I first learned about Bronx Tours on social media, when the founder and the brains behind the operation Alexandra Maruri commented on one of my earlier Bronx posts. Given her in-depth knowledge of the Bronx, she asserted that perhaps I could be exposed to a few diamonds in the rough. She was absolutely right and that was before I had the pleasure of visiting the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens for the first time.
Intrigued, we started a dialogue which led to us following each other’s worlds on Instagram and Twitter. It then led to conversations about foodie tours, cultural excursions and restaurants, which is when I learned about the her tours of the Bronx, which range from cultural, artistic and educational to nature, historical and food. It was Alex who recommended many of the restaurants we reviewed here on We Blog the World. Crikey, I even wrote about Fourth of July fireworks in the Bronx last July.
We had quite an eye opening time as we sampled delicious food across a number of neighborhoods over the course of six months — from the bowels of the South Bronx (we love you Charlies) and Riverdale to City Island and Arthur Avenue. The authentic Italian food on Arthur Avenue is so worth exploring. After so many successful Bronx restaurant experiences, we even ventured out and did a round up of where to find great brunch in Harlem.
What we learned in this process was how important it is to dig under the hood, to explore untamed territories — how different is that to a sentiment I subscribe to in that the gems are usually found on the road less taken? Most avid travelers will agree.
Alex is your go to gal for exploring the Bronx. She apparently came up with the idea for the Bronx Tours from working in a hotel. I particularly love her art and culture tours as there’s a wealth to learn and see from the raw talent found in the Bronx.
Now that she has been running the business for awhile, she has faced some “image” issues which isn’t surprising given how little is known about the Bronx. Remember that most travelers hang their hat in Manhattan when they hit the Big Apple, preferring to dine in Chelsea, the West Village or the upper West Side.
After all, much of the City’s theatrical performances and Broadway shows are in mid-town, but that’s also what makes it so expensive and the food often so mediocre. This interesting article in Tracy’s New York Life walks you through some of the challenges Alex has faced by representing a less known New York borough, whereas this piece in Bronx Ink on graffiti and street art will give you a taste of some of the cultural diversity you can find in the Bronx.
Her tours provide access to the following attractions and places: Wave Hill, Yankee Stadium, Bartow-Pell Mansion, New York Botanical Garden, Wildlife Conservation Society The Bronx Zoo, Lehman College Art Gallery, Hall of Fame for Great Americans, City Island Nautical Museum, Andrew Freedman Complex, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, Bronx County Historical Society, Home Bronx Council on the Arts, Bronx Documentary Center, Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Cortlandt House Museum, Former Adath Israel Temple, Wallworks NYC, Elisa Contemporary Art, Derfner Judaica Museum, Bronx Music Heritage Center and more.
Some of the specific tours include the following highlights, most of which are walking tours: (not an exhaustive list)
- Bronx Street Art Walking Tour
- El Barrio/East Harlem Cultural & Historic Walking Tour
- Salsa Row Historic Walking Tour
- Bronx Historical Walking Tour to Arthur Avenue
- Fort Apache The Bronx Walking Tour
- Bronx Sightseeing Tour to Arthur Avenue
- Arthur Avenue Little Italy, History & Pizza Group Bus Tour