Like many New Yorkers, Michelle and James Nevius each originally hail from elsewhere. Michelle was born and raised in the Baltimore area, and James lived in spots around the world as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Utah.
They met in college (though technically, in different colleges-Michelle at Columbia, where she was working on a degree in Art History & Archaeology; James at NYU, where he studied English and American literature) and began exploring the city together. What started as a hobby soon became a passion and, ultimately, a vocation.
While pursuing her graduate degrees at Columbia (from which she holds two Masters Degrees), Michelle taught Art History to Columbia undergraduates and at Hunter College, CUNY. Her studies, which began in ancient world, eventually brought her to focus on the art and architecture of New York City. James’ interest in the city’s past began as a personal one: he is a “Knickerbocker” (a descendant of the original Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam) and an 11th-generation New Yorker. One ancestor, Johannes Nevius, was the last City Secretary of New Amsterdam and, after the English takeover, the first Secretary of New York. Another ancestor, Johannes Polhemus, was the pastor of the first church in Brooklyn.
Michelle Nevius Tours (http://www.walknyc.com) launched in 2000 to provide in-depth tours of New York City neighborhoods. Four itineraries (Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, Central Park, and the Lower East Side) soon expanded to cover most of the island of Manhattan, from Harlem to the Financial District, as well as the area just across the East River in Brooklyn Heights. Every tour is a mix of architecture, history, art, and culture, with a focus on uncovering hidden history and pointing out intriguing facts and stories along the way that might not be readily apparent to the casual visitor.
Michelle and James are also the authors of Frommer’s 24 Great Walks in New York (known in Europe as New York: History & Mystery) and their most recent book, Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers (Lyons Press).
Inside the Apple
A Streetwise History of New York City
by Michelle Nevius and James Nevius