People’s Heritage Tours
Ordinary people who made extraordinary history
People’s Heritage Tours conducts high-level educational walking tours of New York City neighborhoods, highlighting the significant events and the lives of ordinary people who strove to improve their communities and the City, and who impacted the country and beyond.
What is this about?
Women, immigrants, youth, people of color, queer people, artists, intellectuals and working people all have histories of standing up against oppression, and building institutions and movements that made improvements for others as well.
Their legacies survive in their testimony, their art, the products of their labor, the stories they told, and the stories we tell.
We walk the streets to reveal the stories of past struggles, injustices, and victories, and we reveal the evidence of historic events and social movements sitting in plain sight.
People’s Heritage Tours partners with community-based organizations that continue the legacy of work done by people and institutions over the course of New York City’s history. A portion of every ticket sold goes to our partner organizations.
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Tour:
On Saturday, March 25, 1911 at the end of the work day, a fire began on the 8th floor of the Triangle Garment Factory. Within thirty minutes, 146 of the 500 workers laboring on floors eight, nine, and ten would die. Most were young immigrant women who had gone on strike the year before, complaining of low pay, long hours, unsanitary conditions, dangerous fires, locked doors, and harassing supervisors. That tragedy provoked outrage, union movement building, and led to political reform in New York and states around the country, eventually influencing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation of the 1930s.
In collaboration with Labor Arts (laborarts.org) and the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition (rememberthetrianglefire.org), Dr. Daniel Katz, will lead a tour beginning at Cooper Union at Astor Place, proceeding to the NYU Brown building on Washington Place, the site of the fire, and up to Union Square, where the social justice legacy of the fire continued for a century. A portion of every ticket sold will go toward building the Triangle Fire memorial now under construction at the site of the first.
Our Next Tour Is
To be announced shortly
[ 12PM – 2PM ]
The tour is $40, lasts 2 hours and covers about 2 miles. But there’s limited room, so book as soon as you can!
Walking Tour Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Uprising of 20,000 Garment Workers in New York’s Chinatown
In 1982, a strike — involving upwards of 20,000 Chinese immigrant women workers in hundreds of garment factories in Manhattan’s Chinatown — revived the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and turned the tide of sweatshop labor for a generation. Members of ILGWU Local 23-25 led the strike, just as their Jewish and Italian sisters had seventy years earlier. Labor Arts and People’s Heritage Tours are conducting a walking tour to commemorate that moment in which yet another group of young immigrant women defied the low expectations of male union leaders and manufacturers to organize and fight against the conditions under which they were forced to work.
The tour will begin at the statue of Confucius at Confucius Plaza and walk to Columbus Park, the site of two mass rallies that electrified the city. The tour will continue through the neighborhood to visit the site of garment factories and other key places in the story of labor activism and community building. Along the way, we will meet veterans of the Chinese American labor movement of the 1980s. The tour will begin promptly at noon, rain or shine. The cost is $25. Portions of each ticket will go to Labor Arts.
Our Next Tour Is
Saturday May 21st
[ 12PM – 1PM ]
The tour is $25, lasts 1 hour and covers about 1 mile. But there’s limited room, so book as soon as you can!
Who we are
Meet your guide
Daniel Katz, Ph.D.
Founder and Chief Historian
People’s Heritage Tours was founded by Daniel Katz, Ph.D., who serves as the Chief Historian. Dr. Katz teaches history at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and he is the author of All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism and and co-editor of Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America. A licensed New York City tour guide, he has developed and conducted walking history tours for more than 30 years.
Co-Developer of the Chinatown Uprising Tour
May Ying Chen
May Ying Chen was a leader of Chinese garment workers during and after the events of 1982. She is an American labor organizer and advocate for immigrant workers. Before retiring in 2009, she was an officer and founding member of the AFL-CIO’s Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), and the International Vice President of UNITE HERE.
We are proud to partner with these social justice organizations that keep alive the memory of the people and the movements that built New York and the country.