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  1. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Christine Lazzara


    Introducing GANYC guide: Christine Lazzara

    Company: Just Ask Christine, Custom Curated NYC Experiences

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram

    Phone: 917-913-5962

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    I've been a guide officially for 3 years, unofficially for many more!  Local to NYC, I am the girl people call when they want to know where to go, what to do or to be shown around!

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    March through June seem to be my busiest months.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    My love for my city which never wavers.  I can't help but get excited about sharing with others the infinite magical treasures that New York City has to offer.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    The most gratifying part of my work is helping people accomplish their bucket list items and so much more.  To be a the facilitator of someone else's unforgettable experience and helping to create beautiful memories for others, fills my heart and makes me proud to be doing what I love.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    I offer all types of tours as my business is custom oriented.  Walking, Private, Public, Custom, Mystery .. anything goes!

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    I offer Custom Tours to the wish list of my client, and where they get to see New York City like a local, with a local.  My most prevalent clients are families and first time visitors who I often help with planning as well as guiding.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    I became a member of GANYC in March 2017.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Colleagues.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Meetings are very informative and keep me in the loop.  Job Board is great for leads as well.

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

    Stop, look around and take it all in, even if things are speeding by you on all sides.  Talk to Locals.  And, look up!  There is so much beauty and oftentimes it's above you.


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

  2. Tour Guides Are The Solution To, Not The Cause Of, Overtourism

    GANYC members are likely very familiar by now with controversial new regulations barring guided tours from areas of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In effect May 16, these regulations ban commercial tours from the new Statue of Liberty museum, the Statue's pedestal, as well as the buildings on Ellis Island. Some exceptions will be made during inclimate weather or in the cold winter months, where guides can make a brief intro indoors.

    This controversy was covered by the NY Times, ABC 7 Eyewitness News, Curbed, Travel Weekly, and others.  You can also read GANYC's official statement on these new regulations: here.

    GANYC made several compromise offers to the NPS-- a certification program for guides touring at these sites, a code of conduct for guides, etc-- and unfortunately we did not receive a favorable response.

    Professional, licensed guides have nothing but respect for National Parks (one of the crown jewels of this great nation) and its amazing rangers, but they cannot meet the demand of increased visitors to sites like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and other great sites. Professional commercial tour operators fill that gap.

    Guides are with visitors every step of their journey— from the security queues in Battery Park (which involves navigating a mess of predatory third-party ticket vendors that the city seems unable or unwilling to do anything about) to helping move groups on and off the boats to navigating the islands themselves— ensuring efficiency. We offer a full-service experience: customer service, answering questions, and acting as ambassadors of this rich history. Audio guides and plaques cannot answer questions, they cannot share their stories and humanity, they cannot provide that human touch that make lasting memories and connections to a place.

    Moreover, the NYC guide community has professionals who speak every language. GANYC itself first began as a multilingual guides association. Visitors, foreign or otherwise, crave a customized & time-sensitive experience that the audio devices & rangers just cannot provide, despite best intentions. Foreign guests more than most will be hurt by this ban.

    As concern overcrowding and "over-tourism" grows, it pushes more & more public sentiment against tourism altogether. Commercial tours are not the cause of overcrowding in big travel destinations, but, with our flags and umbrellas and lightsabers, we are the most visible and easy scapegoat.

    And it is not just Liberty & Ellis Islands. In the past year, we have seen record crowds in NYC from the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, down in Dyker Heights during Christmas, and many other places. Will calls for bans for tours at those locations come soon? If the city doesn't take preemptive action to make NYC more friendly-- a reprioritization of public space, a new model of urban planning-- then perhaos they will.

    GANYC remains committed to finding solutions, as we are on the ground every day with the tourist experience. As we were reminded during our recent trip to Washington DC for Destination Capitol Hill, 15.7 million American jobs and $2.5 trillion in economic output annually are created by the travel industry, as are 1 in 10 US jobs. What we do matters. The growing antipathy toward tourists will keep resulting in more bans and attacks on our profession if we do not keep standing up and pushing forward.

    GANYC remains committed to working with any city or federal agency that want solutions, and not shortsighted restrictions.
     

  3. Destination Capitol Hill

    Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) members traveled down to our nation's capitol this week to attend the US Travel Association's annual Destination Capitol Hill event. This 2-day event involves educating both travel professionals on how to make their voices heard, and then a full day of meetings with congressional staff on Capitol Hill on issues important to US travel. In attendance for GANYC were Harvey Paul Davidson, Emma Guest-Consales, Patrick Casey, and Jeremy Wilcox. With the former two representing New Jersey and the latter representing New York, GANYC was able to meet with members from two states, expanding our influence.

    On Wednesday, DCH attendees gathered at the Grand Hyatt to hear from the US Travel Association (represented by Roger Dow, Tori Barnes, Erik Hansen, Will Brown, & others) and their invited guests. We were reminded of the power of travel: it generates $2.5T in economic output, creates 15.7 million US jobs, and has created $69 billion travel trade surplus. Given the state of global politics, and America's changing standing in the world, we cannot take it for granted that international travelers will choose us for their vacation or business travel needs. We must work to remain an attractive and welcoming destination for travelers.

    One featured speaker on Wednesday was former congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS), who discussed with Ms. Barnes on how constituents can most effectively lobby and reach their representatives. All the events that day were followed by a networking reception.

    Thursday was the key day: the Capitol Hill visits. Between the 4 members in attendance, GANYC had well over a dozen scheduled meetings with Senate and Congressional legislative directors, as well as a couple dozen packets to drop off at other New York & New Jersey offices. It should be noted that, with these meetings, it is fairly rare to meet with the Representative or Senator themselves, but rather it is a sit-down meeting with their staff responsible for legislative matters. For those who never done something like this, it is highly recommended. A visit to the Senate and House office buildings-- which are open to the public-- is a great way to restore faith in our democratic system and truly engage with it. Most of the staffers you meet with are, not unlike tour guides, very busy but absolutely in love with their work. GANYC members had meetings with the staff of Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Menendez, Booker, and Representatives Pascrell, Nadler, Clarke, Espaillat, Peter King, and many others.

    Some of the issues that the US Travel Association wished to push representatives on included: the renewal of Brand USA (a public-private partnership created by the Travel Promotion Act, to market the US to international travelers), the passage of H.R. 1996 (to rename the important visa waiver program as the Secure Travel Partnership, & other related purposes), the passage of H.R. 1225 (Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service... Senate version is S.500), and a renewal of America's travel infrastructure.

    GANYC and its Board have worked to make our organization more than a mere collection of local guides, but also a globally-recognized face of the travel & tourism in America's largest city. Events like Destination Capitol Hill, as well as our trips to events around the world for the NFTGA or  WFTGA help boost this profile. We are thankful for our members support, and we will keep working to make sure that people know to turn to GANYC for the best information & experience related to New York City travel.

  4. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Stephen Dym


    Introducing GANYC guide: Stephen Dym

    Company: Wed in NYC

    Social Media: Facebook

    Phone: 917-855-6830

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    15 years.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    As a Native New Yorker, public speaker, performance artist and history buff it was a natural fit.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    I am a wedding officiant and specialize in tourist-oriented custom elopement style weddings in public spaces in NYC (like Central Park and Dumbo).

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Helping people celebrate each other and sharing their joy.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    April to December.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    Weddingwire’s people choice award 2017.

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

    I will be happy to offer commission/finders fee for referrals. I look forward  to referring my clients and their guests to activities and tours with partners  and GANYC members and to other collaborations.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    6 months.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Word of mouth.

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

    NYC is a great place for tourist-oriented, elopement style weddings. Iconic sights such as Central Park, Top of the Rock, and Brooklyn Bridge Park (DUMBO) offer free or almost free exciting venues and the entertainment and dining opportunities are among the best on the planet.


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

  5. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Explorica Tours


    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- Deirdre Rivas, of Explorica Tours

    145 Tremont St., 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02111

    Website: https://www.explorica.com/

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


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


    What year did your business open?

    2000.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    Teachers with open minds for adventure!

    What drove you to work or create this company?

    I have been a licensed DC and NYC tour guide/director for 10 years and I have a HUGE passion for a student travel. I am also an organized leader and TD trainer, so becoming the TD Supervisor was a logical next step when I decided to get of the road for awhile.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Knowing that we can provide life changing experiences for students.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    March-June.


    (About Explorica: Founded in 2000, Explorica helps teachers create educational tours full of authentic, interactive learning experiences. They specialize in connecting teachers and students to new cultures, languages and people on educational tours across the globe.

    Explorica’s combination of exclusive online tools and personalized service enables them to create tours uniquely suited to provide both the best value and the most customized tours in the industry.

    Every Explorica tour includes flights or bus transportation, accommodations, on-tour transportation, most meals and an expert, full-time Tour Director dedicated to your group. And with veteran Program Consultants, Customer Care Representatives, and comprehensive, user-friendly website, they’re always here to support you from the moment you contact them, to the minute you shout bon voyage!

    Join more than 1 million teachers and students in experiencing the world on Explorica tours.)

  6. 2019 GANYC Apple Awards: Full Video!


    We once again thank everyone who made our 5th-Annual GANYC Apple Awards such an amazing evening. We as tour guides professionally celebrate this city and we created these Awards to honor the other people and institutions who help tell its story, and keep its history alive. With our wonderful hosts The Bowery Boys, we believe we did just that on March 4 at the SVA Theater. 

    Missed the festivities? Here is the video of the ceremony, and our other video packages:
     









    We look forward to celebrating with you again next year!
     

  7. GANYC Celebrated 5th-Annual Apple Awards!


    The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) presented its 5th-annual Apple Awards at a festive ceremony on March 4 at the SVA Theater, in Chelsea. GANYC honored numerous organizations and people with Apple Awards for encouraging and promoting New York City tourism, culture and preservation while supporting the work and contributions of professional New York City tourist guides. 

    The ceremony, hosted by the award-winning Bowery Boys was a smashing success. Their humor and love of New York was contagious throughout the auditorium. Presenters included Nathan Kensinger, Jenny Dorsey, Jose Raudales, and Milly Tamarez, among others. In addition to the entertainment by our host, presenters, and winners, guests also viewed videos about the work guides do, and our In Memoriam reel of New Yorkers and institutions that we lost in the past year.

    Images and videos of the GANYC Apple Awards are being posted on our website and social media channels throughout the week.

    Here is the complete list of 2018 GANYC Apple Award Winners:

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Culture

    New York Transit Museum

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Tourism

    Paul Torres, Head of Sales at Statue Cruises

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Preservation

    Municipal Art Society of New York

    Outstanding NYC Website

    NYPL Digital Collections

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Photography

    Andrew Garn, 'Pigeon with a View'

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Radio Program or Podcast (Audio/Spoken Word)

    'Joanna and Kevin's Big Show', Kevin Fitzpatrick & Joanna Holliday

    Outstanding Achievement in Fiction NYC Book Writing

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan

    Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction NYC Book Writing

    Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 (The History of NYC Series), by Mike Wallace

    Outstanding Achievement in Essay/Article/Series Writing

    Death of a Once Great City: The fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence, by Kevin Baker

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Food

    ReThink Food NYC Inc

    Outstanding NYC Museum Exhibitions

    Poetry in Motion at 25, at The New York Transit Museum

    In addition, GANYC presented two legacy awards: The Lifetime Achievement  Award was presented to Drama Book Shop owner Rozanne Seelen, and the Guiding Spirit Award was presented to Nina Mende!

    The dozens of nominees across 11 Outstanding Achievement categories were announced by the GANYC Awards Committee in December; visit https://www.ganyc.org/2019-ganyc-apple-awards to view the complete list of nominees. The GANYC membership voted on the nominees through mid-January, leading up to the awards ceremony on March 4, where the winners were announced.

  8. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Ibrahima Diallo


    Introducing GANYC guide: Ibrahima Diallo

    Company: All New York Fun Tours

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

    Phone: 646-205-8188

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    12 Years (Since 2007)

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    1- Passion for New York City,
    2- Giving back to the city (thank you to the city for allowing me to be another immigrant story).

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    People will never forget how you made them feel the first time, or the last time they visited NYC.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Private Customized (by walking or usage of vehicle), and Photography (photoshoot and workshops).

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Any booking (just kidding); April to December.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor in 2013 & 2016.

    Have you or your company been featured  in print, broadcast or online media? 

    The following ones come to mind, and I am grateful:

    1/ Quoted Magazine front page and coverage, https://www.quotedmagazine.com/vol-1
     


     

     

    2/ Huffington Post Blog Article

    3/ Quoted in the Brownstoner.

    4/ 2012 PRI's The World (NPR): NYC Through the eyes of Senegalese immigrant tour guide.


    What celebrities (if any) have patronized your business or organization?  Any fun stories about when they visit your business?

    Mostly officials (some mayors and influential business owners), not always funny but I make sure that we all have fun. Unrelated perhaps, on one tour we drove by Tom Cruise, and my client asked to get off the vehicle, I quickly responded have a sit because we have more coming.

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

    Our website www.allnyfuntours.com will have the most up to date information on that.

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

    It's always a discount when you are a GANYC member, just mention it and you will have a reduction. Since we offer variety of tours at different prices, it will be based on which one you pick.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since 2012.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Through colleagues, other members.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Made me (thus the business) more visible and trustworthy to agencies.

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

    There's something for everyone, at every corner of NYC, just take it easy and you will have an incredible experience, no need to rush, you will never see it all, the best way to enjoy NYC is to enjoy every bit of it.


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

  9. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Stan O'Connor

    Introducing GANYC guide: Stan O'Connor

    Company: Isle Of New York Tours, llc

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

    Phone: 917-716-4521

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since the 1990s.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    April to January.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I want to show off New York City for the wonder that it is. I enjoy getting to know people from around the world.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking, boat, limo, coach, even subways.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    When the customer more fully understands what they've experienced.

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

    All through the month of March, the US, UK, Canada and Ireland Tour of Lower Manhattan. The tour ties together old and new contributions of these four countries, from 300 years ago to the present day.

    Private tours: $200 for up to 10 people.
    25% discount, $175 for your group if you are reading this. Use the code: Swords.

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

    I give fam tours that sometimes go into geology, architectural history Houma and land use. They are free. And I'm happy to Mentor new guides.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since 2001, though sometimes I renewed late and there were lapses.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Other guides.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    It has certainly taught me a lot about professionalism, street knowledge and better ways of doing business.

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

    Get an unlimited ride Metrocard for the amount of time that you're staying here. Use the Subways and buses, because they are more reliable than car traffic.


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

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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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