BACK TO THE FUTURE
A new company offers private tours of Manhattan in vintage cars. I mean, what will they think of next?
New York City is teeming with stories and flooded with history. It’s beautiful, and it can feel overwhelming, this cacophony of voices around us all the time.
Buildings new and old crowd in on each other, faded graffiti is replaced by advertisements which are in turn graffitied again. The tangle of what used to be, what is, and what could be gets louder and louder until it’s a constant roar. Many New Yorkers wear headphones to create a sense of privacy for themselves, but I like to walk around naked-eared, to take in the chaos of it all. Mostly it’s honks, tire screeches but occasionally you’ll be blessed with a gem, like a few days ago when I was lucky enough to overhear part of an aggravated phone conversation:
“I’m investing into my podcast, and I don’t have time for a relationship right now!”
God. Incredible. Made my entire day.
That this conversation can happen in the shadow of the Empire State Building, a majestic and historic landmark hurtling towards its 90th birthday, is an integral part of what makes the city great.
And it was this dichotomy, the rich history around me and heedless progression of time, that captivated me as the art deco facade of the Empire State building receded in the rear view window of our car, a reverie I was shaken from by a reckless pedestrian who sprinted suddenly, iPhone first, into the street to snap a picture of our car.
In his defense, it wasn’t just any car we were riding in, it was a perfectly restored 1931 Chrysler Series 70, piloted by a newsboy-cap wearing, fast talking, specially trained chauffeur/story teller. I was on a private tour with Nowaday, before it’s official launch on November 12th.
Nowaday is a brand new tour service modeled for the 21st century — luxurious but approachable, easy to book, and, I have to say, hard to forget. With Nowaday, riders arrange chauffeured tours around New York City’s most iconic sights in beautifully restored vintage cars from the 1920’s and 30’s, as drivers provide commentary and context.
With an easy to use app, Nowaday is simple to schedule, affordable, and each ride is a unique experience and appeals to visitors and locals alike.
It’s a way to understand the ever present roar of New York City — to place yourself in that delicious tension. To know that the same place an aggravated stranger raged about her podcast could be exactly where Emma Goldman rallied for workers rights.
For now, Nowaday takes passengers on a route around midtown Manhattan which includes Times Square, Grand Central, and the Flatiron building among others, but plan to create routes throughout Manhattan and the outer boroughs. And they plan to be in LA and Paris in the near future.
Tours can be scheduled on Nowaday.com, as far in advance as a year, or just a few hours. Cars hold between three and four passengers depending on the model, and tours are approximately an hour long at $50 per rider.