Walk on the Wild Side Tours NYC is owned and operated by me, Jesse Rifkin. I've been a working musician in New York for over a decade, playing CBGB, Lincoln Center, and everywhere in between. It's been interesting.
I first began researching the lives and careers of notable musicians who had lived in this notoriously crowded and overpriced city because I wanted to see how they pulled it off. The research led me to start seeking out the locations I was reading about, and as I walked around, the narratives got a lot clearer. The end result was a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with the city I call home (and, more tangibly, a NYC tour guide license).
My hope is that these tours demystify these artistic communities and humanize the larger-than-life figures involved. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, I am not interested in hero worship, debauchery narratives, or nostalgia for its own sake. I'm interested in the music itself, the circumstances that led to its creation, and the communities that formed as a result.
Check out our rave reviews in the press and from our customers
"Rifkin… reminds visitors that these movements were the product of people making the most of their unique time and place. Hearing him speak… familiar streets begin to feel a little more alive — full of connections to be forged, of fire escapes and community gardens brimming with secrets.” - New York Times
"From Sonic Youth to Public Enemy, tour guide Jesse Rifkin’s knowledge of the city’s role in some of the biggest musical movements in the world is impressive." - amNewYork
"Offering several genre-specific tours, artist-specific outings and other custom packages, the tours wind their way through the streets of the city, revealing tales of the people, places and events that shaped modern music." - BTR Today
"Solidify your music-lover status by signing up for a walking tour of NYC that takes you to significant spots where classic album cover photos were taken, bands formed, demos were recorded and more." - Alternative Press
"Sonic Youth isn’t touring and won’t be anytime soon, but now you can at least go on a Sonic Youth tour of downtown Manhattan." - Bedford + Bowery
"...if you want to go fully immersive, learn about the world in the late ’90s and early aughts that created bands like Interpol, with the new Walk on the Wild Side Indie Rock tour. Because that’s all history now." - Grub Street