Most New Yorkers don’t visit tourist attractions unless they’re showing a visitor around. After taking a family friend on just such a jaunt—a double-decker bus ride, no less—Heather Stupi realized how limited tour options were. “I thought there had to be something better,” she says, “but there really wasn’t.”
Looking around Manhattan’s early-20th-century landmarks—Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building, the New York Public Library—gave Stupi and Jaime Getto, both former tech entrepreneurs, an idea: Why not offer tours of these historic sites in period-appropriate automobiles?
Stupi and Getto raised funds to purchase 12 classic cars—Fords, Buicks, Chevrolets, and Chryslers, all originally built between 1928 and 1934—for their tour company, Nowaday. “These are the cars that were on the road at the time,” Stupi says. “It connects you to that history.”
In truth, the cars aren’t exactly the same, as they’ve been fitted with modern engines, suspensions, and seats (because no one really wants to feel what it was like to bounce over cobblestones 100 years ago). Drivers wearing three-piece suits and newsboy hats serve as guides, and during the hourlong ride they share fun facts: Did you know that 50,000 people showed up for the grand opening of the New York Public Library? Or that the Empire State Building holds an annual contest for the chance to get married on the Observation Deck on Valentine’s Day?
“We want it to be cool enough,” Stupi says, “that if you’re a local, you’ll still want to do it.”
One-hour tours $50 per person, up to four people, nowaday.com