Podcast & Blog

  1. Between Map and Territory: The Art of the Tour Guide


    Our own Matthew Baker brings us this video, by Lance Strate of the Society of General Semantics, of a great discussion held earlier this year, entitled "Between Map and Territory: The Art of the Tour Guide".

    In addition to Mr. Baker, the panel also featured several other esteemed GANYC members: Robin Garr, Ibrahima Diallo, Kristin Singleton-Ferrari, and Lee Gelber.

    We are proud to have participated in this event.
     



     

     

  2. Safety Tips for Pedestrian Tourists


    From Manhattan to Staten Island: Safety Tips for Pedestrian Tourists

    Whether you’re a lifelong resident of New York City or try to visit a few times a year, it probably comes as no surprise that over 60 million tourists visit one of the cities that “never sleeps.” From Manhattan to Staten Island, each borough has plenty of places to discover, miles of pavement to cover, and the easiest way to get around is often on foot.

    Although walking around NYC is one of the most common ways to get around, as well as the perfect opportunity for sightseeing, New York isn’t always the most pedestrian-friendly city. Each year fatal accidents involving a pedestrian occur in every borough.

    Every New York City pedestrian, from residents to tourists and tour guides, can benefit from some tips on how to navigate the city more safely on foot.

    Be Aware of The Most Dangerous Intersections in Each Borough

    Each borough and every crosswalk or intersection can be potentially hazardous for pedestrians, but if you make yourself aware of some of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians, you might be able to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.

    East Houston Street at 1st Avenue, in Manhattan, had five collisions involving a pedestrian in the last year to date. Getting to know the more dangerous intersections can prompt you to be more aware and pay attention before crossing the street.

    Be On The Lookout For Fast Cars

    25 miles per hour may not seem fast when you’re sitting behind the wheel of the car, but it can be a life-threatening speed for pedestrians. In 2014, New York lowered the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph, and despite the years since the law has been in place, some New Yorkers fail to stay within the speed limit, and pedestrian deaths continue.

    Always make sure it’s your right of way and that no motorists are speeding, trying to run the red light before you decide to cross the street. It’s also important to make sure that you, as the pedestrian, don’t dart out in front of oncoming traffic, hoping to cross quickly, as it can be difficult to gauge how fast cars are going.

    Avoid Walking During Rush Hour

    While driving in NYC, during rush hour, seems like a bad idea, this time of day can be hazardous for pedestrians, too, particularly in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

    Whether you’re planning a walking tour or just want to run a few errands, the safest times of day to walk are mid-day hours during the work week (Monday thru Friday) and during the daytime hours on the weekend. While these times are less dangerous than other times during the day or week, you should always exercise caution whichever borough you’re walking in.

    Watch Out For Distracted Drivers

    Distracted driving is a nationwide problem, and NYC is no exception. A distracted driver is one of the most common contributing factors in pedestrian accidents in all five boroughs. Although it’s up to a driver to be more responsible behind the wheel, don’t forget to ditch your distractions when you’re crossing the street.

    For more safety tips for pedestrians, check out the complete guide, filled with recent data, which was specifically created for pedestrians of New York City.
     

    [Guest post. Author: Landon Biehl]

  3. GANYC Announces Brian Stokes Mitchell as host of 4th-Annual GANYC Apple Awards

    The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC)  is proud to announce that TONY Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell will host the 4th Annual GANYC Apple Awards on March 12, 2018 at the SVA Theater. The Apple Awards celebrate those who make New York City great. Over a dozen awards are given out to individuals & organizations who’ve shown exceptional commitment to improving our city and our experience as tour guides.

    The New York Times dubbed our esteemed host “the last leading man”. Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime.

    An extremely versatile singer, Stokes has performed at venues all over the country spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds. He has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in South Pacific opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. He has twice been invited to perform at the White House and has sung for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

    Stokes has delved deeply into various music disciplines. His musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his own albums including his last release, Simply Broadway.

    His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on Roots: The Next Generations which lead to a 7-year stint on Trapper John, MD. His 40-year long TV/Film run continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’ Great Performances to Frasier, The Prince of Egypt (singing “Through Heaven’s Eyes”), Glee, Jumping the Broom, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, Bull and Elementary. For the past 2 seasons he has had recurring roles on Mr. Robot and Hulu’s The Path. As a voice-over artist he has portrayed dozens of characters on animated TV episodes. NPR aired his narration of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the U.S. Marine Band.

    As a writer Stokes has contributed to the book Hirschfeld’s Harlem, wrote the preface to At This Theatre, and co-authored the children’s book Lights on Broadway.

    Stokes has received a number of awards for both his charitable and artistic work including the New Dramatist’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Actors Fund Julie Harris Award, Canada’s Dora Mavor Moore Award (The Canadian “Tony”), and the Americans for the Arts Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award. In 1998 he joined the likes of Helen Hayes, Sir John Gielgud, Alec Guinness and James Earl Jones when he became the sole recipient of the Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League, the nation’s oldest theatrical honor, for his performance in Ragtime. In November of 2016, he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

    Stokes is a great proponent of arts education and speaks passionately about the importance of art in all of our lives. Last year he was the entertainment host at the first night of Lincoln Center’s Global Exchange and is a board member of Americans For The Arts, a non-partisan arts lobbying organization. He has enjoyed working with numerous other charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO. Stokes has been the Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund for the last 14 years and last year received the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for his work with that organization.

    Previous hosts include the incomparable, “Mr. Show Business”, Mark Nadler and the stars of the Off-Broadway hit How to Be a New Yorker, Kevin James Doyle and Olivia Petzy.

    To learn more about the GANYC Apple Awards, visit http://www.ganyc.org/2018-ganyc-apple-awards

  4. GANYC Guides In The News!

    We love seeing our member guides representing our community to the media world, and we had two great examples this week.

    First, our own Emma Guest-Consales was on NY1 this afternoon to discuss some of the superstitions surrounding the number 13. A fantastic interview! You can watch the video on our Facebook page.

    Also, Amada Anderson sat down with YesBroadway to show off some of her spooky, fun seasonal Broadway tour offerings. If interested in the Haunted Broadway tour, you can check our member calendar... it is offered as a FAM Tour on October 27! Video of Amada's interview is also on our Facebook page.

    If you are a GANYC member and have been featured in the media, please contact us and let us know... we'd love to spotlight you! Previous features of GANYC guides in the news can be found here, here, and here.
     

  5. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Dmitri Sassov

    Introducing GANYC guide Dmitri Sassov!


    Website: NYC with Dmitri

    Email

    Facebook

    =====================================

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    21 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    May-June, August-September.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I started as a ticket seller for New York Double Decker Tours where I learned about the city and the industry and decided to become a tour guide myself.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Custom tours, Walking, Bus, Subway, Step-on.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Tobacco, Pipes and Cigars. History of tobacco industry and retail in NYC and smokers friendly locations.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Sharing my love for the city with others.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    16 years.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    From other guides.

    What's your advice or Tour Guide tip you love to share to people visiting New York?

    Try doing what locals do.


    (For more info or to book a tour with Dmitri, check out his GANYC profile by clicking here.)

  6. Before Beyonce: The New Colossus

     

    Before Beyoncé, Netflix and even the internet there stood the Statue of Liberty. Generations have seen her and she continues to be an international icon known around the world. I have had the privilege of visiting and conducting tours of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on a daily basis as a professional, licensed New York City tour guide and GANYC member. 

    For a base-line understanding of the Statue of Liberty, some basic facts: Built in 1886, inspired by the French (Édouard René de Laboulaye) and designed by them (Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi), an international effort made the statue a reality. Groups in France and the US privately funded the construction and installation of Lady Liberty in NYC, with much assistance from individual donors contributing less than one dollar. The copper skin for the statue was sourced from Norway. 

    For over a century the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of hope and prosperity, especially for those who came to America during the earliest years of the statue’s existence – especially 1892-1924, when Ellis Island was actively used as our nation's main port of entry. Millions passed by her façade and many immigrants recall seeing the Statue with fond recollection, an embodiment for many of the hopes and dreams they had moving here. A recent guest on my tour recounted his immigration to America just 20 years before, searching and spotting that familiar statue from the window of a plane – as exhilarating to see as by those who had come via steamship 100 years before. Lady Liberty has inspired numerous stories, songs, musicals, poems, advertisements and varied works of art. Many replicas have been created – from the miniature souvenirs you can find on Liberty Island and in Times Square, to the larger models in France, Las Vegas and on the big screen, including the walking one in Ghostbusters 2 and, spoiler alert, Planet of the Apes. 

    Of the inspired works, one work in particular often finds its way into our international consciousness – “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. Among its words, “Give me your tired, you poor, your huddles masses yearning to breathe free…” 

    Ms. Lazarus was obviously referring more to the Jack types packed in the lower deck third class/steerage areas, rather than the Rose types up in first class with their luxury, titanic staterooms and expansive promenades. Not to say that one’s immigrant passage experience is any less or more authentic based on the amount one pays for the journey, but a huddling mass certainly does lend to some more dramatic flair, rather than a recounting of how many chambermaids attended to one’s blessed bosom. 

    Even those who didn't see the statue coming over were well familiar of its representation. Some of my own ancestors, coming from southern China in the 1800s, landing on the West Coast, starting their lives in America, coming to the big Gold Mountain, were full of the hopes and dreams that only their progeny would live to experience. They, like other immigrants of the time, toiled as farmers, taking the only jobs available to them, working and living on land they couldn’t own or afford. But they made do – fellow immigrants and other Americans helped them, did business with them and they were able to prosper. 

    For me, being born in Los Angeles, it’s been something of a homecoming to be in New York City, living my own dream. In the city that never sleeps, with all its dazzling lights, the cramped spaces many of us live in – this is where I want and choose to be. 

    The final declaration of the Lazarus poem reads: “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” The golden door of America has and always will be the opportunity for those that come here to freely choose where and how they want to live, for their descendants to have the same and better lives in a golden land of welcome, inclusion, diversity and cooperation. The Statue of Liberty is the natural, most prominent embodiment of that, and for that I’m incredibly grateful and appreciative that I can see and experience our international icon everyday in the city and land I proudly call home. 

    http://www.ganyc.org/derek-chan

  7. GANYC Job Fair & Talent Expo: Thank You!

    GANYC wants to thank every destination & tour company (and every guide!) who made our first Job Fair & Talent Expo a success beyond our greatest expectations! We saw so many great people, both familiar and new. And the largest thanks to Michael Dillinger, Michael Morgenthal, Harvey Davidson, Tony Di Sante, Adrienne Cooper, Bob Gelber, and all the GANYC Board members who spent months organizing this effort.

    For our new attendees, we hope that you will join our organization as a member guide or industry partner! We represent the best of the NYC tourism industry and you all really showed us that this morning.
     
    We are excited for even bigger & better things over this next year!
     
  8. Tips For Tour Guides: Avoiding Scams

    At some point in a tour guide's career, someone will try to scam them. We hope that this post will help you avoid these. These type of scams will be emailed to countless tour guides... the scammers will have skimmed email addresses of tour guides from GANYC's site or other source. Here is a recent such email that I received, and I will point out the red flags, so you know what to look out for:
     

    Greetings,
             
     How are you doing today, I'm Sgt. David. I want to apologies for  not calling direct than email. I'm in the US Army National Guard,  presently stationed here in Alabama, Redstone Arsenal Military Base  where I'm not able to make calls at the moment. But I  assure you that you can reach me anytime via e-mail or sms text which I  believe is better to communicate as well, I hope you understand my  situation so kindly bare with me.
     
     
     Further more, I like to know if you can guide my 4 children who are  coming to the city in 2 weeks time during their holiday vacation. Their  age are range from 13-24YRS. I want a private tour for 2 hours per  person for 2 days so making a total of 4 hours  each person for the 2 days and I want afternoons and evenings time. So I  want you to calculate and get back to me with your total charges for  your service and let me know your open dates in the next 2 weeks or  perhaps we can work on your dates if suitable.
     
     
     Also I like to know if you do accept all major credit card as a mode of payment.
     
     
     Thank You.
     David

     

    There are several red-flags here. Let's go one by one.

    1. The email purports to be from an American, but the use of English and grammar here is not that of a native English speaker.
       
    2. The sender has some convoluted reason that you cannot contact them directly (ie. by phone)... in this case, that he is at a military base, which somehow means he cannot take calls. Most likely, the sender is in a foreign country and/or is not a great English speaker, and a phone call would only make that crystal clear.
       
    3. The key one that is the same across all these type of scams: a too-good-to-be true offer that aims to get you seeing so many dollar signs that your common sense will temporarily escape you. In this particular case, the sender says that he has 4 children and that he wants separate, private tour for each of these children (this by itself is so bizarre, it qualifies as its own red flag). If real, this would mean 16 hours of work, which would be a good payday. If real.
       
    4. No specific dates or types of tours. All generic, because it wants to appeal to all guides.
       
    5. It ends with an inquiry about credit cards, a classic scam email red-flag.

    So what is the ultimate goal of this scammer? There are some variations, but in general, this is how it would work: You would quote the sender a specific cost for these services... say, $1200. The sender would then you a payment-- using a bad check or maybe a stolen/hacked card-- for way more, say $2500. The sender would then immediately email you, saying they made an error in payment, and insist that you immediately/quickly send them a money transfer for the difference. So you would then send them money, and then soon find out their payment bounced. In which case, you are now out the money you sent them, but also responsible for the fees for the bounced/cancelled fake payment they sent.

    When you receive such an email, we recommend just deleting it. Of course, if you are not certain, you can post the email on a forum or Facebook group for tour guides and ask your colleagues their opinion. Always better to be safe than sorry.

    Finally, we are curious. How many of you have received emails such as this? And what have been your favorite variations on the scam?

  9. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Gwen Strum

    Introducing GANYC guide Gwen Strum!


    Website: Walk, Talk & Roll with Gwen

    Email

    =====================================

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 1990. 

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    May through Christmas.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    NY & Company has given me certificates after successfully passing their Travel Training Academy.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    When I was 8 years old, we went on a class trip to Radio City Music Hall and before the Christmas show we were given a tour. I stood as close to their Guide as possible & had a light bulb moment in my head saying I can do this, I want to do this.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Getting compliments such as you are the most professional guide we've had since entering the USA. Or, you gave a very good explanation of NYC. Many of my groups are from India and also go to Niagara Falls and Washington DC either before or after they meet me.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking, Bus & Limousine tours.

    I also do Airport/Hotel pickups.

    What upcoming or annual events, promotions or sales would you like to promote? 


    Meet my Bubbe (Jewish Grandma)! This is a tour of my neighborhood in Briarwood, Queens. Take the F Train from Manhattan and meet me next to the Metrocard Booth at Briarwood Station. I'll take you to into NYPD Transit District 20 & ask if it's okay to take a selfie with a Police Officer from there I'll walk you to the Car Wash seen in the 1988 Eddie Murphy film "Coming to America". We'll meet my Grandma (Born in 1921) at the neighborhood luncheonette, nosh on something (at your expense) and then I'll give you a walking tour of my neighborhood. We'll step inside an American Supermarket, walk to an old fashioned Barber Shop...maybe after the tour get a haircut, or a mani-pedi at our neighborhood Salon or great slice of Pizza &/or a Chicken Cutlet Parmesan Hero. We'll walk by a typical bodega and take a peek inside. We'll walk west to see Archbishop Molloy Catholic Senior High School founded in 1957 & where our current (& probable next POTUS) Andrew Cuomo graduated from in 1975. Ray Romano went there too as well as Basketball Player Kenny Anderson and Actor David Caruso of TV shows NYPD Blue & CSI: Miami. You will experience a middle income New York Community - The Borough of Queens.

    This tour costs $25 per person, price is negotiable. Kids under 12 are free. This tour takes 45 minutes.
     
    Also: My 2-hour WTC Tour - 9/11 Memorial Site is $50 per person but if you give/get me a second person that 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc only need pay $5/Five each (I normally want $10 each). 
     
    I also tutor people who wish to receive the NYC Sightseeing Guide license, so they can prepare for the DCA (Dept of Consumer Affairs) exam. I give them an intensive 2-hour walking tour of Lower Manhattan which includes Wall Street and the WTC Site. I'm chock full of names, dates, anecdotes. The cost is only $50-- they will pass or their money back!



    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since January 2017 - almost a year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    I don't remember, from other guides.

    What's your advice or Tour Guide tip you love to share to people visiting New York?

    You should read Where Magazine


    (For more info or to book a tour with Gwen, check out her GANYC profile by clicking here.)

     

  10. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Paul Kittas

    Introducing GANYC guide Paul Kittas!

    Company: Heights Tours

    Phone646-318-5906

    Email

    =====================================


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    12 years; since 2005.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    I have Christmas lights in the winter and flowers in the spring and summer.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Mostly walking, to take in the details.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    I only offer Niche Tours: NYBG all year, Lighting mostly Christmas, and Women in the Revolutionary War and Manhattan's Battle of Fort Washington.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    National Design Award.  A plan to better understand the urban environment.   "Form and Appearance 1 & 2" was completed many years ago.

    What drove you to become a tour guide or tour operator or create this company/organization? 

    The exciting tours I discovered and scripted even before I was focused on giving them.  I understand many key items that make NYC exciting and beautiful.  

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Being appreciated for the years of research, gardening and exploring that was required to assemble my tours.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    2 months.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Personal research.  Wanted support and guidance to be good.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Yes, GANYC requires to always be on your toes and to be quick to respond.

    What's your advice or Tour Guide tip you love to share to people visiting New York?

    Keep your eyes open, there is magic everywhere.
     

Pages

Subscribe to Podcast & Blog
English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Translation Provided by Google Translate

GANYC is an association of independent tour guides. Each member is licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. GANYC provides a listing of all member guides to the public.GANYC is not liable, or responsible, for contractual obligations made between clients and tour guides. GANYC stands for Guides Association Of New York City.

Proud Members of:

    Museum Association of NY