Museum of the City of New York

An AUDIO GUIDE for a walking tour of Gilded New York

An AUDIO GUIDE for a walking tour of Gilded New York

Walking Through History on City Streets

Take A Walk Through Gilded New York and imagine what it was like to be incredibly wealthy at the turn of the 20th century.


As you’re strolling, you’ll hear how the Astors and the Carnegies, the Fricks and the Vanderbilts, to name but a few, competed to see who could throw the most outrageous parties, build more extravagant mansions, and create lofty cultural institutions.

iPhone and iPad screenshots of home screen of the audio guide for the Gilded New York mobile app.

Principal Robin White Owen worked closely with Jessica Lautin, Associate Curator at the Museum of the City of New York, to create the mobile app, A Walk Through Gilded New York, to accompany MCNY’s ongoing exhibition, Gilded New York.


The app is full of wonderful stories about the lives of the rich and famous, and places like Tiffany’s, where they bought their jewels; Delmonico’s, where they dined; Lord & Taylor, where they shopped; and the Metropolitan Club, where they socialized.

Some of these buildings no longer exist. Some, like the Warburg mansion, have been repurposed. For example, Frieda Warburg gave their home to The Jewish Theological Seminary for the Jewish Museum. Fortunately several survive and walking from one to the other, while listening to their stories, enriches your understanding of what makes New York such a great city.

You can listen, and see scores of photographs of the original buildings and their owners, their jewels, evening gowns, and decorative objects, while you walk from place to place. Or you can sit on your couch and be an armchair traveler for an afternoon, while taking the tour of all 18 stops on your iPad.


Actress Grace Gummer narrates the tour. The app was produced by Acoustiguide and can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Fun Fact 1

Delmonico’s rival, Sherry’s, hosted one of the most talked about events of the nineteenth century: a horseback dinner at which guests rode their steeds to the restaurants and never dismounted. They were served by waiters, also on horses, who attached trays and saddles filled with champagne that the guests then drank through rubber tubes.

Fun Fact 2

At Siegel-Cooper department store, shoppers could drop their children off at daycare, explore 125 shopping departments, visit the observatory on the roof, go to a restaurant, see a dentist, deposit a check and send a telegraph, all in one place!

Fun Fact 3

Jewelry was an essential status symbol for the city’s rich during the Gilded Age and the tiara was the most highly regarded. Yet Consuelo Vanderbilt complained that her bejeweled dog collar chafed her neck, and that her heavy tiara gave her a violent headache.

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    Audio, History, Mobile tour