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Spotlight on a GANYC Tour Guide: Matthew Baker of Beautiful New York Tours

Spotlight on a GANYC Tour Guide!

Introducing Mr. Matthew Baker of Beautiful New York Tours!


How long have you been a tour guide?

I got my license just over 10 years ago and gave my first professional tour on Dec. 30, 2005.


What time of year would you consider your busy season?

My busy season takes off like a rocket on March 15 and doesn't slow down until June 30.


Have you or your company received any awards (recently or in the past)? If so, what was the award for, who awarded it, and when did you receive the award?

Alas, as much as I love awards and award ceremonies, I have yet to win a single trophy for anything.


Have you or your company been featured  in print, broadcast (tv or radio) or online media?  What about movies or TV shows? Do you have a favorite piece we can share? Please provide us the YouTube link or Article link.

When I was president of GANYC, I was interviewed in the Get Real column of Catch & Release, the Columbia University Journal. Also, in 2011, when Grey Line was threatening to fire all their guides and replace them with canned recordings, I was on NY1 protesting against the measure.


What drove you to become a tour guide or tour operator or create this company/organization?

Like many, I came to New York to be an actor and a director. When my daughter was born, I needed to make a steady living and fell into tour guiding rather accidentally when a double-decker driver was chatting with me on the corner and told me what it involved and what it could pay.


What is the most gratifying part of your work?

I love having a microphone and a captive audience.


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

I have had the good fortune to have several celebrities on my tours, including Tony Bennett, Marcia Gay Harden, and the entire Duke University Basketball team (including the much admired Coach K). However, on all of these occasions, I was working as a guide-for-hire for other companies, not under the auspices of Beautiful New York Tours.


What upcoming or annual events, promotions or sales would you like to promote? The only annual events I seek to promote are not on my own behalf, but on GANYC's: Remember to buy tickets for the annual GANYC Apple Awards, traditionally held on the first Monday of March each year. It's the tour guide Oscars!


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

So far, all my tours are by private charter, but I do hope to host a fam tour for GANYC members soon. It would probably be my Irish Heritage Tour. After all, this year is the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, so it's a highly appropriate topic.


How long have you been a member of GANYC?

I joined GANYC in Spring of 2007.


How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

Lee Gelber first told me about GANYC when I was working for CitySights in 2006.


What types of tours do you offer? (Walking, Biking, Bus, etc...) Could you describe them for us?

I tour by bus, by boat, by car, and on foot. On foot is my favorite because I can completely control the speed, the tempo, and the content of what we do.


Do you offer Niche Tours?

I love niche topics. They are such a relief from the standard overview tours that make the bulk of my business. My favorite is my Irish Heritage Tour, which begins at the Irish Hunger Memorial and ends at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral. I also do a Broadway Theatre District tour that discusses everything from Shakespeare to the newest musicals. And I love Harlem. My Harlem tour could begin virtually anywhere but, ideally, I like to begin at the Apollo and end at the Harlem Market on 116th Street.


How has GANYC helped you and your business?

My reputation with my colleagues has led to an enhanced reputation with my clients. Several GANYC guides, when they need an additional guide or a substitute, have me high on their call list. And the job board has helped as well.


For more info or to book a tour with Matthew 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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