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  1. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Michael Dillinger

    Introducing GANYC guide: Michael Dillinger!

    Company: Dillinger's New York

    Phone: 917-400-5576

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    9 and 1/2 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    My year is fairly busy all the time.  Jan. and Feb. are the slowest but I can still manage to get about 2-3 days a week even then.  I'm very lucky in that I try to diversify and work for companies as well as for myself.

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

    Yes.  There was an article in Huffington Post on one of my tours.

    The Right Way to Tour NYC’s 9/11 Memorial


    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    It really was an accident of sorts.  My late partner had a catering/party planning company and there was prospective client looking to have a small (40 person) wedding in NYC and wanted something unique.  I hatched the idea that we could rent a vehicle and do a custom tour built around the couples story.  How and where they met, important places in there relationship, that kind of thing.  I then heard that we'd need a guide license so I went down and took the test.  Got the license but the client passed.  So I just started looking around to see if I could make a little extra money. Thanks to some luck with Tripadvisor reviews for a tour I was doing with one company, I was quickly able to build into a full time career.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Private tours are done on foot and utilize the subway system to get from on neighborhood to the other.  I also do harbor tours on New York Water Taxi, step on work and work as a Tour Director for over the road student tours.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Seeing my home town through new eyes.  Every day I get to experience the city fresh.  And I get to share with people from all over the world places they have dreamed of seeing.  For many a trip to NYC is the chance of a lifetime and it's such an honor to help them experience it.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    8 years.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Early on I looked up professional guide organizations in NYC and GANYC came up.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    I knew very little about guiding or how the business worked when I started.  Kind of fell into guiding by accident.  Meeting colleagues and hearing about different companies and jobs was a big help.  So were the FAM tours and education opportunities.  And having gotten to know some members early on led to work because they could recommend me for a job.  It's been one of the best ways to build a professional network.

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

    I love to help them really experience NYC.  I teach them how to use the subway.  If you really want to know NYC,  you have to ride the subway.


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

     

  2. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Myra Alperson

    Introducing GANYC guide: Myra Alperson!

    Company: NoshWalks

    Phone: 212-222-2243

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Over 30 years.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Food tours, with history and culture built in - walking only, with occasional public bus connections.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    I uniquely focus on food in ethnic neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, plus two neighborhoods in Newark and (to come in 2018) two neighborhoods within Paterson, New Jersey. Many Noshwalks destinations are unknown to tourists, and the idea is to support these small, mainly immigrant, businesses (restaurants, markets, bakeries) that sell delicious food but also strengthen their neighborhoods. I've been leading tours like this since 1983 (Hungry Pedalers Gourmet Bicycle Tours, 1983-1990) and Noshwalks, which I launched in 2000.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    Spring and fall.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    No awards, per se, but I've gotten extensive press coverage, including four stories on NY1 TV, a feature in the NY Times, and a profile in Manhattan Users Guide (2015) that I didn't know was coming. I'm currently developing a full program of Bronx Noshwalks ("Nosh the Bronx") that I hope will get more recognition as an incentive to get more people to go there.

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

    See above. Here is the main Noshwalks feature (NY Times). I've also been listed in the NY Times travel section twice, including Frugal Traveler column in November 2015 (link to 2011 feature). Noshwalks is listed in a several NYC guides - I've been in Frommer's, Rough Guide, etc. - not sure which guides currently feature Noshwalks.

    Also: 2009 feature in the NY Daily News.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    Passion.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    I get to make some money doing what I love, building on my own vision and creativity, and on my terms!

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

    I will give GANYC MEMBERS a significant discount, i.e. I'll charge food costs and a bit more, rather than my full fee. Hopefully, they'll show their appreciation with a tip.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Not sure... 8 years?

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Networking.

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

    Get out of Manhattan... or to areas of Manhattan NOT in  your tour books! When leading custom tours, I always advise people, especially out-of-towners, to take one of my tours in the boroughs.


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

     

  3. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Amada Anderson

    Introducing GANYC guide: Amada Anderson!

    Company: New York Broadway Tours

    Phone: (646) 246-5844

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    Since 2011.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tours and step-on guide work.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    YES! I offer musical theatre walking tours based off of Broadway shows, trivia, and history. My company was inspired while standing next to the Jefferson Market Courthouse and sharing the story of the death of Stanford White and Harry Thaw. It was made famous by a song in the musical Ragtime called "Crime of the Century".  I started singing the song on my tour and then I realized that it would be really fun to sing along to famous musicals outside some of the Broadway Theatre's and so my tours are interactive and fun. It's something for every age but mostly upcoming actors who want an inside behind the scenes scoop on working on Broadway and New York City. On our Haunted Broadway Walking tour you can learn dance moves to the Time Warp or even Michael Jackson's Thriller dance.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?

    I am open all year round, but a majority of my tours are best taken March-December.

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

    Yes, I was recently featured on YesBroadway by GoldStar for my Haunted Broadway walking tour and Thriller Dance Workshop and Ghost Tour of the East Village, on Peek's website as a case study, and recently in Time Out New York.

    Here's a snippet of my bio from my own website:

    She has performed in various parades throughout New York, including: The NYC Dance Parade (led the Parade in 2013), the NYC Gay Pride Parade, Jersey Pride Fest, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade and the Village Halloween Parade.

    She has made TV appearances for various lifetime experiences on: NBC’s Today Show, CNN Money, Univision’s Despierta America, WHTV’s What’s Happening NYC?, NYC Media’s Under The Pink Carpet, QPTV’s Sing, Sing, Sing! and The Sound Box, VH1’s You Oughta Know featuring Artist Gin Wigmore, and CUNY-TV’s Study With The Best.

    She has been featured in online media, such as: CrowdFundingGuide.com , Humans of New York, NYC Tourist, etc.; as well as magazines and newspapers, including Zombie Magazine, the Examiner, Time Out New York, Village Voice, Simple Magazine, The Culture Trip, Destinations Travel Magazine, The Forward, The Weekender, Groupon, and Peek as a case study. 

    She has also been featured as an entrepreneur in the book The Power Players Guide to Playing Powerfully in the Game of Life, crowned “Queen of Karaoke” in Florida, and holds a Planet Connections Festivity acting award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress” for the role of Darcie in Andrew Rothkin’s Off-Broadway play Danny.

    My linkedIN profile showcases direct links to articles, videos, and more. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amadaanderson


    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    The honest truth is that I was unemployed and I was looking for something else that maybe involved being more interactive instead of a regular 9-5pm. I had always walked through Grand Central and admired the building and had never taken a walking tour of it. I found a company that was giving tours in the winter and I asked the owner of the company if he was hiring actors. He said he needed more guides and that I needed to get my license first though. So I did. And then after working with his company I was inspired to give my own walking tours. I continue to be inspired of new tours to offer every week.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Interacting with customers and sharing my passion of New York City and it's legendary stories. It's so similar to teaching. I love when the little light goes on over there heads and you can see they really learned something. That's my favorite moment. Or when I share something with them and I know they will never forget that moment the rest of their lives. I strive for giving people experiences and memories.

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

    I have had producers of Broadway and TV shows attend my tours and have provided various stories and antidotes that I share with my groups. You get used to seeing the same Broadway stars in Shubert Alley crossing through or walking by and saying hello and stopping for selfies with their fans. We also share a lot of Broadway gossip on our Facebook fan page and website Blog and the celebrities and Broadway companies will be tagged and like and share our info. It's an amazing supportive community.

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

    We have a special Christmas Caroling Down Broadway walking tour we offer every December.

    We also offer every Halloween (2 for 1's) ticket sales for our Haunted Broadway Walking Tour during the month of October even though we offer that tour all year round.

    What special deals, sales, events or promotions are you offering to GANYC followers?

    All GANYC followers and partners can always enjoy 10% off by using the code "SpotlightOnGANYC".

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    Since 2013.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Jared Goldstein.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    GANYC has been a wonderful asset to my business because there are so many talented guides who run extremely profitable businesses and they are always so kind and generous with sharing their advice. I joined several committees right away and learned so much from the other volunteers. Because of these new friends and colleagues I have enjoyed learning more about New York City and have regained a new passion as well. The FAM tours we share with each other and the many other activities we engage in connects us all together and strengthens our association thereby strengthening myself and my business. I am always thankful for the association and their activities and members.

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

    Since I give mostly Broadway tours a lot of my tips involve how to get good tickets at the theatre. I always instruct them that they can get half priced tickets at the TKTS booth or using Todaytix app but if they don't mind spending a few extra dollars and if they don't mind not sitting next to their friends for a few hours then they should just go directly to the box office and for single ticket seats. A lot of the times people book seats together and there is always seats spread out where if you go ahead of time and ask for them they will offer you orchestra seats for a little bit less than expected. You also save on extra handling fees.


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

  4. National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations Conference 2018

    Numerous GANYC members will be heading down to Philadelphia next month for the 2018 NFTGA conference. We hope that many of you will join us there, in representing not just New York City, but also our guiding community. Here are some announcements from the NFTGA about the conference, for those who have not registered:

    REMEMBER EARLY BIRD RATES END ON JANUARY 31. REGISTER AT www.nftga.com. THE HOTEL BLOCK IS ALMOST FULL SO BE SURE TO ALSO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION.

    NFTGA CONFERENCE
    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    -Opening reception
    -A visit to Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent. In addition, to food and drink, we will be able to visit the entire museum.

    Thursday, February 22 - We’ll be focusing on the tourism and the guiding profession. Highlights are:

    -Welcome from VisitPhilly™

    -The State of the Tourism in the US
    This session led my members of the U.S. Travel Association will focus on state of tourism in the United States including trends and expectations. It will also cover the key challenges facing tourism as well as an overview of the upcoming legislation that could impact travel. Included will be a description of the many activities in which the US Travel Association is engaged and how guides and guide associations can be involved in and benefit from their activities.

    -Business of Guiding
    This session will focus on the tourism industry, the various types of tourism organizations and their functions, individual guide and association business considerations e.g. taxes, insurance etc. Panel members include representatives from CaldwellCPA who are business advisors to many of those in the tourism industry.

    -Lunch

    -Celebrating NFTGA 20th anniversary

    -National Parks and Tour Guides - Working Together
    This session led by NPS Tourism Program Manager Donald Leadbetter will focus on updates, and information from the agency. Topics will include policy and budget news, updates on entry fee and commercial use authorization policies, visitation trends and challenges, and digital tools and resources.

    -Working with our Industry Tourism Partners
    This session will focus on how NFTGA associations and their members can work most effectively with our Tourism Industry Partners. The panel will include representatives from NTA, ABA, SYTA and NAI.

    -Evening: 
    Visit to One Liberty Observation Deck. 57 stories up with its spectacular views followed by dinner at the restaurant, La Buca.

    Friday, February 23, 2018

    -Technology and tour guiding- tends and challenges
    This session focuses on trends in the tour guiding, ‘competition’ from new technology, technology to assist tour guides. Speakers include Nick Cvetkovic, Annette Morejon from Whisper System about technology aids for tour guiding as well as Fred Behnke, the Founder/CEO of MapSocial speaking about the MapSocial mobile app map-based storytelling platform and its relevance to tour guiding.

    -International Tourism with emphasis on China, India and other Far East inbound
    We all know of the pressures on facing international tourism today. This sessions will focus on the challenges and opportunities of working with international tourists. Speakers include Jim DePhilippo, Tourism Sales Manager, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau who will speak on tourists from India and Dr. Yang Yang from Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University.

    -Incorporating African American and other ethnic groups perspectives
    This sessions will focus on means of enhancing our tours by incorporating minority perspectives. Speakers include GANYC member Ibrahim Diallo and Greg DeShields, the Executive Director at PHLDiversity Multicultural Affairs Congress.

    -Conclusion and optional box lunch. Also optional afternoon tours.

  5. Come Home... To New York!

     

    One year ago, at the WFTGA (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) conference in Tehran, GANYC debuted its video: "Come Home to New York", highlighting our city as a global capitol.

    No matter where you are from, in the US or anywhere in the world, there is always a slice of home in New York. We understand that global travelers have endless vacation options. And recent reports suggest many of them are choosing to take their business elsewhere. Here's our pitch on why New York is your second home, and your #1 choice.

     

     

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.)

  9. 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.)

  10. 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%.

     

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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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