Podcast & Blog

  1. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Gordon Polatnick

    Introducing GANYC guide Gordon Polatnick of his own company: Big Apple Jazz Tours

    WebsiteBig Apple Jazz Tour

    Email

    Phone: 917 863-7854

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Two decades.

    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: 

    This one is an online streaming show called the Urbanist which covered an entire jazz tour -  it is long but fun: Link
     
    This is from a Hungarian newspaper: Link
     
    This is from an Australian newspaper: Link
     
    One from Queens:  Link
     
    We were featured on the first episode of BBC Radio2 show Nell's Kitchen, but the audio is no longer available: Link
     
    We were also featured on German radio, NY1 News, NY Times, various jazz publications, The front page of LA Times Sunday Travel section.

     
    How long have you been a GANYC member?

    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.

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

  2. GANYC's Adrienne Cooper on NY1

    GANYC member Adrienne Cooper-- who chairs our Awards Committee, among other tasks-- was recently featured on NY1 News for her passion project, Food Funny. Her monthly series, at Q.E.D. in Astoria, features chefs and comedians trading roles for an evening. You can watch the segment on the NY1 website.

    We love seeing our members get a media spotlight. Are you a GANYC member who's been featured in some form of media? Please send us the links and information and we will spotlight you here on the blog!

  3. Get The Most Out of GANYC!

    When you read the member spotlights we do here on the blog, you will often see the question "How has GANYC helped you and your business?" answered with some variation of this: "Joining GANYC was the best professional decision I have made as a guide". And I can certainly concur this from my personal experience.

    But how does a member get the most out of GANYC? Here are my suggestions:

    • Attend meetings! GANYC has a public monthly meeting, almost always on the evening of the first Wednesday of each month. Keep an eye on the GANYC calendar of events (or our Facebook events listings) to see when the next meeting is. Networking with fellow guides is the best way to get the most out of your membership. Not only do you grow your network, but guides learn & benefit from each other. If you make good impressions, your fellow guides are also likely to pass on tour job opportunities to you.
       
    • Attend other GANYC events! We also have many other regular events, exclusively for members. FAM Tours, networking happy hours, and special events are always being added. Not only are these good networking opportunities, but they are a fun (and free!) benefit of your membership. 
       
    • Interact with GANYC on social media! Make sure you are following GANYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Quite often, we post updates and information there that is not posted on the blog or website. This helps you keep up to date on what is happening with GANYC.

      Want to be featured on our Instagram? Email the PR Committee (link) with an image of yourself guiding a tour, and we may feature it with a link to your company's Instagram on our page!
       

    • Check out the job board! GANYC has a job board, where companies or individuals can post job opportunities for GANYC guides. Check your subscriptions to make sure you are receiving emails on updates to this board. 

      (Receiving too many emails from GANYC? You can use that subscription link to un-subscribe to email types/categories you no longer wish to receive.)
       

    • Volunteer! GANYC has several committees and, as a volunteer organization, they can always extra help. You can find the committees information on our site, and offer your help to one. This makes you feel more connected to GANYC and, again, provides additional networking opportunities.
       
    • Get your tour(s) listed on GANYC! We have a selection allowing the public to sign up directly for tours offered by our members. To get yours listed there, sign up with our friends at AnyGuide. You can list your tours with them for free. Once all your tours are listed and live, contact AnyGuide, show them that you're a GANYC member. They will then add a GANYC logo to your main public page, and push all your tours onto our Book A Tour page.
       
    • Subscribe to our e-newsletter! Twice a month, we publish an e-newsletter with updates on coming GANYC events, feature member spotlights, and more. If you are interested in keeping up with GANYC this way, you can subscribe here

    If any of our members have other suggestions, or feedback, please post a comment or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

  4. GANYC Guides In The News

    We at GANYC love to see when any of our member guides get a media spotlight, thus bringing a bigger eye to the great work our community does for New York. Here is a round-up of some recent media features:

    • Tour guide, historian, and author Kevin C. Fitzpatrick was interviewed by BBC World Service about the 100th anniversary of World War I and its New York City connections. Fitzpatrick took the BBC reporter to a local memorial, and discussed Americans' feelings toward that war.
       
    • The Guardian had an article last month about graffiti tours in NYC, and the growing legitimacy of street art. GANYC member guide Gabe Schoenberg is featured in the article, discussing his tour company and graffiti classes.
       
    • A recent article in the NY Times Travel section discusses how to "feel at home on the road" and discusses a few tour companies catering to this, including Local Expeditions, which employs several GANYC guides.
       

    Thanks to all who continue to work to get the word out in the press about the work that we do. If any of our guides or industry partners come across articles that mention or cover the NYC guiding community, please email them to us! We would also love to feature images of our guides in action on our Instagram page, so please feel free to email us those as well.

  5. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Kevin C. Fitzpatrick

    Introducing GANYC guide Kevin C. Fitzpatrick of his own company: Big Apple Fanatics Tours

    Website: Big Apple Fanatics Tours

    Email

    Phone: 917-526-0597

    Social media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 1999.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    Summer-Fall.

    Have you or your company received any awards? 

    Nominated for two GANYC Apple Awards, best non-fiction book about NYC.

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

    Yes, I was interviewed about my book, "The Algonquin Round Table"

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    A passion for history and love of books and non-fiction.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    History and Literary. New York’s Jazz Age, Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, cocktails, Broadway, Governors Island.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    U.S. History. World War I New York. Sites related to the war 1917-1918 and memorials.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Meeting the public and sharing New York history.

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

    My new book-- World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War-- has a walking tour component.

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

    10% off anyone from GANYC.

    How long have you been a GANYC member?

    Since 2015.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Fellow guide Matthew Baker.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Professional Development and Networking.

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

    Pay 25 cents to enter The Met with a smile.
     

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

  6. Destination Capitol Hill

    This past week, GANYC President Michael Dillinger and a number of other members traveled down to Washington DC to participate in Destination Capitol Hill (DCH). This annual event is organized by the U.S. Travel Association and is the "industry's premier legislative fly-in" whose goal is to "educate policymakers about the power of travel".

    Among the issues discussed were: how the current rhetoric & actions from the Executive Branch are affecting perceptions among global travelers, the importance of the visa waiver program (a good program with a poor name), a need to increase the airline Passenger Facility Charge (and how that should serve local infrastructure needs), the Open Skies program, and local stories of how travel helps grow our districts.

    On the first day, we attended a wonderful series of presentations at the Mayflower Hotel organized by the US Travel Association. Following an opening keynote address by ABC News' Chief Global Correspondent, Martha Raddatz, top leaders from the USTA led some great talks and panels on the key messages of this event. There were organizations in attendance from every state in the country. All had stories about how important travel is to our local economies and culture. Key fact: Travel is in the top 10 industries in 49 of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia too) in terms of employment. But our importance to the economy, nationally and locally, is often lost in political rhetoric and action. Changing that is a major goal of the DCH event.

    That evening, we attended a wonderful networking reception at the Mayflower. We had the pleasure of speaking with many other organizations in the capitol representing the state of New York, including NYC & Company, Discover Long Island, Broadway Inbound, and many others. We look forward to working with all these groups in the future on our shared goals. 

    The next day, our members headed to Capitol Hill. Since we had GANYC members from both New York and New Jersey at the event, we were able to meet with the staff of Senators and Representative from both states. The offices we met with include: Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Booker, and Menendez; and Representatives Pascrell, Maloney, Meng, Crowley, Clarke, Zeldin, Espaillat, Faso, Jeffries, Nadler, Engel, and others. Not only did we impress upon these offices the importance of prioritizing travel policy, but we also made sure that they were aware of GANYC and how we can be their front line in NYC on these issues. We cannot thank enough all of the Representatives and their legislative directors and staff who took the time to speak with us on Wednesday. 

    We found this trip to be a very productive start, and we fully intend to return next year.

    However, we all can continue this work now. Many offices asked us for examples of groups who are not booking tours to New York and evidence of how the travel ban(s) are directly affecting us. If you have any such stories or examples to share-- or even just opinions on other policies such as travel infrastructure-- please share them with GANYC so that we can boost your voice to our lawmakers. Or, if you wish to contact your Senators and Representatives directly, links to do so can be found on the USA.gov website

    We also encourage you to share your stories with us on social media. Here's hoping for an amazing 2017 and beyond for travel!

    [PS: For images from GANYC's visit to DC, please see our official Instagram account.]

  7. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Pim Zeegers

    Introducing GANYC guide Pim Zeegers of his own company: Pim Philip Experiences

    Website: Pim Philip Experiences

    Phone: (917) 214-4179

    Email

    Social media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn / Pinterest
     

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    I have been in the business for several years and I got my NYC license the beginning of 2016.

    What types of tours do you offer? (Walking, Biking, Bus, etc...) Could you describe them for us?

    I offer tours on foot, by bike, rollerskates, subway, bus, whatever you want. 

    Do you offer Niche Tours? (Knitting, Food Tours, etc) If so could you describe them for us a little bit.

    My niche is 'off the beaten path' and I love to connect my clients to local people and businesses in the city. From street art and artists, urban farms, interesting businesses, cool places. Visit places and have a look behind the scenes. I can do this for a private tour but I also set it up for businesses and create custom programs in their field of business. Inspirational journeys or retail safaris, you name it. And in the mix I combine it with the history of NYC and it's landmarks. I organize this in both Brooklyn as Manhattan. 

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    From May till October.

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

    I have been featured in an inflight magazine Holland Herald (KLM) september last year: LINK

    Besides that I host videos for a company called Hatched. The videos are called First Look and we visit restaurants, bars, coffee places, new businesses that just opened their doors in NYC. It's a great way for me to be in the know about openings in NYC and I love to spread the news afterwards. If you want to check out some videos, check out the YouTube channel of Hatched.

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

    I met somebody in the business that made me fall in love with this type of work. It's that simple really. Personally I'm always looking for hip trends, interesting concepts and special places in the city. I love the ‘out of the ordinary' and I love to share my findings and experiences with others. In my personal life but now also in my professional life. I am very grateful I am able to do that.  

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    That I make people's stay in NYC something to remember. Life is a collection of memories and experiences so I want to make sure we create a great one when you visit NYC

    What celebrities (if any) have patronized your business?

    Some Dutch celebrities that most readers will not know. But even Dutch Celebs get ambushed here! I think it's very important is to stay discreet in these cases.

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering? 

    Anybody who reads this interview and decides to work with me will get 10% off. Mail me and refer to this article or use code GANYC

    How long have you been a GANYC member?

    1 year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Through long time members Minna Scharff and Barbara Dunn Alfinito.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    European businesses find me through the GANYC website and I love the way we educate each other on the FAM Tours the education committee organizes. I believe sharing knowledge is a great thing. 

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

    Maximize your time in New York City by hiring a tour guide! 

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

  8. Watch The GANYC Apple Awards!

    The GANYC Apple Awards were held on Monday evening at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan, and they were a tremendous success. We thank our host, presenters, award nominees, and guests for making this a night to remember. Extra big thanks to GANYC's Awards Committee for their months of behind-the-scenes work. You can see images and highlights from the red (apple) carpet and the ceremony on our social media-- Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

    The full video of the ceremony is now up on our YouTube channel:

     

    We also have the full video of our In Memoriam reel:

     

     

    And the video package for the 2017 recipient of the GANYC Guiding Spirit Award: Mr. Anthony W. Robins

     

     

  9. Tickets are selling out for the 2017 GANYC APPLE AWARDS!

    THE GUIDES ASSOCIATION OF NYC presents:
    The 2017 GANYC APPLE AWARDS!

    This year the show will be hosted by Mark Nadler who was just nominated for three 2017 Manhattan Association of Cabaret (MAC) awards himself! He was nominated for Outstanding Celebrity Artist, Outstanding Musical Revue, and Outstanding Director! Congratulations Mark!


    Make sure to get tickets now so you won't miss out on seeing additional award-winning presenters!
     
    Including: 
    Shana Farr (Bistro Award-winning cabaret star of In the Still of the Night)
    Bruce Sabath (2-time BWW Award-winning actor currently appearing in Cagney)
    Kristin Singleton (Owner of Kristin's New York and a Brooklyn Experience)
    Tony DiSante (Past President of GANYC)
    Roberta Nusim (President of the Art Deco Society of New York)
    Tim Ries (Director of Park Services for the Highline)
    Janos Dev Marton (Founding blogger at Janos.NYC and contributing author to Untapped Cities)
    Laurie Baker (Founder and Host of OutTakes Interviews on BlogTalkRadio.com)
    Scott Wiener (Founder of Scott's Pizza Tours)
    Elizabeth Kerri Mahon (Author of Scandalous Women)
    Kari Morris (Author of The Girl Who Could See)
    David Sheward (Former editor and critic for Back Stage and founder of Critic's Choice Tours)
    Annie Fitzsimmons (Editor-at-Large and Travel Writer for National Geographic)
    Lorcan Otway (Curator of the Museum of the American Gangster)
    Lynda Kennedy (Vice President of Education & Evaluation at the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum)
    Andrew Yamato (Founder and Blogger at The Whole Cloth)
    Marta Sanders Cooper  (MAC Award-winning cabaret star and a Past President of GANYC)
    Nina Mende (Vice President of The Guides Association of NYC)
    Amada Anderson (Director of the GANYC Apple Awards Show and owner of New York Broadway Tours)
    Ibrahima Diallo (Chair of the GANYC Multilingual Guides Committee and owner of All New York Fun Tours)
    Adrienne Cooper (Chair of the Awards committee and owner of Fun Foodie NYC)

    The 3rd Annual GANYC Apple Awards Ceremony is this Monday, March 6, 2017!  

    SVA THEATRE (333 West 23rd Street) Cocktails at 6:30pm, Doors open 7:45pm, Show starts at 8pm.  

    GANYC will honor organizations and individuals that encourage and promote New York City tourism, culture and preservation while supporting the work and contributions of professional New York City tour guides.


    Use code RUSH at checkout for $20 off general admission!
    GANYC members, please contact the Awards@ganyc.org for discounts.
    All media and press inquiries or press passes contact PublicRelations@ganyc.org)

    Got your tickets yet?

     

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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.

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