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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Approximately how long are the tours?
  2. Why would I take a tour with the Conservancy over another touring company?
  3. Do I book in advance?
  4. Do the tours still happen on rainy days?
  5. What size group can you accommodate?
  6. Do you have to be Jewish to take a tour with the Conservancy?
  7. What age do you recommend for your tours?
  8. Must I be a tourist to take this tour?
  9. How many different tours do you offer?
  10. How do I pay?
  11. What method of payment do you prefer?
  12. Do I tip the guide?
  13. How much walking is involved on your tours?
  14. Are restrooms available during the tour?
  15. Is parking available?
  16. Is photography permitted during a tour?
  17. Can I purchase a tour for someone other than myself?
  18. Do I need a head covering when entering a synagogue?
  19. Is there a dress code required by the Conservancy?
  20. Is food served on the tour?
  21. Can you suggest restaurants/hotels to us?
  

1. Approximately how long are the tours?

Tours run approximately 2 ½ to 3 hours.

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2. Why would I take a tour with the Conservancy over another touring company?

The LESJC prides itself in being the only touring organization that has a relationship with all the synagogues that are left on the Lower East Side, and is therefore able to take you inside of them. In addition, as a historic preservation organization, a portion of the proceeds of your tour goes directly to the sites you visit.

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3. Do I book in advance?

Yes. Our tours are customized private tours that are set up in advance.

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4. Do the tours still happen on rainy days?

Yes. We operate rain or shine, so please dress accordingly.

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5. What size group can you accommodate?

We have given tours comprised of one person, and as large as 100.

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6. Do you have to be Jewish to take a tour with the Conservancy?

Absolutely not! We talk about history and everyone of every religion can learn about history. We just focus on the Jewish immigrant experience on the Lower East Side, though we discuss other immigrant groups that passed through the neighborhood.

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7. What age do you recommend for your tours?

6th grade and up.

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8. Must I be a tourist to take this tour?

No way! Native New Yorkers love our tours! In fact, they make up the majority of our visitors.

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9. How many different tours do you offer?

The Conservancy offers nine different public tours. We encourage you to come back again and again to take them all (we have many such repeat visitors) as each tour is different.

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10. How do I pay?

Private group tours: Depending on the size of your group, we usually ask you to send in or charge a deposit when the tour is booked. Final payment is paid to the guide on the day of the tour. Payments can be made by check or online at our Private Tours page.

Public Tours: The recommended form of payment is to use the Add to Cart buttons next to the tour on the Event Calendar page. You do not need a PayPal account to make payments online. Alternately, you can call our office and arrange payment.

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12. What method of payment do you prefer?

We accept major credit cards, cash, check or money order. Payments can be made online at our Pay Online page.

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13. Do I tip the guide?

We leave that entirely up to your discretion. If you’ve enjoyed your tour, the guide appreciates a tip, but it is not expected or necessary.

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14. How much walking is involved on your tours?

It depends on which tour you choose. Some entail more walking than others. All tours can be done by bus. Our guides can talk while you are being driven from site to site, instead of the traditional walking tour. You should be aware that almost all of our synagogue sites require walking steps, since they are 19th century buildings.

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15. Are restrooms available during the tour?

We can provide you with bathroom facilities on almost every tour. We are never far from restaurants where facilities can be found.

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16. Is parking available?

Parking is available on the streets. Meters frequently available. Groups with buses of mini-vans must let us know in advance if they would like to park in the BID lot, so that we can make arrangements.

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17. Is photography permitted during a tour?

Absolutely. We encourage you to bring your camera and take lots of pictures.

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18. Can I purchase a tour for someone other than myself?

Yes. It happens frequently. We are happy to provide you with a personalized LESJC gift certificate for the recipient.

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19. Do I need a head covering when entering a synagogue?

We request that boys and men wear either kippot (yarmulkes), a hat or baseball cap during synagogue visits. Most shuls provide kippot, but to be safe, we suggest you bring your own. Girls and women do not need head coverings.

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20. Is there a dress code required by the Conservancy?

You will be entering synagogues on most tours. Therefore, we request that you do not wear halter tops or very short skirts or shorts.

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21. Is food served on the tour?

Unless previously arranged, our customized group tours do not provide food. Tours often conclude with a visit to Kossar’s Bialys, The Pickle Guys, Economy Candy, or Guss’ Pickles so you can experience a taste of the Lower East Side as well as its sights and sounds.

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22. Can you suggest restaurants/hotels to us?

Most definitely. We can provide you with a GO EAST GUIDE, which is a shopping and dining guide provided by our friends at the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. We are here to make your visit to the Lower East Side, as well as New York City, as convenient and fulfilling as possible.

Visit our Community Links page for other helpful suggestions.

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Your depth of knowledge of absolutely everything related to the Lower East Side -- and to the Jewish community in general -- was astounding!" -- F.B.
"The recent trip to the Lower East Side was wonderful. The docents provided by the Conservancy were well informed and most professional." -- R.G.

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