The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) was proud to spotlight Manhattan's Chinatown community this week. GANYC participated in International Tourist Guide Day with a full day of activities, starting at the Museum of Chinese of America. International Tourist Guide Day, an initiative of the WFTGA (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) is a global event, held every February 21, to spotlight the positive contributions our profession makes to the cultures and economies of our nations.
GANYC's full day of events began at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) with a curator-led tour of the Museum's current exhibit, Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History. The tour was followed by a dim sum breakfast for attendees. The meeting also featured several guest speakers, including: Wellington Chen (Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership), Nancy Yao Maasbach (President of MOCA), Ibrahima Diallo (GANYC member), and Andrew J. Padilla (award-winning filmmaker and independent journalist). This event was open to the public, in addition to our membership of licensed guides.
These events were organized by GANYC's Education Committee, with special thanks to Vice-President Bob Gelber for spearheading the initiative.
After the program ended in the afternoon, two familiarization tours were offered, also with public availability. One was of Chinatown, led by GANYC board member, Kevin Lawrence. This tour explored how various cultures and communities have shaped one of the top tourist destinations in the Big Apple by discussing the physical geography of the neighborhood, urban planning, and U.S. immigration policies along the route. The other tour headed from Chinatown to Nolita for a tour of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, led by Thomas Wilkinson.
The day ended with a wonderful networking happy hour event at Onieals, on Grand Street.
This has been a rough month for both MOCA and the larger Chinatown community. Reports indicate that misplaced fears about the coronavirus are impacting Chinatown restaurants & businesses, right after coming off joyous Chinese New Year celebrations. GANYC, like many in city government, has continued to reassure visitors and encourage them to continue to dine and shop in these great establishments. And in late January, a five-alarm fire at 70 Mulberry Street (where MOCA stored their archives), destroyed tens of thousands of invaluable historical items and ephemera that collectively tell the story of more than a century of Chinese immigration in the US. MOCA was able to extract over 100 boxes from the building afterwards, but now faces a long road of restoration and recovery for these materials. MOCA has set up a GoFundMe page for those who wish to donate to these efforts. GANYC this week made a donation of $288 on behalf of our membership.
Thank you also to ABC7 Eyewitness News for spotlighting the event in their coverage:
The Guides Association of NYC was proud to stand with the community in Chinatown during this time, and to have honored this global day of celebration by bringing our members and the public to the neighborhood for this event. Thank you to all who attended or contributed to this event.