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  1. NY Council Members Offer Support to Tourism Industry


    Three members of NYC's City Council-- Keith Powers, Paul Vallone, & Jimmy Van Bramer -- wrote an editorial for Crain's Business: The city should do more to support our burgeoning tourism industry

    They state:

    "According to NYC & Company, the city's marketing organization for tourism, visitors brought in nearly $4.2 billion in 2016. However, the city spends less on tourism promotion than Las Vegas, San Francisco and Barcelona, and the budget for tourism has declined by 22% in the past decade.

    In order to stay competitive, New York needs to create a comprehensive, citywide plan to manage the tourism boom, one that addresses the challenges that visitors face. The plan should revamp our infrastructure, ensure that tourism is an integral part of the city's jobs planning and include all boroughs."

    We couldn't agree more. The city cannot rest on its laurels, nor continue to rely on infrastructure that is, in some case, over a century old.

    They also note that:

    "Finally, we need to expand tourism in the outer boroughs so all New Yorkers benefit from the industry. Tourists tend to congregate in Manhattan hot spots, like Times Square and Central Park. But New York is much more than those iconic areas. There is untapped potential for new tourist destinations in the outer boroughs that could bring vital economic growth, and a new look at our city."

    And we enthusiastically agree here. New York is a large and diverse city, and its tourism is starting to reflect that. One way that GANYC's guides work to represent this growing industry is through our diversity... not just in our pool of guides, but also in the topics and neighborhoods that they cover. Many of our guides are multilingual. Most are multi-borough in knowledge and experience. Many have numerous certifications. And decades of experience.

    We are happy to work as an organization to boost the profile of our industry and our guides... and look forward to working with the City Council on any initiatives they may reach out to us on. Our President, Michael Dillinger, will be writing a letter soon to the Council members to begin that work. And, as always, we are happy to speak to members of the press about what a valuable resource GANYC can be.

  2. GANYC Visits LIC & Washington Heights!


    We wrote earlier this month about the many great & diverse fam tours that GANYC members have offered this Autumn. We cannot thank our members enough who generously offer their time to take and participate in these events. We had two other great events recently-- one organized by us, and another a private event that we were invited to participate in.

    One was another great fam tour. With Amazon's plans to build a new HQ complex in Long Island City, in Queens, creating lots of news and controversy both here and nationally, guide and journalist  Norman Oder gave an excellent tour of the area... focusing on its history and future.

    New York magazine declared LIC the country’s fastest-growing neighborhood, and it is not hard to see why when you are there. New construction going up everywhere you look. But, prior to the incorporation of New York City in 1898, the area was its own separate city (hence the name) and covered a huge chunk of western Queens. GANYC members saw historic homes from that era,  signs of the former industrial past, art institutions that defined the  area at the turn of this century, and its growing future.

    This is an important neighborhood in New York, and one worth exploring as these changes and debates continue.

    The second event this past week was a private event organized by Washington Heights BID, GO^UPTOWN, and many other organizations. They sponsored Taste Uptown 2018, on Wednesday November 28th. GANYC members were invited to attend.

    23 restaurants from the neighborhood rolled out a fabulous spread of food and drink. The representatives of Washington Heights are so proud of their beautiful, historic, diverse, and delicious neighborhood and so excited about GANYC and other organizations bringing more visitors uptown. Attractions include the Dyckman Farmhouse and United Palace Theater, both of which were available for touring in advance. Also, Inwood Hill Park, stunning views along the Hudson, the Audubon Mural Project and the Morris-Jumel mansion. Wednesday's program included remarks by sponsors, a slide show of Washington Heights in autumn, and some great music too.

    Thanks to member Leigh Hallingby for the summary of that event.

    During the winter months, we'll be offering at least one more PDP (professional development program), and we have some site inspections and fam tours in the works too.  Stay tuned for those as we finalize & announce them.

     

  3. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Leanne Staples


    Introducing GANYC guide: Leanne Staples

    Company: Shoot New York City

    Phone: 914-582-3474

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    8+ years.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    My love of NYC.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking photography tours.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Sharing my passion for NYC and photography with people from around the world.

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

    Yes, on BronxNet Television.
     




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

    I provide walking photo tours all year.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    April & October are my busiest months.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    150 Excellent Reviews on TripAdvisor!

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

    15% discount.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    2 years.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    A search through Google.

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

    Everything takes longer than you think it will. It's better to get to know an area well than to try to see and do everything all at once. Even New Yorkers don't get to do that.


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

  4. NY1: Do You Have What it Takes to Be an NYC Tour Guide?


    NY1 participated with the Guides Association of NYC  (GANYC) for a segment that aired Thursday night entitled, "Do You Have  What it Takes to Be an NYC Tour Guide?". We thank NY1-- an excellent  source for local journalism-- for speaking with several GANYC members  about our profession (see accompanying article, which has different info  & quotes than the aired piece).

    The  NYC licensing exam, created by former GANYC member Justin Ferate, is an important step to ensure that those giving tours in NYC have a tested, basic base of knowledge before they serve as the ambassadors to our city. GANYC continues to work to promote licensed guides, and the  importance of our profession to preserving this city's economy, culture, and history. We are career guides who take pride in providing unique tours to both visitors and locals. And the range of tours that GANYC members offer is as diverse as the city itself.

    We  do wish, however, that rather than focus on an angle about 2 perceived inaccuracies(*) over the course of 4 full tours that the reporter took  (including one GANYC fam tour-- "When New York Was Nieuw Amsterdam", with Joe Svehlak), that the reporter had also mentioned what she learned  and experienced on these 4 tours. Did she learn anything new? What was the experience of the tour like? What was unique about each? 20 seconds of information out of hours worth of touring is not representative about any tour or guide, though we always encourage guides to keep growing and learning. That's why GANYC offers our own internal Certification Course, as well as fam tours, PDPs, and other education offerings.

    We  will also note that the reporter was an invited guest on our fam tour,  which was not highlighted in the segment. There are over 3,000 licensed  guides in NYC and GANYC's nearly 400 members are the best of the best. We encourage all licensed NYC guides to join GANYC and become part of the great family we have built, as we all learn and benefit from each other.

    Thanks to all who watched the segment, and we encourage everyone to seek out GANYC as the go-to source for tourism in New York.

    Article: Do You Have What it Takes to Be an NYC Tour Guide?

     

     

    [*Regarding the 2 minor inaccuracies the reporter found over the course of 8 hours of touring. The first example, the guide got the amount of the sale correct... the flub was over where that sale ranked in the list of real estate deals (it is among the higher). The second wasn't even an inaccuracy at all. The guide states: "This is the New York Marble -- this is one of the first secular cemeteries in the city." The reporter points out that the other, nearby cemetery with a very similar name was the first secular cemetery in NY, and that the one he was at was the second secular cemetery. The second such cemetery is, by definition, "one of the first secular cemeteries", exactly what the guide said, and is not 'almost true', but 100% true. The reporter found no flaws or quibbles with the Greenwich Village tour she took, nor with Joe Svehlak's excellent New Amsterdam fam tour.]

  5. A Great Autumn of Fam Tours!

     

    One of the great benefits of GANYC membership for the NYC guide community are our regular fam ("familiarization") tours. Every month, numerous GANYC members offer their fellow members a free (or low cost) tour that they developed themselves. This is one of the greatest ways that we all network with, and learn from, each other. These are common in the travel profession, but GANYC has long worked to take our offerings above and beyond.

    This Autumn has been a great example of the diversity of tours that GANYC guides offer, which in turns reflect the amazing diversity of NYC neighborhoods and attractions. Joe Svehlak gave several tours, including two tours of Harlem (Mt Morris Park, and Strivers Row & Hamilton Heights),  one on Czechoslovakian heritage on the Upper East Side, and the history of New Amsterdam. Stan O'Connor gave a tour of lower Manhattan focused on connections to the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland. Jeremy Wilcox gave a Fall tour of Brooklyn's Prospect Park. And foliage was a theme of a day trip up to the Hudson Valley, to visit the Lyndhurst Mansion and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Another well-received day trip was organized by Andrea Coyle around the Gateway National Recreation Area... with stops at the Salt Marsh Nature Center, Floyd Bennet Field, the Rockaways, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Mel Wasserman took members to Industry City, in Brooklyn, to visit a guitar factory, and an interactive exhibition on MC Escher. Earlier this month, Bruce Bernstein led a great hike around historic, and architecturally stunning, Forest Hills in Queens. And Leigh Hallingby introduced members to the expansive Audubon Mural Project in upper Manhattan. All examples of the great diverse niches of our hundreds of members.

    We cover each fam tour that GANYC offers on our social media... be sure that you are following us there!

    Thank you to each guide who has offered these fam tours for us over the years, and we look forward to another great season of them!

     

  6. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Harvey Paul Davidson


    Introducing GANYC guide: Harvey Paul Davidson

    Company: AdHoc Committee

    Phone: 908-499-3735

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    12 years.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    My background and experience in the hospitality industry, including meeting and event planning, and working with tour operators.  Also, obtaining a Master's degree in Tourism and Travel Management.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    General NYC orientation step-on motorcoach tours and walking tours of specific neighborhoods.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Manhattan financial district; Brooklyn neighborhoods.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Having tourists appreciate, learn and enjoy New York City.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Spring and summer.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    GANYC recently awarded me a Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding dedication to the GANYC Industry Relations Committee.

    Past awards as a meeting and event planner include the following: Selected as “one of the ten best meeting planners of the year” by Meetings & Conventions magazine; Designated a “Certified Hospitality Marketing Executive” (CHME) by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International; Designated a “Certified Meeting Professional” (CMP) by the Convention Liaison Council and I now have emeritus status; Meeting News magazine Editors’ Choice Award “in recognition of one of the year’s most outstanding and innovative ideas in meeting         planning”; Meeting Professionals International “Distinguished Leadership” Award; Greater New York Chapter of Meeting Professionals International  “Distinguished Service” Award; and, “Hall of Fame” Award Successful Meetings magazine “Gold Award for Meeting Planning”.

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

    One evening attending the Broadway play "Chicago," I was sitting alone in a box as it was the only seat available and my student tour group was spread out throughout the theater.  Before the play started they kept waving to me and I waived back and many in the audience thought I was a celebrity.  All of sudden, Tom Hanks, although not a patron, came in and sat beside me and the play started.  At intermission he ducked out but people in the audience started taking my photo and handing up their programs and asking for my autograph.  They also wanted to know where Tom Hanks went.  He probably went backstage as his wife, Rita Wilson, was the lead star in the play.  I tried explaining I was not a celebrity but they kept taking my photo and wanting me to sign their programs.  The second act began and when the play was over I asked Tom Hanks to sign my program for my student group which he did.  We then left the box. He went backstage again and I went to the exit where people were waiting for me, taking my photo and again asking for my autograph.  I crossed the street where I previously arranged to meet the students after the play and gave them the program with Tom Hank's autograph.

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

    I strongly urge my fellow guides to attend the conventions of the WFTGA and NFTGA as well as NYC & Company's Tourism Ready 1.0 when offered for free this coming spring.  All the aforementioned events have educational programs designed to prepare them to be better tour guides and offer business management skills.  Guides should also participate in GANYC's FAM trips, site inspections and professional development programs which are often free or have a minimal cost to attend.

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

    I'm available to offer advice and suggestions to my fellow guides on how to seek out tour guide opportunities.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since 2006.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    I was working on a double decker sighting bus and a fellow guide told me about GANYC.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Most definitely. My efforts and accomplishments at GANYC resulted in recognition by the National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations where I was elected to the board as Vice President and by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations where I was selected as the North American Representative. Being a member of GANYC, NFTGA and WFTGA has allowed me to attend industry events to meet with domestic and international leaders of tourism organizations and to speak at industry events and have consultation assignments.

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

    If you plan to visit the Statue of Liberty make sure you are on the first ferry out and have a ticket to visit the crown.


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

     

  7. GANYC Announces Bowery Boys as hosts of 5th-Annual Apple Awards

    The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC)  is proud to announce that award-winning podcast hosts The Bowery Boys (Thomas Meyers and Gregory Young) will host the 5th Annual GANYC Apple Awards on March 4, 2019 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.

    As chroniclers of the history & culture of our great city, we are delighted that The Bowery Boys will be hosting this event in its 5th year. We thank all the people and organizations who have participated in the past, and we look forward to an even more amazing ceremony on March 4. Tickets will go on sale later this year.

    But first, we are still in the nominations phase for all categories! All active GANYC members are encouraged to submit their nominations: HERE. Nominations may be submitted until the end of this month. For categories like books, exhibitions, etc, the only eligible nominees were those made available to the public (released/opened) between October 1st 2017 and September 30 2018.

    Final voting will be open to GANYC members starting next month, by secret ballot, after the final nominees are selected.

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

  8. Friends of the Lower West Side on CBS!

    Our GANYC family may be interested in watching the CBS religion and culture program "How We Remember" airing on Sunday, October 21st at 3:30pm (EST).  It features Joe Svehlak's group the Friends of the Lower West Side in the last segment about their preservation efforts.  It is pertaining to memory, memorials and landmarks,  something we guides deal with in our profession.  Set your DVRs!

    It can also be accessed now on Google if you subscribe to CBS.

  9. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Megan Marod


    Introducing GANYC guide: Megan Marod!

    Company: Experience the Big Apple

    Phone: 817-592-1647

    Social Media: Instagram

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    5 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Thanksgiving.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I’ve always been a history nerd and I’ve always been a performer.  Guiding is the best of both worlds!

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    Walking, bus, chauffeured, boat.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Shopping, food, Gossip Girl.
     

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    The most gratifying part of my work is knowing that I helped someone have a great time on their vacation.  I know how hard it can be to save up for a trip, and you want every dollar you spend to count.  It is great knowing that my experience can help someone make the most out of the experience, whether it be recommending restaurant, giving great insider shopping tips, pointing them towards their perfect Broadway show, or teaching them something about the history of the city that connects with today’s news and helps them see the whole world in a new way.

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

    I’ve given tours to the 76ers basketball team, Susan Sarandon, and the All Blacks rugby team, and cast member of ‘Matilda’ on Broadway.  I’ve also arranged for Rockettes and Broadway cast members to come out and say hello to my tourists.  Celebrities are always fun, however, everyone is deserving of the same amount of attention and TLC.  I try to treat all my clients as celebrities.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    1 year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    All the guides know about GANYC! :-)

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Anytime you join a network of people, your business is helped.  Guides can recommend other guides for jobs, guides can share knowledge of the city with each other, and guides can simply help another guide through a sticky business situation.  GANYC is a wonderful support system!

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

    If you are a shopper, visit www.chicmi.com to see what sample sales are happening.  They are the BEST deals you’re gonna find.

    Also - visit Dominique Ansel Bakery.  I’m obsessed.

  10. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Leigh Hallingby


    Introducing GANYC guide: Leigh Hallingby!

    Company: Harlem Walks

    Phone: 551-404-7514

    Social Media: Facebook

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    3.5 years.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    Love of going on walking tours in NYC and beyond.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Two public art tours: The Audubon Bird Mural Project in Hamilton Heights, and The Murals and Mosaics of East Harlem.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Seeing people on my tours get excited about the sights I show them.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    April - November.

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

    Yes, The Urban Audubon just did a profile about the Audubon Mural Project, and the tours of it that I give, in the Fall 2018 issue.



    Have you or your company received any awards?

    Yes, I was inducted into Special Libraries Association Hall of Fame in June 2017.

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

    My tours are very reasonably priced at $35 for tours that last 2 - 2.5 hours.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    1 year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    My friend Maggie Brown.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    So many ways! Great networking with other tour guides who have so much expertise and experience to share. Found website designer who did a terrific job for me. GANYC gives me opportunities to lead FAM tours and thus show other guides what I have to offer. GANYC sponsors professional development workshops such as how to market your tours. FB page is great place to ask quick questions and get answers, plus keep up a conversation among ourselves. Members of GANYC are truly nice people, trying to help one another to succeed.

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

    A Broadway theater is one that has 500 or more seats. An Off-Broadway theater has 100 - 499 seats. An Off-Off-Broadway theater has fewer than 100 seats.


    (For more info or to book a tour with Leigh, check out her 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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