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  1. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Herbert Fischer

    Introducing GANYC guide Herbert Fischer of his own company: Apple Slice Tours and Talks

    Website: Apple Slice Tours and Talks

    Email

    Phone: (845) 642-9174

    Social Media: Facebook 


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 2008.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    ​Summertime.

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

    Yes, online and print.


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

    I thought I would translate knowledge I amass as a social studies teacher and professor to conducting tours. I love interacting with people.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours, occasionally bus tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    I offer ethnic and food tours.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Watching people laugh or gain insight. Also, making people smile and connect the dots between nostalgia and the present.

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

    Slicing the Apple in Five Courses, July 9-August 6, Westchester Community College.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since 2008.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Immediately after becoming a tour guide.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    It has sent me referrals and other ancillary material.

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

    Demonstrate enthusiasm and show your style. With a city that never gets finished, use your imagination when doing a historical walking tour.

  2. Tips for Tourists: Street Smarts!

    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.

    • 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.

      Again, your best is to never take anything someone attempts to hand you in NYC.

      If someone is trying to hand you something in Times Square, keep your hands closed, and don't take it.
      If they get confrontational, call the police.
       
    • 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.
       
    • 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! Lost? Just say so, and a New Yorker will help you out! But it is important to be aware of these scams, and have the confidence to avoid them.

     

  3. Tips for Tourists: Taking the Subway!

    Occasionally, on our tours, NYC guides give a customer directions from a tour's end spot to their next plans, via the subway, and they are hesitant. Whether it's a mix of fear of the unfamiliar, safety concerns, or just a preference of the private comfort of a cab, I do sympathize.

    But here's my professional opinion on why tourists should use the subway to get around:

    1. It's reliable! Our system is unique in the world, in that it runs 24/7. Short of a natural disaster, the trains never stop running. Don't risk getting stuck in traffic, or with a cab driver who doesn't know where you're going. Google maps offer public transit directions now... find the best/closest route, and get there fast.
       
    2. It's inexpensive! For $2.75, you get into the system, no matter how far you're going, transfer included. No fare zones. One ride, one fare. Plus discount fares for seniors, kids 44" or shorter are free.
       
    3. It's safe! Subway crime has remained on a steady decline over the last 30 years.
       
    4. Travel like a local! Everyone from construction workers to janitors to Wall Street traders ride the subway. It's our city's great underground melting pot. You haven't experienced NYC until you've become a straphanger.
       
    5. It's an art scene! The MTA has an official arts program, that helps design station walls with beautiful art pieces, murals, and musicians. Each station is unique.

    So there's my pitch.

    And now, some tips!

    1. Grab or download a subway map (my favorite app: Exit Strategy). Know your routes, and plan your travel in advance. And, as noted before, you can get updated directions via Google Maps now.
       
    2. Check the MTA website before you go, particularly on nights & weekends... as off-peak repairs do cause trains to be re-routed or temporary service suspensions.
       
    3. Your best mass transit route to JFK from midtown: Take the LIRR (Long Island RailRoad)-- buy a ticket in advance at Penn Station!-- to Jamaica and take the AirTrain. This is the quickest way. To save some money, just take a Queens-bound E train to Jamaica instead for your AirTrain transfer. The AirTrain is $5 and stops at every terminal.
      Going to LaGuardia... take the E/F/M/R/7 trains to 74th St/Roosevelt Ave in Queens, and transfer to a Q70 bus.
       
    4. All underground stations now have free wifi. Need to look something up? Connect away!

    Any comments or tips of your own? Share them in the comments!

  4. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Andrea Coyle

    Introducing GANYC guide Andrea Coyle

    Website: Local Expeditions

    Phone917-834-6373

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter /
    Instagram




    How long have you been a tour guide?

    I have been a Licensed NYC Tour Guide since 2008.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    Spring and Fall are traditionally the busiest times of the year for tour guides. The temperature during those two seasons is what I consider to be "Goldilocks" weather -- not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

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

    New York Times: 
    How to Feel at Home on the Road

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

    I was referred to Local Expeditions by my friend, Ella Yang, an extraordinary artist living in Park Slope, whose oil paintings depict scenes of the Gowanus Canal, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. She introduced me to her neighbor, Nancy Blaine, the founder of Local Expeditions. Upon learning how the company gives back to local charities, in addition to helping to support independent small businesses and manufacturers, I was instantly enthusiastic about being a part of the organization! Nancy is a dynamic leader, and with guides being given the latitude to develop their own tours, working under the aegis of Local Expeditions is a particularly gratifying experience.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    I offer tours of industrial -- or former industrial -- areas of Brooklyn such as Gowanus, Williamsburg, Bushwick and Red Hook, and a tour of Park Slope's Fifth Ave, highlighting the numerous independent small businesses.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Besides being able to develop and lead tours of these historically-rich areas of Brooklyn, I am excited to be able to give back to these communities through the 5% of each Expedition which goes to a local non-profit of my choice. For example, my Red Hook Tour supports the Red Hook Initiative, my Gowanus Tour supports Arts Gowanus, and my Williamsburg Tour supports the Northside Town Hall Community & Cultural Center.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    I have been a member of GANYC since 2008.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    I learned about GANYC in a search for "NYC Tour Guides"

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Being a member of GANYC has allowed me to develop life-long friendships, expand my knowledge of NYC history & culture, and network with kindred spirits in the tourism profession.

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

    Explore the outer boroughs of NYC!


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

  5. National Travel & Tourism Week Starts Sunday!

    The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC), in cooperation with NYC & Company, will celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week-- which runs May 7-13 -- by offering a number of free tours from our member guides. This week was established by a US congressional resolution in 1983, and serves to champion the power of our industry. Travel and tourism professionals from across the nation work throughout the week to promote the impactful contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy. 

    GANYC guides have volunteered dozens of free tours across all 5 boroughs.

    To see a complete list of available tours, and to RSVP, please see our National Tourism Week page.

  6. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Gordon Polatnick

    Introducing GANYC guide Gordon Polatnick of his own company: Big Apple Jazz Tours

    WebsiteBig Apple Jazz Tour

    Email

    Phone: 917 863-7854

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Two decades.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    Spring and early Fall.

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

    I was a born tour guide, i.e. a know-it-all show off, who loved jazz but hated going to jazz clubs alone every night. I started my website www.bigapplejazz.com first before starting the tour company, in the days before they were called blogs. I went around discovering all the off-the-beaten-path as well as the legendary clubs and formed an online directory of about 200 places to hear live jazz in the city. This soon became a place to advertise tours to these clubs and after the first client took the bait I was thrilled to try to get a second client. That was 20 years ago. Now we offer multiple tours every night.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    I love filling a niche. There are only a relative handful of people coming to NY to experience it as the jazz capital of the world, but those who are a little bit curious to those who are certifiably interested all find me ready, willing and able to show them the best that NY has to offer -- particularly in the below-the-radar, insider's scene. I also have to admit that being able to show off the Harlem jazz scene as the warmest and friendliest part of this city against all expectations for the past 20 years, is also very gratifying.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    Step-on guide work as well as regularly advertised jazz walking tours to Harlem and the Village.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    Jazz Tours are my specialty. Particularly, a nightly public walking tour to 3 hidden Harlem jazz clubs and historic sites called Harlem Juke Joint Tour, and a similar one to the Village called Greenwich Village Jazz Crawl. I also love doing customized itineraries for school groups, businesses, families and couples with a jazz bent - and offer those private tours during the day and night.


    Have you or your company received any awards? 

    We were recognized by the Harlem Arts Alliance with a certificate of appreciation for helping to keep jazz alive when we ran a jazz emporium in Harlem with daily live shows starting at 2PM.


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


    I have several I can share: 

    This one is an online streaming show called the Urbanist which covered an entire jazz tour -  it is long but fun: Link
     
    This is from a Hungarian newspaper: Link
     
    This is from an Australian newspaper: Link
     
    One from Queens:  Link
     
    We were featured on the first episode of BBC Radio2 show Nell's Kitchen, but the audio is no longer available: Link
     
    We were also featured on German radio, NY1 News, NY Times, various jazz publications, The front page of LA Times Sunday Travel section.

     
    How long have you been a GANYC member?

    On and off for two decades.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Other guides doing student tours.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    I met some great guides who I've worked with over the years.

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

    With a little bit of homework you can find someone who is passionate about the things that interest you most, and they will help you have an intimate, immersive experience that you wouldn't think possible.



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

  7. GANYC's Adrienne Cooper on NY1

    GANYC member Adrienne Cooper-- who chairs our Awards Committee, among other tasks-- was recently featured on NY1 News for her passion project, Food Funny. Her monthly series, at Q.E.D. in Astoria, features chefs and comedians trading roles for an evening. You can watch the segment on the NY1 website.

    We love seeing our members get a media spotlight. Are you a GANYC member who's been featured in some form of media? Please send us the links and information and we will spotlight you here on the blog!

  8. Get The Most Out of GANYC!

    When you read the member spotlights we do here on the blog, you will often see the question "How has GANYC helped you and your business?" answered with some variation of this: "Joining GANYC was the best professional decision I have made as a guide". And I can certainly concur this from my personal experience.

    But how does a member get the most out of GANYC? Here are my suggestions:

    • Attend meetings! GANYC has a public monthly meeting, almost always on the evening of the first Wednesday of each month. Keep an eye on the GANYC calendar of events (or our Facebook events listings) to see when the next meeting is. Networking with fellow guides is the best way to get the most out of your membership. Not only do you grow your network, but guides learn & benefit from each other. If you make good impressions, your fellow guides are also likely to pass on tour job opportunities to you.
       
    • Attend other GANYC events! We also have many other regular events, exclusively for members. FAM Tours, networking happy hours, and special events are always being added. Not only are these good networking opportunities, but they are a fun (and free!) benefit of your membership. 
       
    • Interact with GANYC on social media! Make sure you are following GANYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Quite often, we post updates and information there that is not posted on the blog or website. This helps you keep up to date on what is happening with GANYC.

      Want to be featured on our Instagram? Email the PR Committee (link) with an image of yourself guiding a tour, and we may feature it with a link to your company's Instagram on our page!
       
    • Check out the job board! GANYC has a job board, where companies or individuals can post job opportunities for GANYC guides. Check your subscriptions to make sure you are receiving emails on updates to this board. 

      (Receiving too many emails from GANYC? You can use that subscription link to un-subscribe to email types/categories you no longer wish to receive.)
       
    • Volunteer! GANYC has several committees and, as a volunteer organization, they can always extra help. You can find the committees information on our site, and offer your help to one. This makes you feel more connected to GANYC and, again, provides additional networking opportunities.
       
    • Get your tour(s) listed on GANYC! We have a selection allowing the public to sign up directly for tours offered by our members. To get yours listed there, sign up with our friends at AnyGuide. You can list your tours with them for free. Once all your tours are listed and live, contact AnyGuide, show them that you're a GANYC member. They will then add a GANYC logo to your main public page, and push all your tours onto our Book A Tour page.
       
    • Subscribe to our e-newsletter! Twice a month, we publish an e-newsletter with updates on coming GANYC events, feature member spotlights, and more. If you are interested in keeping up with GANYC this way, you can subscribe here


    If any of our members have other suggestions, or feedback, please post a comment or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

  9. GANYC Guides In The News


    We at GANYC love to see when any of our member guides get a media spotlight, thus bringing a bigger eye to the great work our community does for New York. Here is a round-up of some recent media features:

    • Tour guide, historian, and author Kevin C. Fitzpatrick was interviewed by BBC World Service about the 100th anniversary of World War I and its New York City connections. Fitzpatrick took the BBC reporter to a local memorial, and discussed Americans' feelings toward that war.
       
    • The Guardian had an article last month about graffiti tours in NYC, and the growing legitimacy of street art. GANYC member guide Gabe Schoenberg is featured in the article, discussing his tour company and graffiti classes.
       
    • A recent article in the NY Times Travel section discusses how to "feel at home on the road" and discusses a few tour companies catering to this, including Local Expeditions, which employs several GANYC guides.
       

    Thanks to all who continue to work to get the word out in the press about the work that we do. If any of our guides or industry partners come across articles that mention or cover the NYC guiding community, please email them to us! We would also love to feature images of our guides in action on our Instagram page, so please feel free to email us those as well.

  10. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Kevin C. Fitzpatrick

    Introducing GANYC guide Kevin C. Fitzpatrick of his own company: Big Apple Fanatics Tours


    Website: Big Apple Fanatics Tours

    Email

    Phone: 917-526-0597

    Social media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 1999.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    Summer-Fall.

    Have you or your company received any awards? 

    Nominated for two GANYC Apple Awards, best non-fiction book about NYC.


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

    Yes, I was interviewed about my book, 
    "The Algonquin Round Table"



    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    A passion for history and love of books and non-fiction.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    History and Literary. New York’s Jazz Age, Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, cocktails, Broadway, Governors Island.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    U.S. History. World War I New York. Sites related to the war 1917-1918 and memorials.


    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Meeting the public and sharing New York history.

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

    My new book-- World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War-- has a walking tour component.

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

    10% off anyone from GANYC.

    How long have you been a GANYC member?

    Since 2015.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Fellow guide Matthew Baker.


    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Professional Development and Networking.

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

    Pay 25 cents to enter The Met with a smile.
     

    (For more info or to book a tour with Kevin 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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