In Person: Crime Tour of the Lower East Side
Taught by The History Couple
Jonathan and Alex are THE HISTORY COUPLE, and they have been giving tours in NYC since 2014, sharing the stories they love and bringing history to life.
Their love story began in NYC in 2012 when they met as actors and fell in love playing opposite one another in William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.” Inseparable since then, they have continued to inspire one another to pursue their mutual passion for education and history. They developed THE HISTORY COUPLE and its series of tours out of their passion to make the history of NYC come alive in engaging and entertaining ways.
Alex and Jonathan have backgrounds in theater and education, which makes every tour with THE HISTORY COUPLE a thought-provoking, engaging and fun experience. They love to hear your questions and ideas which makes every tour unique. THE HISTORY COUPLE keeps all tour groups small so that each visitor feels comfortable, at ease, and invited to participate.”
Alex grew up the daughter of a diplomat, always moving from one country to another but found her home in Brooklyn. She moved to NYC in 2006 and found that the city fueled her passion for history, education and storytelling. Alex decided to start her own business with her husband, Jonathan, out of their mutual love for the city and sharing its stories together.
Alex has two Master’s degrees: one in History, and one in Education. She is a Certified NYC Sightseeing Guide. Her background in Universal Design Learning (UDL), differentiated learning, and facilitation helps her to create tours that are specialized to every patron. When she is not running THE HISTORY COUPLE, she is an elementary school teacher in NYC. Prior to being a classroom teacher, Alex worked at New York City Children’s Theater (NYCCT), where she was their Associate Director of Education. She was also the Vice-Chair of the Museum, Arts and Culture Access Consortium (MAC) which is dedicated to accessibility and inclusivity for all. Additionally, Alex was an Education Specialist at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and a Senior Educator and Costumed Interpreter at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum where she learned how to tell textured stories of immigration history as both a teacher and as an actress. Alex also holds a BA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College.
Jonathan is a native of Bar Harbor, which is located on an island off the coast of Maine. He had never imagined that New York would ever be a place he would live, but the stars aligned, and now here he is, loving every minute of it. Jonathan has been living in Brooklyn since 2011 and his love for history has only grown in that time. He decided to start his own walking tour business with his wife, Alex, out of their shared love for New York and its incredible history.
Jonathan holds two Master's degrees: one in History and one in Cultural Arts Administration. He is a Certified NYC Sightseeing Guide. His history Master's thesis was on Coney Island's obsession with staging large-scale disasters in the early twentieth century. When not giving tours for their business, he is the Assistant Director of Programs at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Prior to Gilder Lehrman, he was the Director of Education at Edge Studio, a facility that offers the most comprehensive professional voice over training program in the world. He was also the Manager of Education at the South Street Seaport Museum, where he created new programming for school groups K-12, developed events for families, and also went sailing from time to time (but was terrible at it). Before the South Street Seaport Museum, Jonathan worked as a Senior Educator at the New-York Historical Society and as a Costumed Interpreter at the New York Transit Museum, inspiring NYC public school children to learn more about their incredible city. He also holds a BA in Theater from St. Michael’s College.
Corrupt politicians. Crooked cops. Gangsters so terrifying that they’re known only as “Murder, Incorporated.” These are the men and women that have made New York City’s underworld the stuff of legend. But there is so much more to this legend than you’ve ever heard. Why is it that New York has had such a violent past? What drove these people to a life of crime? This is the story of a broken and corrupt system and the clever individuals smart enough to exploit it.
On this walking tour, you’ll explore Lower Manhattan where we’ll discuss the orphan street gangs that evolved into mafia, con men and bank robbers so rich they rubbed elbows with the Vanderbilt’s, gun fights that would make the Wild West blush, and the politicians that profited from it all. You’ll visit the old Five Points District, Chinatown, the Bowery, and of course the Lower East Side. Let us show you how New York’s crime history began.
The tour meets at the corner of Chambers and Centre Streets in Manhattan.