Witches of Old New York

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Fortune tellers, mystics, and clairvoyants populate this bewitching walking tour

Discover the dime-museum magic and front-parlor palmistry that abounded in the Lower East Side from the mid 19th to early 20th century.

Fortune tellers, mystics, and clairvoyants populate this bewitching walking tour of one of Manhattan’s most diverse neighborhoods. Often immigrants and housewives, these outsider entrepreneurs supported themselves by means of astrology, spiritual readings, tarot, and palmistry; some were serious about their occult learning, others were simply trying to augment their income.

We’ll visit the locations where they lived and worked, and learn about the Jewish mystic whose funeral was attended by a crowd of 10,000 people, an African American occultist living in the Five Points in the 1850s (who was New Age way ahead of his time), an infamous guide to the city’s fortune tellers written in 1858 called “The Witches of New York” (many of whom resided on Broome Street!) and the strange fate that befell its author, plus much more!

Note: This tour operates during the months of May through June, and then again from September to November.

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Tour at a Glance
Start Location:

Sara D. Roosevelt Park, at the intersection of Forsyth and Rivington Sts.

End Location:

Approximately a 15-minute walk from the starting point

Tour Duration:

2 hours

Tour Run Dates:

May - November

Important Information


Important Information


  • Comfortable shoes
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Cash (or your preferred app, i.e. Venmo) if you want to tip your guide


  • Pets
  • Drugs and/or alcohol
  • Film/photography/recording equipment without prior permission


  • Tours run rain or shine, so dress appropriately for the weather! (See our advice here)
  • Wear comfortable shoes! Most of our tours are at least a mile in length.
  • In the event of extreme or severe weather conditions, this tour may be amended or postponed; if postponed you will be given a rain check to take another tour at your convenience.
  • There are no bathroom breaks or rest stops on the tour.
  • Tours start on time, so please try to get to the meeting point 15 minutes early to give yourself time to check in and get comfortable before the tour starts.