“Mrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of New York City” by On Location Tours–Review by Andrea Santo Felcone

Fans of the popular Amazon series, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, which follows Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a Jewish wife and mother through her journey to become a stand-up comic, know how meticulously detailed Midge’s world is. Her story takes place in the late 1950s mainly in New York City. What stands out for viewers is how beautifully-produced this fictional world is, with its vintage jewel colors, gorgeous costumes, and lighting. No doubt much care is taken under the leadership of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her partner/showrunner husband Daniel Palladino (both known for The Gilmore Girls) to get the details exactly as needed to create a believable period comedy-drama.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Tour

Our tour guide, Ally, recreating a scene from the butcher shop in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. Photo credit: Rachel Santo.

If you have ever wanted to step foot inside this world, now you have your chance. You can take a cleverly conceived, new tour, brought to you by On Location Tours. What becomes apparent on their “Mrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of New York City” is just how much New York City itself breathes life into the show. If the show is a love letter to New York City, then New York City loves “Mrs. Maisel” right back. Many of the New York City locations where the show is filmed have remained untouched by time—perhaps making it a bit easier to keep the continuity of the late 1950s.

On this tour, participants mainly travel by bus to various filming locations, although there is some walking. (It’s about 10% walking, and the bus is always nearby for anyone who wishes to remain seated.) The tour begins in front of what used to be the B. Altman department store (where Midge worked at the make-up counter). This building now serves the CUNY community (on 34th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison). Although CUNY signage was not visible, it didn’t matter with our tour guide (self-billed as “The Marvelous Mrs. Ally”) waiting in her divine vintage outfit. It was clear you were in the right spot once you saw her. Our bus exceeded expectation–very comfortable and equipped with a bathroom and some screens to view “Mrs. Maisel” clips–as Ally provided interesting tidbits.

Our Tourguide Ally, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tour

Our Tour Guide, Ally, in her vintage 1950s best. Photo credit: Rachel Santo.

The first detail that stood out was that Amy Sherman-Palladino’s father, and his stories, served as much of the inspiration for this series, as he was a stand-up comic in NYC and The Catskills. One would assume it was the likes of Joan Rivers or Phyllis Diller that served as the model for Midge Maisel, but that was only part of the inspiration. Ally, a true fan herself, sprinkled in some Maisel-esque humor as she imparted the tour information.

The bus stops at some of your favorite characters’ haunts throughout Gramercy, the NYU Campus-area, and Greenwich Village. You’ll have time to peek into Old Town Bar—one of the oldest bars in the City–where everyone knows they can reach Joel (Midge’s husband) since it’s his home away from home. Later, there will be a stop at McSorley’s Old Ale House, if you’d prefer the charm of sawdust on the floor. There’s also time to grab a cappuccino (to go) at Caffé Reggio, the West Village coffee shop where Abe meets his lawyer. (Fun fact: Caffé Reggio was the first café to serve cappuccinos in NYC.) During this tour, there’s no time for sitting down to a drink or a snack, just a quick grab and go, but that was all that was needed.

Old Town Bar, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Tour

One stop on the Mrs. Maisel Tour. Photo credit: Rachel Santo.

The locations on the tour were mainly used as exterior shots, as many of the interiors were sets built in Brooklyn. You’ll notice this especially when you visit Music Inn where Susie Myerson (Midge’s manager) and Midge find the bootleg recording of Midge’s act. The interior of the actual music store is tiny and covered floor-to-ceiling in a fascinating array of instruments and trinkets. At one point, we cruised by the old Gaslight Café where Midge performed her stand-up.

My favorite stop, by far, was the butcher shop featured in the iconic, “We got the Rabbi!” scene. In truth, the butcher shop “Albanese Meats and Poultry” is not kosher, so the name was changed for filming. When you walk into Albanese, it’s like walking through time. The elderly owner, Moe, sits in the corner, smiling, greeting you, with an old record player in front of him. We were told, if you ask, he’ll play a record while you select which meat you’d like. I had to smile when he prompted his granddaughter, the butcher, to ask what we’d like: “Grandpa, they’re on the bus tour, they don’t want to order any meat right now.” (I’m pretty sure the twinkle in his eye indicated he knew as much, but was just being a good host.) You could definitely picture Midge and her mother coming here to purchase their weekly brisket.

Although I enjoyed the bus ride, I preferred walking along the streets (we were gifted with mild end-of-December weather). What made walking especially fun was the conversations with other participants, since the bus was mainly reserved for listening to tour information. My sister and I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman and Ally about Midge and her parenting. Her seeming lack of maternal care and warmth has come under criticism from modern-day viewers, and Ally was able to provide some insight based on her research. You could tell Ally has done her homework and is a big fan of this popular web series.

Washington Square Park, Mrs. Maisel Tour

Washington Square Park, one stop on the tour. Photo credit: Rachel Santo.

Sherman-Palladino has said of Midge’s world, “It’s just a world we wanted to hang out in for a while, so we made it up.” (Interview with Town & Country). After having “traveled back in time” to this world, with the expertise of On Location Tours, it’s easy to see why someone would want to drink up as much of this sweet New York City nostalgia as possible.

To reserve your tour: https://onlocationtours.com/new-york-tours/mrs-maisels-marvelous-tour-of-new-york-city/. The price is $52.00/per person. Tours run Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, starting at 12 noon, lasting for approximately 2.5 hours. Participants are encouraged to dress in vintage attire (one couple dressed up on our tour and they looked fabulous). Comfortable shoes recommended. You may also want to bring a little extra cash to tip your tour guide and bus driver.


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Note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means we receive a small commission should you book a tour.  It helps to offset the expense of running MotherhoodLater.com.  The opinions of our reviewer are her own.

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  1. One Response to ““Mrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of New York City” by On Location Tours–Review by Andrea Santo Felcone”

  2. Spot-on review! My sincere thanks to the Fabulous Mrs. Felcone :)

    By Rachel Santo on Jan 2, 2020