Podcast & Blog

  1. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Alessia Nencioni


    Introducing GANYC guide: Alessia Nencioni!

    Company: Barefoot New York

    Phone: 917-362-7713

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    4 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Summer.

    What drove you to become a tour guide or tour operator?

    The love for NYC and the flexibility of the hours.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours. Mainly off the beaten path.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    I offer street art tours ( Brooklyn, Bronx, Lower east Side). Food Tour (Bronx Little Italy).

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    I love when the tourist leave my tour with a smile and with a greater love for NY.

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering to GANYC followers and our industry partners?

    I can offer a 10% discount.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Not yet a year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    I learn about GANYC through a fellow tour guide who is a member.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    It put me in contact with other tour guides. I learn so much through the many Fam Tours organized by GANYC. It gave me exposure through their website.

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

    Don't visit only the main attractions, but go and discover where the real NY life is.


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

  2. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

    11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

    Website: https://www.moma.org

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


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


    What year did your business open?

    1929.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    At The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, we aim to be inclusive places—both onsite and online—where diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions are welcome. We’re committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art, and the ideal visitor will join us in exploring the art, ideas, and issues of our time.

    Has your company or organization or any members of the organization received any awards?

    We won the American Bus Association's 2017 "Best of the Best" award in the museum category; we previously won the Concierge Choice Award for Best Cultural Institution; and we receive TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Award on an annual basis.

    Has your company or organization been featured  in print, broadcast  or online media?

    We receive a lot of coverage, but this New York Times story about our revealed expansion plans is particularly interesting. Our expansion will open in 2019 with 30% more gallery space!

    What drove you to work for this organization?

    MoMA is an iconic New York institution, and it's an amazing opportunity to get to share the collection, programming, and exhibitions with locals and tourists!

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

    The latest edition of MoMA's longstanding and celebrated New Photography series opens on March 18, 2018. (LINK)

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    I love seeing people connect with artwork that they recognize and be challenged by artists that they may not be familiar with. We try to be a really welcoming place for all ages and backgrounds, so seeing a diverse audience enjoying themselves in our galleries and at our programs is really satisfying.

    Any fun stories or favorite moments you can share about why you love working at your business?

    One of my favorite parts of my job is giving tours of the Museum for people who have never been before. Watching people see "The Starry Night" for the first time is such a special experience.

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering to GANYC tour guides and their customers?

    GANYC tour guides should get in touch directly for more information about our tours and group discounts.

  3. NYC Tourist Guides In The News!

    Last month, GANYC member Brian Fisher appeared on CNN, promoting local guides. He has provided us with a video of the segment. We love seeing our members-- and the NYC guide community-- get a media spotlight for their contributions to our city. Remember: a GANYC guide is the best bang for your (tourist) buck!

    You can watch the video 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, here, and here. )

  4. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Monia Bonaldo


    Introducing GANYC guide: Monia Bonaldo!
     

    Company: GuidaTuristicaNYC

    Phone: 1-917-951‑2527

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Almost 3 years.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I like to meet and stay with people. I'm a very friendly personality, I love NYC, I'm very passionate and I enjoy very much this job, it fits perfectly with my personality!

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Yes, I do food tours! On Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting from Union Square, there is a great food street market there, than I proceed to Flatiron District, quick stop at Eataly and then take the High Line going to Chelsea Market.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Discover new places, old history, be  part of the past and the future of this amazing city! I love to talk to people, New Yorker in particular, learn about personal experience and share with my tourists.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    From April to December.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    My favorite award are my reviews...always 5 stars!

    What celebrities (if any) have patronized your business or organization?

    Recently I have been contacted by the famous "Brunello Cucinelli" fashion Company,  famous to be the "King of Cachemire", Italian brand and famous around the world. I don't have any "funny" event to tell about, I was very proud to be their tour guide in town for 3 days!

    What upcoming or annual events would you like to promote?

    I'm in love with Christmas so I'm promoting my tour at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, famous area for their amazing houses decorations, easy to reach by subway from Manhattan, best time to go starting from this week end from 4pm ahead. Price $35 per person. Discount for group of 10pax $25 x person. Family package 2-3 kids/2adults $60. 3 hours tours.

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering to GANYC Followers and our industry partners?

    10% off  to join one of my tours!

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    1 year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    A friend of mine,  a tour guide herself.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Giving wonderful tours for the members, meetings, job offers on GANYC board.

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

    Not content with tourists stereotypes but staying with the locals and living though for a few days an authentic New York experience.


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

  5. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Museum at Eldridge Street

    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- Museum at Eldridge Street

    12 Eldridge Street, NY NY 10002

    Website: https://www.eldridgestreet.org

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


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

    What year did your business open?

    2007.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    History lovers, architecture/preservation buffs, tourists interested in immigrant and Jewish history.

    Has your organization been featured  in print, broadcast or online media?

    Yes, see this 2007 NY Times article about the restoration.

    What drove you to work for organization? What's your story?

    The Museum at Eldridge Street is housed within the Eldridge Street Synagogue - the first grand house of worship built by Eastern European Jews, in 1887. The Beginning in the 1980s, the Museum executed a 20 year, $20 million restoration of the landmark synagogue. Today the Museum is a nonsectarian organization offering tours, family programs, education classes, concerts, and more - aimed at illuminating the story of immigration in New York, American identity, and architectural stewardship. It's a part of NYC history!

    What upcoming events would you like to promote?

    "Let There Be Light - A Whole Lotta Light!" - an exhibition of over 100 menorahs, all displayed in our historic sanctuary and from the collection of one New York family. November 30th is the free opening reception from 6pm to and 8pm. The exhibition will be on view until January 2, 2018

    (Tickets)

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Revealing to our visitors the pure beauty of our historic building, and the remarkable story of the congregant's lives as new Americans.

    What special deals or promotions are you offering to GANYC tour guides and their customers?

    We would be happy to talk about what promotions would work best for the GANYC group!

    Any fun stories or favorite moments you can share about why you love working at your business?

    There is so much to love about Eldridge Street! We're a modern Museum, housed in a historic Jewish building, standing in the middle of what is now Chinatown! These identities all offer us another opportunity to explore the layers of history in New York City.

  6. Membership Renewals & GANYC Elections

    Just some logistical notes:

    1. We are beginning to process membership renewals for existing members. You should have received an email from GANYC this past weekend with instructions. Please check your spam email if you didn't see it.

    See the following link for any clarifications needed on how to proceed with the new renewal system. It's very easy if you follow the directions! Thanks for renewing!

    2. Full, voting members should additionally be receiving in the (snail) mail this week ballots for the election of the next GANYC Board. Please follow the instructions on the ballot sheet and mail the completed ballot back using the provided envelope.

    If you don't receive this ballot, please make sure that your profile on the GANYC website is filled out *in full*, and set to be live, including a mailing address.

    If you just added a mailing address this week, and need a ballot, please contact us.

    Thank you!

  7. Licensed Tour Guide is Standup Comic and Performed at Comedy Festival

    Licensed Tour Guide is Standup Comic and Performed at Comedy Festival 

    by Aaron Tabackman

    After being a double decker tour guide for over seven and half years and training meticilously for nearly as long in order to produce a first rate, world class tour, I feel as if one key ingredient is missing and that would be...comedy.  This is interesting because I have a lot of training in comedy.  For several years I took many comedy improv classes and have performed in comedy improv troupes.  Maybe I took the tours—and tour guiding—too seriously?

    On a cold, blustery fall evening last weekend, I boarded a Grayline double-decker bus to hear a professional standup comic give a one hour bus tour as part of the 2017 New York Comedy Festival.  It would be the third consecutive sell-out for Standup comic Tim Dillon who previously worked “a day job” as a double decker guide for both Grayline and Big Bus.

    The tour started about fifteen minutes late at Columbus Circle.  With the upper deck nearly full, Mr. Dillion started, as most adept Standup comics do, with a little crowd work.  He intermingled with the first two rows and then went into his narration.

    He started off funny, discussing real estate and the Time Warner building, remarking that most of the owners of the luxury apartments are not people but shell companies.   Eighty percent to be precise.   And money laundering has been the means of acquiring these apartments.    It looks like there might be a social justice component to this tour which excites me early on.  As one who gives double decker tours for a living, the excitement of New York double decker tour wore off years ago.

    The ironic description of Columbus as a man who came in peace and sat down with Native Americans to “work things out” was hilarious and not lost on the audience.   A little Italian-American humor afterwards should have been left out seeing how the previous joke delivered.

    Afterwards, when we passed by Trump International Hotel & Tower, Dillon remarked "....rooms are now available as low as $200!  The race war has been costly."  Again funny.  Off to a good start and back to real estate.   I've been on the double deckers for over seven years and I did learn quite a bit on his tour in terms of facts especially about Manhattan real estate.   For instance, I never knew that 15 Central Park West cost one billion to build.   At that point Dillon described how multi-millionaires like their indoor pools.  Hint:  Like most people like their revenge.
    There would definitely be a voice of condescension of the gentry on this tour.  Class warfare would be in full force.

    I was pleased when Dillon talked about the tenement on West 62nd Street that I often point out on the Uptown Tour.   Now I was waiting for his joke about it.

    “On your left is Lincoln Center.  By the time they're 14 most ballerinas are over the hill there.  They are on a steady diet--of their own vomit,”. barked the comic unafraid of performing blue for the younger crowd.   Talking about WNET, Dillon was perplexed that Sesame Street could be sponsored by the military industrial complex.
    "Sesame Street was brought to you by Haliburton."

    “Real Estate is the biggest industry in New York.
    There is over 950 million of taxable income of real estate.  Nearly a trillion dollars. Of the 5,700 condos in Manhattan, fully sixty percent are owned by foreign nationals" was the sober statistic cited making you feel rather empathetic of Dillon's angry working class persona.

    "On your right is Gray's Papaya where they serve human meat in the hot dogs".  I never thought of that one.  I'm usually too busy explaining the Ansonia building which Dillion conveniently ommited from his narration.

    He gave a big buildup prior to reaching the Dakota.   "This building was built in 1882 when nothing was here.  This is the hardest building to gain admittance to in America (don't think that's right) and they 'don't have sex on the kitchen countertops'."  And yes, Yoko Ono still live at the top.

    Further along on Central Park West, the comic talked about the Bereford.  "The average apartment is 20 thousand square feet.  Celebrities that live there include John McEnroe, Jerry Seinfeld, Former Citibank head Vikram Pandit and Glenn Close.  They had to get Glenn Close out of there and move her to Hollywood," he remarked.

    "My agent is trying to get me on Broadway.”  The comic performed an act out of his agent.  A vocally-challenged man with little graces.  An act-out is when a comedian acts what they discuss in their monologue.  "Hey I booked you an audition for SpongeBob SquarePants The Musical. "  Dillon responded that he couldn't even do the voice of SpongeBob

    The comic added that the Upper West Side is filled with actors, musicians and playwrights.  New money as opposed to the old money of the Upper East Side.  He said that Broadway is at an all time low and really sucked.   I would be to differ with some really good shows selling out like Hamilton, Book of Mormon and Clockwork Orange now on Broadway!

    Going further up CPW past 96th Street, Dillon seemed to ease into his narration that I’m sure he used when he worked for the double deckers.  "70 percent of New Yorkers rent.   People from the Long Island and New Jersey are pigs.  They take commuter rails.”

    He informed the audience that most New Yorkers send their kids to private schools.  It costs upwards of one million dollars to send a New York child to private school, K-12.  "The Dwight School is an acronym.  It stands for Dumb White Kids Getting High” he said to uproaras laughter.

    Dillon improvised too.   He cited people on the street, either doormen or passersby and tried to engage in a conversation with them.   "Where ya from?"  Notice the doorman doesn't even acknowledge us.  He knows he's on camera."

    When the bus arrived towards 98th Street, Dillon remarked in his ironic voice, "this is where the people who don't matter" live.  The teachers and the guidance counselors.  The expendable people.  Including waiters.  However, the caveat being that most waiters in Manhattan make upwards of 50 thousand dollars a year.  As a matter of fact, he added, that his cousin is the head waiter at Smith & Wolensky and earns close to 180K a year.

    Dillon was clear to point out that New York is a much safer city today than it was decades ago.  "Twenty five years ago there were 3,500 murders per year.  Now there are 350.  The police are rather aggressive however.  They shot a pregnant woman.  They thought she had a bomb."

    He briefly mentioned about Harlem interestingly talking about the Dutch.   "Smoking weed, looking for a place to farm."

    But perhaps Dillon really reached his stride when approaching Fifth Avenue.

    "Fifth Avenue is one of the wealthiest streets in the world." Said the guide.   He gave some key ingredients into living on Fifth Avenue. "People on Fifth Avenue control their emotions, don't put up any holiday decorations and don't marry people they love."

    Sometimes Dillon sounded perplexed.
    He called the Guggenheim "a nothing burger.”  "Five paintings in the whole museum.  Mostly just Asian people visit it."

    The Duke Mansion costs about 65 million dollars.   Most of that money came from cancer and slavery.  That's the sound of generational wealth strangling you."

    Dillon didn’t leave many targets on Fifth Avenue.  “Vicious, violent beasts.  That’s where the Emir of Qatar lived.

    At the Frick Museum, Dillon actually invited a friend to discuss the Pinkerton guards busting the Homestead strike and the attempted assassination of Henry Clay Fricke.   In seven plus years I never did that before.  Maybe that’s why tour guides are so self-centered.

    Some useful information for tour guides like myself to take away.  At 834 Fifth Avenue the average apartment sells for 26 million and at 820 Fifth Avenue the average apartment sells for 34 million.  GANYC members were fortunate enough to have been in one of those 20k square foot apartments at the Belgian Consulate Residence.

    A funny anectodote was when going by the Sherry-Netherland and mentioning that Tory Burch lived there.  One time during his tour guides days, the comic went into the lobby and said he was Tory Burch's son and that's when the doorman immediately called the police and had him arrested.

    He essentially ended his tour talking about the Plaza Hotel.

    I was interested in how he compares performing on a bus versus doing comedy on a stage inside a theater.   He responded that you need to improvise more on the bus because you're not sure what's around you at the current time.  Gesticulating more helps to draw attention to what's going on on the street as well.

    All in all, I think it was a pretty good tour that lasted one hour and personified "infotainment"--part information, part entertainment.  Not every joke hit but the attempts at humor were admirable for let’s face it—often dry topics.  The character was consistent from beginning to end.   And what better inspiration for double decker guides to inject some humor into our tours.

    If you around next year during the New York Comedy Festival, I say pluck down the $45 and check out Tim Dillon's New York Comedy Bus Tour.

    GANYC Member Aaron Tabackman is an employee of Grayline CitySightseeing New York and is running for the GANYC Board as a Member-at-Large in the upcoming GANYC elections.  

     

     

  8. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Fred Sosa

    Introducing GANYC guide Fred Sosa working for: On Location Tours

    Website: On Location Tours

    Email

    Phone: 212-913-9780

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube
    ===========================================


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    18 years.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    Walking and Bus Tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    TV & Movie Tours, Sex and The City, Gossip Girl, Sopranos & More.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    Summer and Holiday Season.

    Have you or your company received any awards (recently or in the past)?

    Trip Advisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence. Also, the Concierge award in 2013.

    Have you or your company been featured  in print, broadcast (tv or radio) or online media?  

    Yes, from: TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, People Magazine, The New York Times, E! News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, and the Travel Channel’s TV Road Trip. 

    Here is a 2013 article from a Telegraph newspaper: LINK.

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

    With a deep love and appreciation for film & television, it inspired me to fall in love with New York all over and all of the locations and walk in the shoes of my  favorite on screen characters.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    To allow people the opportunity to straddle fiction and reality, letting them feel as though they are part of the TV show or movie, ultimately bringing them closer to the characters themselves.

    What celebrities (if any) have patronized your business or organization? 

    Joseph R. Gannascoli (Vito on the Sopranos), Robert Osborne (TCM), Zuzanna Szadkowski (gossip girl) 

    (Link)

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering to GANYC Followers and our industry partners and their customers?

    For Group tours, 50$ off first group booked.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    It gives us credibility.

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

    Try to stay off the beaten path.

  9. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Carey Gibbs

    Introducing GANYC guide Carey Gibbs!

    Company: The NY Experience

    Email

    Phone #: 24-hour line: 212-561-9055 ; or leave message: 917-558-2478

    Twitter
     

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    10 years.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    My many years as an entertainer, motivational speaker and my public relations skills.

    I am a 2nd generation New Yorker, 3rd generation show business guy.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Broadway: The Great White Way; Mafia, past and present; Harlem Then and Now; 9/11.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Williamsburg: the new frontier; pub crawls; ballroom and latin dance tours; meet and greet at hotel, ships, and airports.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    April to December.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Meeting and bonding with people from all over the globe!

    What upcoming or annual events would you like to promote?

    Seasonal tours: Christmas in NYC, Holiday Cheer, Christmas windows.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    8 years.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    It has helped promote me and my skills and experience.

    What's your advice you love to share to people visiting New York?

    The energy, passion, and diversity.


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

  10. GANYC Hosts Chinese Delegation

    GANYC's reputation as a leader in New York City tourism is not going by unnoticed.  The Industry Relations Committee received an invitation from  the U.S. - China Business Training Center, part of the University of  California, San Diego's Rady School of  Management to meet with a  delegation from the National Bureau of  Statistics of China. The Rady  School is one of the top-ranked  institutions in the U.S. for higher  education and research.  This meeting was not the first request to GANYC  from foreign countries.  Previous similar meetings were held with  delegations from Sri Lanka and Singapore.
     
      On Friday October 20th, 2017, a one-hour presentation was given by  Harvey Paul Davidson based on GANYC's Press Release, which was designed  by Amada Anderson, as suggested by Michael Morgenthal.  Additional  tourism statistical information was obtained from the latest NYC &  Company's "New York Travel & Tourism Trend Report" and the two powerpoint presentations were skillfully created by Andrea Coyle.
     
      A high level Chinese delegation consisting of 25 members representing  all areas of China and an interpreter translated Harvey's presentation.   During the hour-long question and answer session that followed, Bob Gelber and Kevin Lawrence, who is a Mandarin speaking guide, ably assisted with helping the interpreter in providing answers to questions  about GANYC, and particularly with statistical terminology that was  difficult to translate from English into Mandarin.
     
      It was a great GANYC team effort and the leader of the delegation, Li  Wanmao, Deputy General and Senior Statistician of the Department of Service Statistics stated his appreciation and provided mementos of the meeting to the GANYC team and everyone posed for a group photo.

    Thanks to everyone who helped put this together.
     

    [Guest post by Industry Relations Chair Harvey Davidson]

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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:

NYSTIA    Museum Association of NY