Leigh is a licensed New York City tour guide who specializes in Harlem, Morningside Heights,  the Upper West Side and Washington Heights. She is passionate about exploring all five NYC boroughs and beyond on foot, mostly through organized walking tours. Leigh holds Masters degrees in both Social Work and Library Service. She is retired from a 36-year career as a non-profit librarian. Leigh was inducted into the Special Libraries Association Hall of Fame in 2017. She loves doing research about the neighborhoods in which she gives tours and sharing the information about them with attendees. Leigh is a feminist, collector, genealogist, and lover of arts, culture, and travel. After residing in the suburbs of NYC for many years, she now loves living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 


Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. BA in Political Science

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Masters in Social Work

Columbia University, New York, NY. Masters in Library Service

Special Tours:

Leigh specializes in walking and virtual tours of Harlem, Morningside Heights, the Upper West Side, and Washington Heights:

*Audubon Bird Mural Project in Hamilton Heights. This exciting and evolving Project is gradually adding paintings of about 300 North American birds to the walls of the neighborhood. The murals range from lovely panels that fill in a former window to spectacular paintings covering the entire side of a building. We also visit John James Audubon’s impressive gravesite in the Trinity Church Cemetery. Also available as a one-hour virtual tour.

*Harlem. We visit iconic locations such as the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Apollo Theater, Harlem Hospital murals, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 125th Street, and the statues of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Mother Clara Hale. We also explore landmarked neighborhoods such as Astor Row, Mount Morris Park, and Strivers Row. As we walk, we enjoy the beautiful architecture and wide boulevards of Harlem. Also available as a one-hour virtual tour.

*Spanish Harlem (AKA  East Harlem or El Barrio). The many colorful murals and mosaics of East Harlem tell us so much about the history, culture, and politics of this neighborhood and its residents. Some murals include scenes of the tropical Caribbean islands from which many members of this community emigrated to New York. Other murals are dedicated to accomplished citizens of East Harlem or honor people who are famous world-wide such as Che Guevara and Celia Cruz. Also available as a one-hour virtual tour.

*Morningside Heights. We see Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Manhattan School of Music, and two theological seminaries. Also, two iconic New York churches: Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Riverside Church. And we walk through both Morningside Park and Sakura Park. Finally, there is the impressive tomb of Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War General and later U.S. President.

*Upper West Side. We explore the vast transformation of 2 parts of the neighborhood: Lincoln Center (former residential neighborhood "San Juan Hill") and Riverside South (former NY Central freight railroad yards). Along the way we stop at two major monuments to the American Civil Rights Movement. And we will see some wonderful parts of vintage New York including a horse trough, a rare Dutch style church, and an 1894 firehouse. We will learn more about two great Upper West Side museums: the American Museum of Natural History and the New-York Historical Society. Also available as a one-hour virtual tour.

*Washington Heights. With Washington Heights finally getting the recognition that it deserves (thanks mainly to its most famous resident Lin-Manuel Miranda), this a perfect time to take a walk “In the Heights.” This neighborhood has so much to offer including: great venues like the Audubon Ballroom and the United Palace Theater; important universities including Columbia and Yeshiva; historic churches and synagogues; great murals; Art Deco architecture; the world's busiest bridge; and a vibrant Latin culture created by the largest Dominican population outside of the Dominican Republic. Also available as a one-hour virtual tour.




Weekdays and weekends

Services Offered:

Tour Guide

Tours Offered:

Harlem Manhattanville/West Harlem Upper West Side Walking Tours Virtual and Online Tours African American History Art & Architectural Tours

Featured Tours by Leigh Hallingby