Introducing GANYC guide Gordon Polatnick of his own company: Big Apple Jazz Tours
How long have you been a tour guide?
What time of year would you consider your busy season?
Spring and early Fall.
What drove you to become a tour guide or tour operator or create this company?
I was a born tour guide, i.e. a know-it-all show off, who loved jazz but hated going to jazz clubs alone every night. I started my website www.bigapplejazz.com first before starting the tour company, in the days before they were called blogs. I went around discovering all the off-the-beaten-path as well as the legendary clubs and formed an online directory of about 200 places to hear live jazz in the city. This soon became a place to advertise tours to these clubs and after the first client took the bait I was thrilled to try to get a second client. That was 20 years ago. Now we offer multiple tours every night.
What is the most gratifying part of your work?
I love filling a niche. There are only a relative handful of people coming to NY to experience it as the jazz capital of the world, but those who are a little bit curious to those who are certifiably interested all find me ready, willing and able to show them the best that NY has to offer -- particularly in the below-the-radar, insider's scene. I also have to admit that being able to show off the Harlem jazz scene as the warmest and friendliest part of this city against all expectations for the past 20 years, is also very gratifying.
What types of tours do you offer?
Step-on guide work as well as regularly advertised jazz walking tours to Harlem and the Village.
Do you offer Niche Tours?
Jazz Tours are my specialty. Particularly, a nightly public walking tour to 3 hidden Harlem jazz clubs and historic sites called Harlem Juke Joint Tour, and a similar one to the Village called Greenwich Village Jazz Crawl. I also love doing customized itineraries for school groups, businesses, families and couples with a jazz bent - and offer those private tours during the day and night.
Have you or your company received any awards?
We were recognized by the Harlem Arts Alliance with a certificate of appreciation for helping to keep jazz alive when we ran a jazz emporium in Harlem with daily live shows starting at 2PM.
Have you or your company been featured in print, broadcast (tv or radio) or online media?
I have several I can share:
On and off for two decades.
How did you hear or learn about GANYC?
Other guides doing student tours.
How has GANYC helped you and your business?
I met some great guides who I've worked with over the years.
What's your advice or Tour Guide tip you love to share to people visiting New York?
With a little bit of homework you can find someone who is passionate about the things that interest you most, and they will help you have an intimate, immersive experience that you wouldn't think possible.