Wall Street


Tour Guide: Rebecca Manski · Start Location: Bowling Green · 2 Hours 

Still wondering how Wall Street became the world capital of capitalism? Or how New York City became the place in America where the most money and the most inequity converge to this day? How about all the ways that people fought back? A couple of answers can be found at the foot of the wall erected by the very first corporation in Manhattan, the Dutch West India Company. Still more answers can be found at the dockside where abducted Africans first touched foot on Wall Street. And others can be found on the steps of Federal Hall, our first center of government, ironically constructed right across the street from the New York Stock Exchange. But the best response of all can be found in the resistance movements that converged on Wall Street to fight back every step of the way.

Occupy Wall Street may have been the first social movement in half a century to focus on “economic inequality”, but it was far from the first uprising at the heart of the capital of capitalism. Join a historian and member of the Occupy Wall Street Press Team as we undo the mystique of this infamous marketplace. We’ll be looking at New York's financial district from all angles, but especially from the ground, up. Together, let’s dig into the foundations of American capitalism from the People's point of view. 

Themes Covered: Lenape, Colonial Manhattan, Slave Uprisings, Formation of American Capitalist & Democratic Institutions, Tammany Hall, Resistance Movements



Environmental Justice in Gowanus


Tour Guide: Michael Higgins Jr. · Start Location: Union St & 4th Ave · 1.5 Hours · 1 Mile

Gowanus is an intensely contaminated community that is simultaneously undergoing multiple processes of environmental remediation and gentrification. The tour will explore these dynamics and the challenges and opportunities posed by the Gowanus Canal Superfund Clean Up, the rapid disappearance of commercial establishments and services that are affordable to low and moderate-income households and the recently announced housing authority plan to build market-rate apartments at Wyckoff Gardens. You will also learn about the Turning the Tide initiative, a multi-neighborhood effort that focuses on building social and environmental resiliency in five Brooklyn public housing developments in the face of climate change.

Sites Covered: Union Street Bridge, Gowanus Houses NYCHA development, Gowanus CSO Pumping Station, Thomas Greene Park, Lightstone Waterfront Park, Whole Foods Market Waterfront

10% of ticket sales will be donated to Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice.


Gentrification in Downtown Brooklyn


Tour Guide: Michael Higgins Jr. · Start Location: Jay St & Myrtle Ave · 2 Hours · 1.5 Miles

This tour will highlight the development that has recreated downtown Brooklyn as a result of the Downtown Brooklyn Rezoning of 2004. We will also go into political conversations around the use of the 421a subsidy to build new affordable housing and the use of eminent domain at Atlantic Yards in the construction of the Barclays Center.

Sites Covered: MetroTech Promenade, 227 Abolitionist Place (Underground Railroad stop), Myrtle Avalon Plaza, The Giovanni (formerly Associated Site), City Point (formerly Albee Square Mall), BAM Cultural District, Barclays Center & Atlantic Yards

10% of ticket sales will be donated to BAN (Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network).


Private Tours Only


A People’s History of Immigration, from New York Harbor to Little Syria


Tour Guide: Rebecca Manski · Start Location: Bowling Green · 2 Hours

Before the twin towers overtook the Lower Manhattan skyline, New York City was a different kind of world trade center, buzzing with migrants, merchants, sailors and refugees, crowding onto passenger liners and cargo ships, around pushcarts and Customs desks. What did it mean for all these people to "wait their turn in line", whether they disembarked at Ellis Island, at Castle Clinton, or before the United States ever existed? Did this nation ever have open borders?

Searching for answers, we will walk along the waterfront where more than half of America’s immigrants first disembarked and most of America’s customs revenue was generated from wares shipped by sea. Along the way we’ll excavate the ruins of the Twin Towers and rediscover a different kind of marketplace— the one at the heart of “Little Syria”, where some Mediterranean salesmen collected cargo off nearby piers and sold them in dry goods stores, and others readied to carve the first nationwide trade-routes by horse and cart. There in the last tiny remnant of New York’s first immigrant neighborhood, it will all become clear: few newcomers to America were accepted right off the boat, but each found ways to define themselves as “native” to this land, at least, relative to the next wave of immigrants! Still, what does it actually mean to be “native”, what does it mean to be an “immigrant”, and what about the many Americans who defy classification? Come down to the tip of Manhattan and let New York harbor tell you the story of who has always “belonged” in America, how that was decided, and why our immigration system came to be.

Themes Covered: Immigration, Race, Seaport Culture, Public Health, Settlement House Movement, Underground & Informal Economies, Intercultural Exchange & Conflict

10% of ticket sales will be donated to Unsettling Wall Street.


Protests & Riots in the East & West Village


Tour Guide: Lucy Piccochi · Start Location: Golden Swan Garden · 2 Hours · 2 Miles

From Greenwich Village to Alphabet City, we’ll visit the locations of some of the many protests, strikes, and riots that have rocked New York City. Looking at their causes, tactics, immediate aftermath, and long-term effectiveness, we’ll consider how publicly disrupting the civil order had succeeded or failed to achieve desired political ends, and what the broader consequences on the city’s racial and economic dynamics have been.

Themes Covered: Racism, Labor Movement, Class Conflict, Anti-War Movement, Gentrification, Police Violence, Use of Public Space

Sites Covered: Little Africa, Washington Square, NYU, Astor Place, Cooper Union, Tompkins Square

10% of ticket sales will be donated to Unicorn Riot.


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