GANYC President Emma Guest-Consales was interviewed by NY1 for their story on how the dip in tourism related to COVID-19 is affecting our great city and its economy.
We are also working to track the economic hardships and cancellations being experienced by our industry, and will be working to advocate for assistance for guides in the days and weeks ahead.
You can watch the video of the segment at the following link:
City Tourism Dips Due to Coronavirus Spread
GANYC President Emma Guest-Consales was interviewed by NY1 for their story on how the dip in tourism related to COVID-19 is affecting our great city and its economy.
Monday, March 9, 2020
To the GANYC Community:
I would like to address your concerns regarding COVID-19 and its impact on NYC tour guides. Many of you have had clients and groups cancel their plans for travel to NYC and have experienced a major loss of income. Others are concerned about cancellations yet to come, and smaller numbers on regularly scheduled public tours. I sincerely hope you retain most of your groups and your work as we move into the busy student travel season. I have been in contact with Ellen Malasky, President of the NFTGA (National Federation of Tourist Guides Associations), and I will contact the US Travel Association. Both the NFTGA and USTA are following guidelines issued by the US government, namely domestic travel is still safe. In addition, the Industry Relations Committee has been in touch with NYC & Co., which continues to advocate for travelers to come to New York and has assured GANYC they will continue to advocate for the tourism industry with government agencies.
IMPORTANT INFORMATIONAL LINKS:
We do not have any news about government assistance being offered to NYC tour guides who have lost income due to COVID-19. In order to be prepared for applying for potential government assistance we ask all guides who have had cancellations to fill in the form posted by GANYC to collect tour cancellation data. Please fill out this form as it relates to any and all travel in NYC. Please feel free to pass this form on to other guides and tour operators who have been affected – we want this to be as comprehensive as possible, so we are not limiting this just to GANYC guides. Over-the-road guides should also complete the form if their itineraries have been changed to avoid travel in NYC. We will use the collected data to ask for assistance should the situation get worse. It is very important to keep detailed records of your cancelled tours and lost income so you can apply and hopefully qualify for any government assistance that may be offered. We plan to update the results of this survey on a weekly basis.
The Mayor’s office has announced that “businesses with less than 100 employees which can document a decrease in sales of up to 25 percent would be eligible for no-interest loans of as much $75,000. Those with under five employees could receive grants of up to $6,000 to help retain workers." As of now there are no details about how to apply for such grants.
I have been closely following the news from the CDC, the states of New York and New Jersey, and from New York City. It is virtually guaranteed there will be an exponential spike in the number of reported cases of infection in our region as more testing takes place, and as the virus spreads through community transmission.
Older (50+) people and those with compromised immune systems or severe chronic conditions are more susceptible to COVID-19. Younger patients and children appear to have milder forms of the illness. The best ways to protect yourself include frequent and careful hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when your cough or sneeze, cleaning surfaces often, no hand shaking, and avoiding touching your eyes, lips, and nose with unwashed hands. If you have a fever, cough and shortness of breath, please stay home and call your doctor ASAP.
Here is a link to the CDC page on COVID-19.
The GANYC Board is working hard to stay up to date with any new information or guidelines, and as we receive any news, we will pass it on to the guiding community. GANYC guides are a close group (albeit not too close these days...) and we are here for each other. We will get through this crisis the same way we have gotten through others—by continuing to be the same smart, generous, and caring New Yorkers we have always been. Our city is still open for business, we will still offer great tours and great customer service, and while we may not be shaking hands for a while, we will still welcome visitors with metaphorical open arms.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments or questions.
Emma and the GANYC Board
Emma Guest-Consales, Ph.D.
President, Guides Association of New York City
The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) presented its 6th-annual Apple Awards at a festive ceremony on March 2 at the SVA Theater, in Chelsea. GANYC honored numerous organizations and people with Apple Awards for encouraging and promoting New York City tourism, culture and preservation while supporting the work and contributions of professional New York City tourist guides.
The ceremony, hosted by the award-winning Bowery Boys, Gregory Young and Thomas Meyers, was a smashing success. Their humor and love of New York was contagious throughout the auditorium. Presenters included Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Joe Conzo, Nat Towsen and Joanna Leban, the Museum of the City of New York's Jerry Gallagher, among others. In addition to the entertainment by our host, presenters, and winners, guests also viewed videos like In Memoriam reel of New Yorkers and institutions that we lost in the past year.
Images and videos of the GANYC Apple Awards will be posted on our website and social media channels throughout the next week.
Here is the complete list of 2020 GANYC Apple Award Winners:
Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Culture
Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Tourism
Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Preservation
Outstanding NYC Website
Outstanding Achievement in NYC Photography
Outstanding Achievement in NYC Radio Program or Podcast (Audio/Spoken Word)
Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing (Fiction)
Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing (Non-Fiction)
Outstanding Achievement in Essay/Article/Series Writing
For the New York Times: Everyone’s Welcome at the Statue of Liberty Except Tour Guides by Corey Kilgannon
Outstanding Achievement in NYC Food
Outstanding NYC Museum Exhibitions
For Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, the Brooklyn Museum
In addition, GANYC presented two legacy awards: The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sean McKenna for his many years of advocacy for survivors of HIV and AIDS, and the Lee Gelber Award for Guiding Spirit was presented to Joe Svehlak!
The dozens of nominees across 11 Outstanding Achievement categories were announced by the GANYC Awards Committee in December; visit https://www.ganyc.org/2020-ganyc-apple-awards to view the complete list of nominees. The GANYC membership voted on the nominees through mid-January, leading up to the awards ceremony on March 2, where the winners were announced.
Manhattan's Garment District is a dynamic neighborhood whose history is oft-forgotten. One guide working to keep tellings its story is Michael Kaback. “You come back in a few months, they might not be here anymore,” he said of many of its historic businesses, “I don’t know what’s gonna be here in the future.” In many ways, that's the story of New York! Read about his unique tour here:
The Garment District’s Lone Survivor
GANYC member Cherie Davis recently launched a new YouTube series: "Ask a NYC Tour Guide", providing helpful tips for visitors from those who know the city best. Several of the featured guides are GANYC members as well (and, as for the rest... come and join us!) and give their own unique perspective on the most asked questions.
Here is the first video, with good general planning advice:
The second video focuses on an oft-asked topic: bathrooms!
We look forward to the next video!
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.
Last, week, GANYC sent a delegation of over 20 guides to the biennial National Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (NFTGA) conference in Charleston, South Carolina. For three days, we took part in engaging workshops about our shared profession. We toured the wonderful city of Charleston and the surrounding areas. And we met with guides from all over the country-- over 30 states were represented!
The event kicked off with an old-fashioned carriage ride around the historic part of the city, past many of its famous homes and historic structures dating back to the 1700s. The tour was followed by a delicious BBQ and oyster roast at Magnolia Plantation where we were served the cuisine of the low country. The next morning the more formal part of the conference began in the Charleston Museum auditorium with an engaging opening by the Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg. Session topics included among others how to guide when controversial topics come up; how to deal with emergencies while on the tour; and how to market our tours better. The second day also included a visit to the historic Middleton Plantation, where we had lunch, followed by an evening visit to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, one of three surviving buildings where thee United States Constitution was ratified.
There was also a lot going on behind the scenes. The NFTGA is led by an executive board of seven members, who are elected at every biennial convention. This year, GANYC member Matt Baker finished his term as NFTGA Secretary, but GANYC will remain a presence on their Board. Michael Dillinger was elected as Vice-President of the NFTGA, and former GANYC member (now residing in Florida) Amada Anderson was elected Secretary. Congratulations to all of the newly elected officers! GANYC hopes to play a strong role in leading the NFTGA in new and exciting directions.
Also, we were given a presentation on the upcoming 2021 World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (WFTGA) conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.
By the time we finished, we had eaten a lot, socialized a lot, and learned a lot. Many of us went away with souvenirs; most of us made new friends. We all came away with wonderful memories. Unfortunately, several GANYC members were notified that their flight was canceled due to high winds on the east coast. Thankfully everyone was able to re-book and leave without significant delay.
Personally, it was my first time in Charleston, but it will not be my last. However, when I return I will have many people to show me around.
Introducing GANYC guide: George Barabas
Company: New York City Discoveries
Social Media: Instagram
How long have you been a tour guide?
Over 15 years.
What drove you to become a tour guide?
Ever since arriving in New York at age thirteen, many years ago, I have been fascinated by the city's infinite variety of attractions and its constant evolution. Exploring the city has been my hobby ever since. I love sharing my love of the city with visitors. I have been a New York City teacher for over 30 years and am currently a college professor; the interaction with the visitors is a delight as they discover with me what makes New York City so special.
What types of tours do you offer?
I offer walking, public transportation, bus, limo, private, groups and tours in Hungarian, as well as English.
Do you offer Niche Tours?
I specialize in introducing the city to first time visitors; Hungarian language tours are also offered, in addition to English. I also do tours customized to the interest of visitors.
What is the most gratifying part of your work?
It is a pleasure to see my visitors happy with what they see and learn about New York as they tour with me.
What time of year would you consider your busy season?
The summer season is the busiest.
Have you or your company received any awards?
My most important and valued awards are the many thank you letters I receive from my clients. It gives my joy to know that exploring the city with me gave them happy memories of New York that will last a lifetime.
What upcoming or annual events, promotions or sales would you like to promote?
New York is especially festive around New Year's and the holidays. The summer season also offers many great events. New York is a great place any time of the year!!!
How long have you been a member of GANYC?
How did you hear or learn about GANYC?
One of my colleagues told me about it when I worked at Grayline many years ago.
How has GANYC helped you and your business?
My GANYC profile page is very helpful, and my membership in the organization provides confidence to potential clients.
What's your advice or Tour Guide tip you love to share to people visiting New York?
Experience the city with someone who lives here. Use public transportation; get to know the city up close, rather than only from a bus. Be open to new things and have lots of fun discovering the real New York as only a licensed, professional, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, GANYC guide can show you!!!
(For more info or to book a tour with George, check out his GANYC profile by clicking here.)
It is with deep sadness that GANYC announces that former GANYC President, and the dean of New York City tour guides, Lee Gelber has passed away.
Lee was truly a living embodiment of the spirit of this great & dynamic city. It is for these reasons that he was our first honoree of the Guiding Spirit Award, at the Apple Awards ceremony in 2016, designed to honor a professional tour guide who had mentored others, led by example, and been a pillar of the guided tourism industry in New York. Starting this year, it has been renamed The Lee Gelber Award for Guiding Spirit in his honor.
His legacy lives on forever in the thousands of guides that he trained or inspired for several decades. How long had Lee been training guides? Here is a 1996 New York Times article talking about Lee's work in that regard. Countless guides have already this week recounted lessons they learned from Lee, or the many stories and jokes he loved to tell.
So many New York guides have great stories and memories of Lee, and we look forward to hearing and sharing them. Thank you, Lee, for everything.
What are the GANYC Apple Awards? Here, some of our members explain. In short, these Awards are when GANYC celebrates not itself, or its guides, but the people and institutions that make New York so great, and in turn, make our work so fulfilling.
This will be the 6th year in which GANYC organizes these Awards, our most fun and exciting event of the year. Featuring dozens of nominees and amazing presenters, it is a celebration not to miss! We will once again be at the SVA Theater, and hosted by the fabulous Bowery Boys. We are also proud to announce that Red Hook Lobster Pound will be our main food sponsor for our pre-ceremony VIP reception. Come join us as those who know New York best honor the best of New York.
You can see all of our nominees here: https://www.ganyc.org/2020-ganyc-apple-awards
And ticket pricing and information is now live: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/6th-annual-ganyc-apple-awards-tickets-86277068033?discount=EarlyPublic