International Tourist Guide Day 2017

International Tourist Guide Day is held on 21st February each year, and is an initiative of the WFTGA (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations). This is a great day for guides all over the world to help promote our industry, and to offer complimentary tours and programs to our communities. GANYC is proud to be participating this year, with a number of events.

Our official schedule for Tuesday, February 21 is:

  • 12:30-3:00pm: FAM Tour of the China Institute & Panel Discussions

    A FAM Tour: Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd – 6th Centuries will start at 12:30 PM. Half-hour tour of galleries.

    Followed by Presentations/Panel at 1:00PM to 3:15 PM: Celebrating the Varieties of Cultural Experiences in New York City. 
    China Institute will share highlights from their curriculum. GANYC Members will also report on our  Iran/NYC cultural exchange at the WFTGA Conference in Iran. Finally, special guest speaker Michael Adams will deliver a closing presentation on GAY Harlem and  Preservation in honor of Black History Month at approximately 2:30pm. 
    This event is open to GANYC Members, Tourist Guides, Travel Professionals and their Guests ! 
    China Institute Address:
    100 Washington Street, New York, NY 10006 Temporary entrance: 40 Rector Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006
  • 3:30-5:30pm: FAM Tour of the Museum of Jewish Heritage

    Meet at: Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust  Edmond J. Safra Plaza , 36 Battery Place New York, NY 10280


    Limit: 50 GANYC Members

    The mission of the Museum is to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the broad tapestry of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries—before, during, and after the Holocaust.

    Multiple perspectives on modern Jewish history, life, and culture are presented in the Museum’s unique Core Exhibition and award-winning special exhibitions.  Acclaimed public programs, including discussions, films, plays, and concerts, highlight the richness of Jewish culture and ideas. The Museum’s mission extends across the country and the world with Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) and initiatives with affiliate organizations: the Auschwitz Jewish Center and JewishGen.

    Temporary exhibitions on special topics complement themes expressed in the Core Exhibition in greater detail and extend the Museum's explorations of Jewish life in multiple directions. Current exhibitions include: Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited and My Name Is...The Lost Children of Kloster Indersdorf

  • 5:30-7:30pm: GANYC Networking Happy Hour (Beckett's Bar & Grill, 81 Pearl Street)

Stay tuned to GANYC's website and social media accounts for updates on these events.

In addition to these official events, a number of GANYC members will be offering short, free tours during that week to the NYC community. This is an opportunity for these guides to give back, as well as to promote their tours. These tours are open to anyone. These special tours are as follows:

  • One-hour walking tour of Ground Zero/WTC Area: This tour begins at historic St. Paul's Chapel, and then proceeds to Brookfield Place/Winter Garden, followed by the 9/11 Memorial. After that, view the relief in front of Engine Company 10. Then followed by a short walk through Zuccotti  Park to Wall Street and Broadway.  
    -Guide: Gwen Strum (contact info to confirm attendance).
    (Offered twice: 2/21 AND 2/23 at 3pm-- meet inside St. Paul's Chapel, Broadway entrance)
  • Rockefeller Center and Secrets Beyond: The tour will celebrate public art and architecture of Rockefeller Center and its interesting "neighbors" seeing sites that many New Yorkers haven't seen and enjoyed. Approximate duration, 2 hours with visits to indoor locations. 
    -Guide: Lee Gelber, of Here is NY. RSVP by email, if interested.
    (Offered 2/21 at 11am-- meet at 49th St & Rockefeller Plaza, on the corner.  I will be holding a sign saying "Rockefeller Center and Secrets Beyond".)
  • The Fulton Underground Tour: This will be a brief walking tour of the  interconnected passageways that run under Fulton St in downtown Manhattan, starting at the Fulton Center subway station, running through the World Trade Center transportation hub, and ending at Brookfield  Place. This tour is entirely indoors/underground (so good no matter the weather), and will show you the rebirth of downtown through its transit initiatives.
    -Guide: Jeremy Wilcox of Custom NYC Tours. You can RSVP here.
    (Offered 2/21 at 11:30am -- meet at corner of Broadway & Fulton)
  • Grand Central Tour: For our tour in Grand Central Terminal, your guide will take you outside to talk about the building's exquisite exterior, as well as its history beginning with Cornelius Vanderbilt. Back inside, you'll hear about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis leading the charge in saving the terminal from the wrecking ball. While you're  indulging in the main concourse's multiple photo ops, I will tell you all about all the elegance that surrounds you. I'll show you the world famous whispering corner, beloved by people of all ages, the kissing room and one of the platforms where two famous movies were filmed.
    -Guide: Mike Grant. Please RSVP by email if interested.
    (Offered on 2/21 at 11am-- meet by the station information desk's famous clock. Guide has very long gray hair, will be wearing a black beret and, maybe, his "Woody Allen" glasses.)
  • The Big Public Square on 42nd Street: You may have enjoyed a summer lunch hour in Bryant Park or twirled around the ice rink there. Perhaps you’ve done some research or taken in a free exhibit at the imposing New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. But how much do you really know about these adjacent Midtown icons? What do they have to do with drinking water and a world’s fair? What lies beneath? Learn the history of this square in the middle of bustling Manhattan, see historic photos, and discover buried treasures during this lunchtime tour. The tour will last 30-45 minutes, depending on whether you end by going into the library or reading words of wisdom in the sidewalk. If you don’t know what that means, all the more reason to take this tour!
    -Guide: Laurie Lewis of Take A Walk New York. RSVP by email to confirm attendance.
    (Offered 2/21 at 1pm-- Meet tour guide under the vaulted entrance at 11 W 42nd St, between 5th & 6th Aves)
  • Features of Grand Central Tour: Grand Central Terminal is a masterpiece of engineering and design as well as  of architecture. It stands as one of the great buildings of the world. A  walk through Grand Central brings to view the spectacular  transformation of its main room via its recent renovation, the  discriminating use of color and shade to provoke emotional response, and  the cues that encourage patrons to move (e.g. - slow down or speed up,  gather here but not there) according to the intentions of the designers a  century ago. Then  there is the genius behind the weather functions of the great windows,  the Terminal's secondary function as a mall (per square foot, the most  profitable in the nation), and the viaduct that speeds midtown traffic  while allowing the Terminal to otherwise completely dominate (and block)  the avenue - a spectacular demonstration of the authority once enjoyed  by American railroads. Grand  Central's sister project is Park Ave., which opened as America's  attempt to build a European-style boulevard. It is also part of an  enormous metal platform clapped over a vast trainyard - essential to the  enterprise that made the name "Park Avenue" synonymous with elegance  and distinction. Together,  Grand Central and Park Ave. transformed the area from a shabby district  far from the city's core to the focus of a massive shift that created  midtown Manhattan - the largest and most powerful business district in  the world. 
    -Guide: Peter Laskowich of New York Dynamic. RSVP by email is required.
    (Offered TWICE on 2/21 at 10:30am AND 12:30pm-- meeting place revealed after RSVP email.)
  • Gleeks On Broadway Musical Theatre Walking Tour: Attention all GLEEKS! Check out this New York Broadway Tour which features bios of the amazing cast of Glee and its Broadway and Off-Broadway stars. Learn about Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss, Jenna Noelle Ushkowitz, Jane Lynch, Amber Riley, and more! Discover the theatres where they had their Broadway debuts, enjoy fun Glee trivia, and sing along with your licensed musical theatre tour guide to all of the fun Broadway songs made re-famous by Glee’s amazing cast!
    -Tour Company: RSVP on the website using promo code "FreeGleek21"
    (Offered 2/21 at 11am-- meets in front of the Broadway Theatre corner of West 53rd and 7th Avenue)
  • Pokemon Go Tour: Join us for a free one-hour Pokemon Go tour into Central Park! The tour will take in  several Pokestops, and end at a gymnasium for Pokemon training.
    -Guide: Stan O'Connor. RSVP via email, or by tweeting to @CentralParkPoky .
    (Offered 2/21 at 12pm-- meet under the statue of Jose Marti on the rearing horse, just inside the park entrance at 6th Ave & 59th St)
  • Woolworth Building Tour: Tour guide Bob Gelber will lead a 60-minute tour in the Woolworth Building for this event. Limited to 12 people.  All attendees must be pre-registered. No one  else may attend due to building access restrictions.
    -Guide: Bob Gelber. Attendees MUST RSVP by email
    (Offered on 2/22 at 10:30am)
  • Destination St. George, Staten Island: Join your GANYC tour guide  Claudia Toback for an overview of the new developments coming to Staten Island  as you stroll to Borough Hall.  Marvel at the architecture of this French  Renaissance landmark building as you walk up the staircase to its rear  entrance.  View the thirteen murals depicting the Island's history, painted  by WPA local artist Charles Stahr.  
    -Guide: Claude Toback of Cititrek Tour & Guide Services. RSVP by email.
    (Offered on 2/22 at 11am-- meet at information sign in the outer lobby of the St. George Ferry Terminal. Must take the 10:30am ferry from Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan for prompt arrival.)
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tour: Our tour start at Fulton Park. We will then see art at Boys and Girls High School. Learn the history of Bed-Stuy. See brownstones, local architecture including mansions in the area, and St Phillips Church which dates back to 1899. We will end the tour at local restaurant Peaches for southern comfort food (at groups expense). The tour should end around 12 and would be completely a walking tour of the area. Rain or shine.
    -Guide: Kristin Singleton. RSVP by email is required to attend.
    (Offered on 2/22 at 10:30am-- meet at Fulton Park, in Brooklyn)
  • Museum of the City of New York Tour: Guide Susan Mills Birnbaum will lead a 60-minute Highlights tour the current exhibitions- Mastering the Metropolis, Activist New York, Gay Gotham and Gilded Age
    -Guide: Susan Mills Birnbaum. RSVP by email if attending.
    (Offered 2/22 at 1pm--  meet at the Museum @ 103rd St & 5th Avenue.)
  • The Magical Mosaic of Rockefeller Center Tour: Learn to  look up and savor New York City with "The Spirited New Yorker", who for 25 years has given multi-faceted tours and lectures to travelers from around the world.  Formerly affiliated with NBC, she is a cultural historian and legendary expert on Rockefeller Center, the most important urban complex of the twentieth century. This is the first landscaped complex, which was created for commerce but conceived with art. With about twenty buildings this "city  within a city" was built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the 1930's. Come learn about the history, art work, and many "firsts" together with some fun too!
    -Guide: Sibyl McC Groff, of The Spirited New Yorker. RSVP by email or phone (212-722-7591)
    (Offered on 2/22 at 4pm-- meet in lobby of 30 Rockefeller Center, the flagship building between 49th & 50th Sts)
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Join Michael Zufolo for a tour of these beautiful gardens!
    -Guide:  Michael Zufolo. RSVP by email
    (Offered 2/22 at 2pm-- meet at 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn)

  • W.C. Fields  Broadway & Vaudeville History Tour: Take a stroll through the New York life  of actor-comedian W. C. Fields in the era from 1905 into the Roaring  Twenties. Walk in the footsteps of the great performer and see the  locations associated with his life before he went to Hollywood. If you  are a fan of old theater stories and silent movies, this is the tour for  you. The walk begins in Shubert Alley between Forty-fourth and  Forty-fifth streets, next to the Shubert Theatre and covers the Times  Square neighborhood. See the locations of the theaters, hotels,  restaurants, and landmarks tied to the life of W.C. Fields. Among the  stops are the New Amsterdam Theatre and Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (both  still standing) and former locations of the Earl Carroll Theatre and the  New York Theatre. The tour provides an overview of the history of Broadway,  Vaudeville, New York performers, and Times Square. The history of  Prohibition, the Actors Strike of 1919, the rise and demise of  Vaudeville, and the colorful stories of the Ziegfeld Follies are also  reviewed.
    -Guide: Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, of Big Apple Fanatics. RSVP by email please.
    (Offered 2/23 at 12pm-- at Shubert Alley)
  • Art Deco skyscrapers on East 42nd Street: One hour walk to visit three grand Art Deco skyscrapers on East 42nd Street, led by Anthony W. Robins, author of the forthcoming New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture (SUNY Press, 2017). We visit the Daily News Bulding, the Chrysler Building, and the Chanin Building, three very different skyscrapers by three very different architects, within two blocks of each other. Together, they reshaped the east Midtown skyline. Meet in front of 220 East 42nd Street (former Daily News Building), south side of East 42nd between 2d and 3d avenues. Free, but reservations required - limited to 30 people.
    -Guide: Tony Robins, of his own company. RSVP by email required.
    (Offered 2/23 at 12pm-- meet in front of 220 East 42nd Street)
  • Grant's Tomb and Morningside Heights: Take a history tour along Riverside Heights. See the final resting place of America's 18th President, historic streets, gorgeous views, and more!
    -Guide: Ayinde Stevens. RSVP by email.
    (Offered 2/23 at 12pm-- meet at Grant's Tomb, W 122nd St & Riverside Dr)
  • Explore Downtown’s Lost Neighborhood in conjunction with “Little  Syria Exhibit at Metropolitan College of New York”:  Preservation activist, Joe Svehlak whose family lived in Downtown Manhattan  in the early 1900s, will lead us on a Lower West Side tour and reminisce about  this former unique immigrant neighborhood. Did you know that the Lower West Side used to be one of New York’s most  diverse immigrant neighborhoods?  In 1917, a news article noted the presence of  27 nationalities in this small compact area.   From the 1840’s to 1960’s, waves  of Irish, German, Middle Eastern, and various Slavic immigrants settled north of  the Battery.   Lower Washington Street was the heart of the Syrian Quarter, also  called “Little Syria”, the first major Arab settlement in the United States.  Few remnants of this neighborhood still exist, due to the construction of  the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in the 1940’s and the World Trade Center in the  1960’s both built by confiscating land through eminent domain.   The  neighborhood is continuing to disappear with the new construction after  9/11. View the former St. George Melkite Church, the Downtown Community House,  some Federal style townhouses and the few remaining tenements.   Hear stories of  the diverse people who lived here together in one of New York’s great  neighborhood melting pots.  Learn about the problems facing current residents as  they fight to preserve the last significant remaining buildings.  The tour will end at the “Little Syria” exhibit at Metropolitan College of New York (at 60 West Street), where tour participants will have a chance to view the exhibit which will close on March 24, 2017.
    -Guide: Joe Svehlak. RVSP by email, please.
    (Offered 2/24 at 10am-- meet inside Staten Island Ferry Terminal/South Ferry at the bottom of the escalators, left side.)
  • Highlights Tour of Downtown  Manhattans Lost Neighborhood: Abridged version of above tour
    -Guide: Joe Svehlak. RVSP by email, please.
    (Offered 2/21 at 11am-- meet at the China Institute, 40 Rector Street.)
  • Chinatown: Spend 2 hours in New York’s foreign country on this great tour! Home to "the largest" Chinatown in America. Led by Radio Talk Show Hosts, Authors and Historians. Learn about its Origins, Customs, Superstitions and visit amazing food markets and Herb stores!!! We’ll even touch on the “Gangs of New York”.
    -Guide: For reservations contact: Susan or Art Zuckerman at 914 224-7134 or Email.
    (Offered 2/25 at 10:30am-- meet at McDonalds on Canal St. Between Broadway and Lafayette)
  • Lincoln in New York Tour:  In February 1860 a little-known Abraham Lincoln arrived in New York on a  visit that would change history. After attending a sermon, visiting a hatter, and having a photo made, Lincoln delivered a rousing speech in  front of 1,500 people that had one observer compare Lincoln to St Paul. On  the Lincoln in New York Tour, we'll retrace Abraham Lincoln's pivotal  visit to NY in 1860 culminating with his speech at the Cooper Union on February 27th.  We'll discuss the NY that Lincoln saw & the places he (& Mary  Todd Lincoln) visited, through photos, vivid descriptions & the  buildings that still stand. Along the way we'll also learn about NY  before & during the Civil War--what it was like and how it was  changing.  We'll meet the important figures in New York that Abraham and  Mary Todd interacted with, such as the preacher Henry Ward Beecher,  newspaper publisher Horace Greeley, emporium owner Eder V Haughwout, and  the photographer Mathew Brady.  And we'll learn how the speech launched  Lincoln's bid for the presidency.
    -Guide: John Semlak. RSVP by email, please.
    (Offered Sunday, 2/26 at 12pm-- meet at City Hall Park, near the fountain)

Click here for the current Press Release as of 2/17/17

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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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