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  1. Tips For Tourists: Avoiding Scams

    The cliché old New York street hussle is a guy with a sidewalk table challenging passers-by to a game of three-card monte. But today's hussles involve homemade CDs, fake monks, and more.  They are based more on abusing your politeness to get your money. I'll outline the most prominent, so you know how to avoid them.

    It is not rude to be rude to someone attempting to part you from your money. That's the recurring thread of this advice.

    • The fake monks.
      While the Elmos and Doras of Times Square get more press, there are far more insidious costumed menaces roaming the city... the fake monks. You will spot them all over the high-traffic areas of Central Park, and occasionally in popular spots like the Financial District or the High Line. Dressed as Buddhist monks, these beggars will approach you, hand you a trinket, and then ask for money. They hope you will be too polite or embarrassed to just hand it back and walk away. But that's what you should do.

      Your best bet: When you see someone in NYC walk up to you, and attempt to hand you something, keep your hands at your side, and just walking. If they verbally attempt to demand your attention, just ignore it. No response is the best response here.
       
    • The CD guys.
      That above advice goes double for the CD guys. The "monks" will at least treat your rejection politely. That's often not the case here. Here's how this goes down: a young man will approach you, telling you he's a breakout musician, and will practically shove a homemade CD into your hand. He will then demand payment for the CD. If you don't pay, the CD guys often become verbally aggressive, until you pay up, just to get away. They tend to congregate mostly around Times Square, but are ever expanding. If they are insistive, call the police.

      Again, your best is to never take anything someone attempts to hand you in NYC.
       
    • The Battery Park ticket sellers.
      Battery Park is a lovely park in lower Manhattan, with views of the harbor, Statue of Liberty, and downtown skyscrapers like the World Trade Center. It is also your waterway portal to harbor cruises, the (free) Staten Island Ferry, boats to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, the Governors Island Ferry, & more. But in recent years, the park has become plagued by third-party ticket sellers, many unlicensed, who harass visitors into purchasing boat tickets. Many of them lie to, and scam, visitors about what the ticket they purchased is for. One dispute between two sellers recently lead to a shooting in the park.

      Your best bet: Do not purchase tickets from anyone on the street (representatives from reputable double-decker bus tours tend to be a friendly exception here). Buy your ticket from the booth or building where the company is based. If you see aggressive ticket sellers, find and inform the nearest police officer.
       
    • Pedicab Drivers.
      Pedicabs congregate around popular areas like Times Square or Central Park. Many are reputable, but far too many prey on tourists. A recent investigation found pedicabs charging riders hundreds of dollars for fairly basic trips. NYC law requires pedicabs to charge a per-minute rate, and to display that rate prominently on their vehicle, and to make riders aware of that rate before beginning. Many flout this law in various ways. So if you take a half-hour ride on the pedicab and the driver charges $10 a minute (and you were not aware of that), boom you've got a $300 bill at the end. 

      Tip: Never, ever ride in a pedicab where the driver is not in full compliance with a well-placed rate sheet on his/her vehicle. You can also try negotiating a set price with a driver before boarding (this advice also works for horse carriage rides). If you see a driver who does not comply, alert a nearby police officer.
       
    • The Ground Zero street sellers.
      Technically, this is less a scam, and more just predatory sales. But it's a pet peeve of mine, so I'm including it here. Near the World Trade Center (usually on Church St, between Fulton & Vesey), street sellers gather to sell 9/11 photo books, and similar "souvenirs" to tourists in the area. They are not affiliated with any official organization, and certainly not with the memorial. They are vultures, who are profiting off a tragedy. Please do not buy from them.

      Interested in purchasing books related to the World Trade Center? The memorial & museum have an official gift shop & kiosks... where the money goes to a good cause.

       

    But please don't let this scare you! 99% of New Yorkers are polite, helpful, and are happy to welcome you to our city! But it is important to be aware of these scams, and have the confidence to avoid them.

  2. GANYC's Adrienne Cooper Dishes Restaurant Advice

    GANYC member Adrienne Cooper is not only our Treasurer and chair of the Awards Committee, but also runs her own food tour company, Fun Foodie NYC

    This week, Breadcrumbs, a service & app that provides travel tips, interviewed Adrienne to get her pick of 5 NYC restaurants that people should know about. From Italian to Thai to Tex-Mex, to old-school NYC Jewish fare, her list is a delicious read. Thanks, Adrienne!

  3. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Michael Pellagatti

    Introducing GANYC guide: Michael Pellagatti!

    Company: Occupy Tour NYC

    Phone: 551-227-8673

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Four years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Summer.

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

    Yes, my tour was profiled by the NY Times in 2015.

    (LINK)

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I was sitting in Zuccotti Park looking for my next job when a tour bus rolled by and I said to myself: I could do that! Later I decided to turn my Occupy experience into a tour.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    My niche tour is on Occupy Wall Street; where I will recreate the movement's encampment and go over what made Occupy successful and what were the movement's shortcomings; using my own experience having lived at Zuccotti Park.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Teaching the youth about how all social justice movements are linked together; and inspiring them to get involved with or start their own movements.

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

    Jennie Livingston, director of 'Paris Is Burning', was once on my tour.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    3 years.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    From a fellow GANYC member Matthew Cummings.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    GANYC has helped me to network with other guides who could share clients with me in respect to my specialty tour.

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

    Keep it moving and keep it moving fast.


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

  4. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Cristina Lombardi


    Introducing GANYC guide: Cristina Lombardi!

    Company: Follow Me NYC Adventures

    Phone: 718 673 8414

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Six years.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    My walking tours are designed to be "Adventures"- we go inside a variety of famous places and fun businesses along each route giving guests a more hands on, behind-the-scenes experience.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    May-October.

    Have you or your company been featured in media?

    I have been featured on the Travel Channel program "Mysteries at the Museum"- episodes will air this coming spring!

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I have a theater background and being a guide played nicely into my dramatic sensibilities and my love of telling stories to people. I'm also a history buff and I love being able to share my love of New York City's history with visitors.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Meeting so many fabulous people from all over the world and being out an about in the city I love every day.

    What celebrities (if any) have patronized your business?

    No famous patrons but I get backstage at lots of theaters so I have met some incredible casts over the years.

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

    Sign up for my mailing list and get 10% off your first tour! Visit my website for details!

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    One year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    From other guides.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Networking and access to Tour Operators.

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

    Don't be afraid to leave your guide book behind. It's great to plan your trip carefully but spontaneous exploration leads to fabulous discoveries. And, for goodness sake, ride the subway!


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

  5. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Tourist App!

    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- Tourist App

    Website: touristnewapp.com

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


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


    What year did your business open?

    2017.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    Travelers, tourists and locals.

    What drove you to create this company?

    We wanted to create an Uber-inspired app for tour guides.

    Mobile apps are disrupting the status quo in the Travel & Tourism Industry, and we are a part of that.

    Please read our blog! http://wp.touristnewapp.com/blog/

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Summer.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Building an ecosystem for connecting travelers/tourists/locals, tour guides, referrers (concierges, etc.) and business partners (gift shops, attractions, etc.)

    What special deals are you offering to GANYC tour guides and their customers?

    Any tour guide member of GANYC will receive an extra 5%.

     

  6. GANYC Apple Award Nominees!

    The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC)  is proud to announce the nominees for the 4th Annual GANYC Apple Awards on March 12, 2018 at the SVA Theater. The Apple Awards celebrate those who make New York City great. Over a dozen awards are given out each year to individuals & organizations from across our five boroughs.

    Nominees are submitted by the entire membership of GANYC, who will also vote on the final winners.

    Our nominees are:

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Culture

    Harlem Late Night Jazz
    CreateNYC
    League of Broadway Theaters
    The Art Deco Society of New York

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Tourism

    NYC & Company, Tourism Ready training program
    Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
    Evelyn Hill Concessions
    NYC Ferry expansion

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Preservation

    Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
    New York Preservation Archive Project
    Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
    Janifer P. Wilson

    Outstanding NYC Website

    Curbed New York
    City Lab New York
    Daytonian in Manhattan
    Spoiled NYC

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Photography

    Billy Schon, Tags by Ewok One, Jee, Mast, Ozbe, and Spot
    Rob Tallia, Flatiron, Hundredweight New York
    Bria Josephs, Henri Bendel, Diary
    Marc Yankus, Nineteenth Street, The Secret Lives of Buildings

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

    Soundcheck, WNYC
    Cityscape, NPR
    Our Streets, Our Stories, Brooklyn Public Library
    Met Council's Housing Notebook, WBAI

    Outstanding Achievement in Fiction NYC Book Writing

    Francis Spufford, Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York
    Lisa Ko, The Leavers: A Novel
    Joanne Oppenheim (Author) and Jon Davis (Illustrator), The Knish War on Rivington Street
    Tamara Shopsin, Arbitrary Stupid Goal

    Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction NYC Book Writing

    Kevin C Fitzpatrick, World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War
    David Oshinsky, Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital
    George Robb, Ladies of the Ticker: Women and Wall Street from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression
    Julie Scelfo, The Women Who Made New York

    Outstanding Achievement in Essay/Article/Series Writing

    Jane Eisner, Looking Forward with Jane Eisner
    Emily Nonko, Robert Moses and the decline of the NYC subway system
    Nathan Kensinger, Searching for New York City's Lost Soul
    R. C. Baker, Stopping The Presses, The last press-check guy for the Village Voice reflects on a life in print

    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Food

    Chef Harold Villarosa and The Insurgo Project
    Breaking Bread NYC
    Claus Meyer and The Melting Pot Foundation
    JaynesBeard Supper Club for Queer Women

    Outstanding NYC Museum Exhibitions

    New York at Its Core at the Museum of the City of New York
    Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy at the Museum of Chinese in America
    The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s at the Cooper-Hewitt
    Black Power! At the Schomburg Center

    In addition to these categories, GANYC will also be issuing our Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Apollo himself, Billy Mitchell. And for the first time, our Guiding Spirit Award will honor two amazing guides at once: Art and Susan Zuckerman.

    Tickets for this event, hosted by the incomparable Brian Stokes Mitchell, are now on sale! Early bird pricing for both general admission & VIP tickets are available through the holidays.

    To learn more about the GANYC Apple Awards, visit http://www.ganyc.org/2018-ganyc-apple-awards

  7. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Alessia Nencioni


    Introducing GANYC guide: Alessia Nencioni!

    Company: Barefoot New York

    Phone: 917-362-7713

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    4 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Summer.

    What drove you to become a tour guide or tour operator?

    The love for NYC and the flexibility of the hours.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours. Mainly off the beaten path.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    I offer street art tours ( Brooklyn, Bronx, Lower east Side). Food Tour (Bronx Little Italy).

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    I love when the tourist leave my tour with a smile and with a greater love for NY.

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

    I can offer a 10% discount.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Not yet a year.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    I learn about GANYC through a fellow tour guide who is a member.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    It put me in contact with other tour guides. I learn so much through the many Fam Tours organized by GANYC. It gave me exposure through their website.

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

    Don't visit only the main attractions, but go and discover where the real NY life is.


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

  8. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

    11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

    Website: https://www.moma.org

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


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


    What year did your business open?

    1929.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    At The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, we aim to be inclusive places—both onsite and online—where diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions are welcome. We’re committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art, and the ideal visitor will join us in exploring the art, ideas, and issues of our time.

    Has your company or organization or any members of the organization received any awards?

    We won the American Bus Association's 2017 "Best of the Best" award in the museum category; we previously won the Concierge Choice Award for Best Cultural Institution; and we receive TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Award on an annual basis.

    Has your company or organization been featured  in print, broadcast  or online media?

    We receive a lot of coverage, but this New York Times story about our revealed expansion plans is particularly interesting. Our expansion will open in 2019 with 30% more gallery space!

    What drove you to work for this organization?

    MoMA is an iconic New York institution, and it's an amazing opportunity to get to share the collection, programming, and exhibitions with locals and tourists!

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

    The latest edition of MoMA's longstanding and celebrated New Photography series opens on March 18, 2018. (LINK)

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    I love seeing people connect with artwork that they recognize and be challenged by artists that they may not be familiar with. We try to be a really welcoming place for all ages and backgrounds, so seeing a diverse audience enjoying themselves in our galleries and at our programs is really satisfying.

    Any fun stories or favorite moments you can share about why you love working at your business?

    One of my favorite parts of my job is giving tours of the Museum for people who have never been before. Watching people see "The Starry Night" for the first time is such a special experience.

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering to GANYC tour guides and their customers?

    GANYC tour guides should get in touch directly for more information about our tours and group discounts.

  9. NYC Tourist Guides In The News!

    Last month, GANYC member Brian Fisher appeared on CNN, promoting local guides. He has provided us with a video of the segment. We love seeing our members-- and the NYC guide community-- get a media spotlight for their contributions to our city. Remember: a GANYC guide is the best bang for your (tourist) buck!

    You can watch the video on our Facebook page

    If you are a GANYC member and have been featured in the media, please contact us and let us know... we'd love to spotlight you!

    (Previous features of GANYC guides in the news can be found here, here, here, and 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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