1. Tips For Tour Guides: Avoiding Scams, pt. 2

    Scam emails are a regular problem for many in the tour industry. These type of scams will be emailed to countless tour guides... the scammers will have skimmed email addresses of tour guides from GANYC's site or other source. Our goal is to help train you to learn how to spot, and avoid, them. 

    We previously wrote about the popular "Redstone Arsenal Military Base" one that made the rounds several times last year, with a breakdown on the red flags. We received a new one today, and we will break this one down for you as well. Here is the email:


    I will like you to organize a tour package for my family of 6 people.

    It will be a 5-days tour program. It will start on the 24th. May-
    28th. May (5 days) 2018

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could send us an itinerary via
    email that will cover the 5- days tour.The itinerary should include
    sightseeing to historical places,arts and culture.

    And if you have accommodation too.

    Get back to me if you can take care of this booking. And I hope you do
    accept credit cards for advance payment.

    Best regard,

    James Pearson

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

    1. The email purports to be from an American, but the use of English and grammar here is not that of a native English speaker.
    2. The key one that is the same across all these type of scams: a too-good-to-be true offer that aims to get you seeing so many dollar signs that your common sense will temporarily escape you. In this particular case, the sender says that he wants a private 5-day tour for his family. If real, this would mean potentially 40 hours of private work, which would be a HUGE payday. If real.
    3. The request itself-- "sightseeing to historical places,arts and culture"-- is very generic, because it wants to appeal to all guides.
    4. The request for accomodation assistance. Again, the request is so huge as to have you seeing so many dollar signs, you ignore your gut warnings.
    5. It ends with an inquiry about credit cards, a classic scam email red-flag.

    While not a red-flag, the scammer did leave a clue for you... the phone # at the bottom... if you're wise enough to do some research. A Google search of that number brings up many websites warning of scams associated with that number. Google is your friend!

    So what is the ultimate goal of this scammer? There are some variations, but in general, this is how it would work: You would quote the sender a specific cost for these services... say, $2000. The sender would then you a payment-- using a bad check or more likely a stolen/hacked card-- for way more, say $4000. The sender would then immediately email you, saying they made an error in payment, and insist that you immediately/quickly send them a money transfer for the difference. So you would then send them money, and then find out their payment bounced. In which case, you are now out the money you sent them, but also responsible for the fees for the bounced/cancelled fake payment they sent.

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

  2. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Gwen Strum

    Introducing GANYC guide: Gwen Strum!

    Company: Walk, Talk & Roll with Gwen

    Phone: 347 875 9422


    Social Media: Facebook


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 1990.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    May through Christmas.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    When I was 8 years old, we had a class trip to Radio City Music Hall & before the Xmas Show we were given a tour. I had a light bulb moment & said to myself I can do this, I want to do this! So when I became an adult I found out the requirements & made it happen.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    Coach Bus, Limousine & Walking.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    My neighborhood Tour: it's a One Hour walk in Briarwood, Queens where the real people live. I meet them at the Subway which is also where NYPD Transit District 20 is located we meet the Police, then we walk to see the Car Wash seen in the 1988 Eddie Murphy film "Coming to America". Go inside a typical American Supermarket, walk to an Old Fashioned Barber Shop pass by and take a peek inside a Bodega from there go to my street & then into my Apartment Bldg!, not my apt just in & around the Bldg... (if & only if I feel comfortable w/the people) I will/would invite them into my apt for tea & cookies). After that, walk over and around Archbishop Molloy Senior High School where our current Governor (& probable next POTUS) Andrew Cuomo graduated from in 1975, Ray Romano went here too... as well as basketball player Kenny Anderson & David Caruso (TV Actor) of NYPD Blue & CSI: Miami.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Thanking people for choosing NYC as their vacation destination.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since January 2017.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Hasn't helped yet, just gives me a feeling of camaraderie.

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

    Get a copy of Where magazine, that's all I can think of at this moment.

    If they take a taxi, always get a receipt from the driver so should anything be left in the taxi at least they have the driver's info and have a 50/50 chance to get that item back.

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

  3. GANYC Apple Awards Winners!

    The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) presented its 4th-annual GANYC Apple Awards at a festive ceremony on March 12 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 Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell was a smashing success. Presenters included Michael Henry Adams,  Ben Kallos, Stephanie Cowell, Teel James Glenn, and others. In addition to the entertainment by our host, presenters, and winners, guests also viewed videos showing NYC tourist guides at work, and an In Memoriam reel of New Yorkers and institutions that we lost in the past year.

    Images and videos of the GANYC Apple Awards are available on our website and social media channels.


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

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of New York City Culture

    The Art Deco Society of New York

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Tourism

    NYC & Company, Tourism Ready training program

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Preservation

    Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

    Outstanding NYC Website

    Curbed New York

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


    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Food (Anniversaries and Special Accomplishments)

    Breaking Bread NYC

    Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction Book Writing (Published between October 2016- September 2017)

    World War I New York: A Guide To The City's Enduring Ties To The Great War (Kevin C. Fitzpatrick)

    Outstanding Achievement in Fiction Book Writing (Published between October 2016-September 2017)

    The Knish War on Rivington Street (Joanne Oppenheim, author & Jon Davis, illustrator)

    Outstanding Achievement in Essay/Article/Series Writing (Published October 2016- September 2017)

     Robert Moses and the decline of the NYC Subway System (Emily Nonko, author)

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Museum Exhibitions (October 2016-September 2017)

    New York City at Its Core (Museum of the City of New York)

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Photography (Singular Image Published October 2016-September 2017)

    Nineteenth Street, The Secret Lives of Buildings (Marc Yankus)

    In addition, GANYC presented two legacy awards: The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to "Mr. Apollo" Billy Mitchell, and the Guiding Spirit Award was presented to two guides-- Art and Susan Zuckerman!

    The dozens of nominees across 11 Outstanding Achievement categories were announced by the GANYC Awards Committee in December; visit 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 12, where the winners were announced.

  4. GANYC in Philly!

    Last week, numerous GANYC members traveled down to Philadelphia to participate in the National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (NFTGA) biennial conference, at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District. This was a fun & productive event, and Philly was a great host.

    The event kicked off with a great reception at the Philadelphia History Museum. On day one, we were welcomed by VisitPhilly, got a presentation by the US Travel Association on the state of tourism in the US, then a surprisingly rousing session on the tax side of tour guiding, an update on the WFTGA conference in January (in the Republic of Georgia), a session with the National Parks Service, and a panel of key industry partners. On the second day, we had a session on integrating tech into our tours, a discussion of international tourism into the US, and a final segment on incorporating minority perspectives into our work.

    Many of our attending members will be giving detailed reports on the conference at the March 7th membership meeting (at the Brooklyn Children's Museum). We hope to see you there! And you can visit our Instagram to see numerous photos from the trip!

  5. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Michael Dillinger

    Introducing GANYC guide: Michael Dillinger!

    Company: Dillinger's New York

    Phone: 917-400-5576


    Social Media: Facebook


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    9 and 1/2 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    My year is fairly busy all the time.  Jan. and Feb. are the slowest but I can still manage to get about 2-3 days a week even then.  I'm very lucky in that I try to diversify and work for companies as well as for myself.

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

    Yes.  There was an article in Huffington Post on one of my tours.

    The Right Way to Tour NYC’s 9/11 Memorial

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    It really was an accident of sorts.  My late partner had a catering/party planning company and there was prospective client looking to have a small (40 person) wedding in NYC and wanted something unique.  I hatched the idea that we could rent a vehicle and do a custom tour built around the couples story.  How and where they met, important places in there relationship, that kind of thing.  I then heard that we'd need a guide license so I went down and took the test.  Got the license but the client passed.  So I just started looking around to see if I could make a little extra money. Thanks to some luck with Tripadvisor reviews for a tour I was doing with one company, I was quickly able to build into a full time career.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Private tours are done on foot and utilize the subway system to get from on neighborhood to the other.  I also do harbor tours on New York Water Taxi, step on work and work as a Tour Director for over the road student tours.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Seeing my home town through new eyes.  Every day I get to experience the city fresh.  And I get to share with people from all over the world places they have dreamed of seeing.  For many a trip to NYC is the chance of a lifetime and it's such an honor to help them experience it.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    8 years.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Early on I looked up professional guide organizations in NYC and GANYC came up.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    I knew very little about guiding or how the business worked when I started.  Kind of fell into guiding by accident.  Meeting colleagues and hearing about different companies and jobs was a big help.  So were the FAM tours and education opportunities.  And having gotten to know some members early on led to work because they could recommend me for a job.  It's been one of the best ways to build a professional network.

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

    I love to help them really experience NYC.  I teach them how to use the subway.  If you really want to know NYC,  you have to ride the subway.

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


  6. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Myra Alperson

    Introducing GANYC guide: Myra Alperson!

    Company: NoshWalks

    Phone: 212-222-2243


    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Over 30 years.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Food tours, with history and culture built in - walking only, with occasional public bus connections.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    I uniquely focus on food in ethnic neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, plus two neighborhoods in Newark and (to come in 2018) two neighborhoods within Paterson, New Jersey. Many Noshwalks destinations are unknown to tourists, and the idea is to support these small, mainly immigrant, businesses (restaurants, markets, bakeries) that sell delicious food but also strengthen their neighborhoods. I've been leading tours like this since 1983 (Hungry Pedalers Gourmet Bicycle Tours, 1983-1990) and Noshwalks, which I launched in 2000.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Spring and fall.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    No awards, per se, but I've gotten extensive press coverage, including four stories on NY1 TV, a feature in the NY Times, and a profile in Manhattan Users Guide (2015) that I didn't know was coming. I'm currently developing a full program of Bronx Noshwalks ("Nosh the Bronx") that I hope will get more recognition as an incentive to get more people to go there.

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

    See above. Here is the main Noshwalks feature (NY Times). I've also been listed in the NY Times travel section twice, including Frugal Traveler column in November 2015 (link to 2011 feature). Noshwalks is listed in a several NYC guides - I've been in Frommer's, Rough Guide, etc. - not sure which guides currently feature Noshwalks.

    Also: 2009 feature in the NY Daily News.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?


    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    I get to make some money doing what I love, building on my own vision and creativity, and on my terms!

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

    I will give GANYC MEMBERS a significant discount, i.e. I'll charge food costs and a bit more, rather than my full fee. Hopefully, they'll show their appreciation with a tip.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Not sure... 8 years?

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?


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

    Get out of Manhattan... or to areas of Manhattan NOT in  your tour books! When leading custom tours, I always advise people, especially out-of-towners, to take one of my tours in the boroughs.

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


  7. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Amada Anderson

    Introducing GANYC guide: Amada Anderson!

    Company: New York Broadway Tours

    Phone: (646) 246-5844


    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 2011.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours and step-on guide work.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    YES! I offer musical theatre walking tours based off of Broadway shows, trivia, and history. My company was inspired while standing next to the Jefferson Market Courthouse and sharing the story of the death of Stanford White and Harry Thaw. It was made famous by a song in the musical Ragtime called "Crime of the Century".  I started singing the song on my tour and then I realized that it would be really fun to sing along to famous musicals outside some of the Broadway Theatre's and so my tours are interactive and fun. It's something for every age but mostly upcoming actors who want an inside behind the scenes scoop on working on Broadway and New York City. On our Haunted Broadway Walking tour you can learn dance moves to the Time Warp or even Michael Jackson's Thriller dance.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    I am open all year round, but a majority of my tours are best taken March-December.

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

    Yes, I was recently featured on YesBroadway by GoldStar for my Haunted Broadway walking tour and Thriller Dance Workshop and Ghost Tour of the East Village, on Peek's website as a case study, and recently in Time Out New York.

    Here's a snippet of my bio from my own website:

    She has performed in various parades throughout New York, including: The NYC Dance Parade (led the Parade in 2013), the NYC Gay Pride Parade, Jersey Pride Fest, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade and the Village Halloween Parade.

    She has made TV appearances for various lifetime experiences on: NBC’s Today Show, CNN Money, Univision’s Despierta America, WHTV’s What’s Happening NYC?, NYC Media’s Under The Pink Carpet, QPTV’s Sing, Sing, Sing! and The Sound Box, VH1’s You Oughta Know featuring Artist Gin Wigmore, and CUNY-TV’s Study With The Best.

    She has been featured in online media, such as: , Humans of New York, NYC Tourist, etc.; as well as magazines and newspapers, including Zombie Magazine, the Examiner, Time Out New York, Village Voice, Simple Magazine, The Culture Trip, Destinations Travel Magazine, The Forward, The Weekender, Groupon, and Peek as a case study. 

    She has also been featured as an entrepreneur in the book The Power Players Guide to Playing Powerfully in the Game of Life, crowned “Queen of Karaoke” in Florida, and holds a Planet Connections Festivity acting award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress” for the role of Darcie in Andrew Rothkin’s Off-Broadway play Danny.

    My linkedIN profile showcases direct links to articles, videos, and more.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    The honest truth is that I was unemployed and I was looking for something else that maybe involved being more interactive instead of a regular 9-5pm. I had always walked through Grand Central and admired the building and had never taken a walking tour of it. I found a company that was giving tours in the winter and I asked the owner of the company if he was hiring actors. He said he needed more guides and that I needed to get my license first though. So I did. And then after working with his company I was inspired to give my own walking tours. I continue to be inspired of new tours to offer every week.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Interacting with customers and sharing my passion of New York City and it's legendary stories. It's so similar to teaching. I love when the little light goes on over there heads and you can see they really learned something. That's my favorite moment. Or when I share something with them and I know they will never forget that moment the rest of their lives. I strive for giving people experiences and memories.

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

    I have had producers of Broadway and TV shows attend my tours and have provided various stories and antidotes that I share with my groups. You get used to seeing the same Broadway stars in Shubert Alley crossing through or walking by and saying hello and stopping for selfies with their fans. We also share a lot of Broadway gossip on our Facebook fan page and website Blog and the celebrities and Broadway companies will be tagged and like and share our info. It's an amazing supportive community.

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

    We have a special Christmas Caroling Down Broadway walking tour we offer every December.

    We also offer every Halloween (2 for 1's) ticket sales for our Haunted Broadway Walking Tour during the month of October even though we offer that tour all year round.

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

    All GANYC followers and partners can always enjoy 10% off by using the code "SpotlightOnGANYC".

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since 2013.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Jared Goldstein.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    GANYC has been a wonderful asset to my business because there are so many talented guides who run extremely profitable businesses and they are always so kind and generous with sharing their advice. I joined several committees right away and learned so much from the other volunteers. Because of these new friends and colleagues I have enjoyed learning more about New York City and have regained a new passion as well. The FAM tours we share with each other and the many other activities we engage in connects us all together and strengthens our association thereby strengthening myself and my business. I am always thankful for the association and their activities and members.

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

    Since I give mostly Broadway tours a lot of my tips involve how to get good tickets at the theatre. I always instruct them that they can get half priced tickets at the TKTS booth or using Todaytix app but if they don't mind spending a few extra dollars and if they don't mind not sitting next to their friends for a few hours then they should just go directly to the box office and for single ticket seats. A lot of the times people book seats together and there is always seats spread out where if you go ahead of time and ask for them they will offer you orchestra seats for a little bit less than expected. You also save on extra handling fees.

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

  8. National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations Conference 2018

    Numerous GANYC members will be heading down to Philadelphia next month for the 2018 NFTGA conference. We hope that many of you will join us there, in representing not just New York City, but also our guiding community. Here are some announcements from the NFTGA about the conference, for those who have not registered:


    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    -Opening reception
    -A visit to Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent. In addition, to food and drink, we will be able to visit the entire museum.

    Thursday, February 22 - We’ll be focusing on the tourism and the guiding profession. Highlights are:

    -Welcome from VisitPhilly™

    -The State of the Tourism in the US
    This session led my members of the U.S. Travel Association will focus on state of tourism in the United States including trends and expectations. It will also cover the key challenges facing tourism as well as an overview of the upcoming legislation that could impact travel. Included will be a description of the many activities in which the US Travel Association is engaged and how guides and guide associations can be involved in and benefit from their activities.

    -Business of Guiding
    This session will focus on the tourism industry, the various types of tourism organizations and their functions, individual guide and association business considerations e.g. taxes, insurance etc. Panel members include representatives from CaldwellCPA who are business advisors to many of those in the tourism industry.


    -Celebrating NFTGA 20th anniversary

    -National Parks and Tour Guides - Working Together
    This session led by NPS Tourism Program Manager Donald Leadbetter will focus on updates, and information from the agency. Topics will include policy and budget news, updates on entry fee and commercial use authorization policies, visitation trends and challenges, and digital tools and resources.

    -Working with our Industry Tourism Partners
    This session will focus on how NFTGA associations and their members can work most effectively with our Tourism Industry Partners. The panel will include representatives from NTA, ABA, SYTA and NAI.

    Visit to One Liberty Observation Deck. 57 stories up with its spectacular views followed by dinner at the restaurant, La Buca.

    Friday, February 23, 2018

    -Technology and tour guiding- tends and challenges
    This session focuses on trends in the tour guiding, ‘competition’ from new technology, technology to assist tour guides. Speakers include Nick Cvetkovic, Annette Morejon from Whisper System about technology aids for tour guiding as well as Fred Behnke, the Founder/CEO of MapSocial speaking about the MapSocial mobile app map-based storytelling platform and its relevance to tour guiding.

    -International Tourism with emphasis on China, India and other Far East inbound
    We all know of the pressures on facing international tourism today. This sessions will focus on the challenges and opportunities of working with international tourists. Speakers include Jim DePhilippo, Tourism Sales Manager, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau who will speak on tourists from India and Dr. Yang Yang from Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University.

    -Incorporating African American and other ethnic groups perspectives
    This sessions will focus on means of enhancing our tours by incorporating minority perspectives. Speakers include GANYC member Ibrahim Diallo and Greg DeShields, the Executive Director at PHLDiversity Multicultural Affairs Congress.

    -Conclusion and optional box lunch. Also optional afternoon tours.

  9. Come Home... To New York!


    One year ago, at the WFTGA (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) conference in Tehran, GANYC debuted its video: "Come Home to New York", highlighting our city as a global capitol.

    No matter where you are from, in the US or anywhere in the world, there is always a slice of home in New York. We understand that global travelers have endless vacation options. And recent reports suggest many of them are choosing to take their business elsewhere. Here's our pitch on why New York is your second home, and your #1 choice.




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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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