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  1. GANYC Celebrated 6th-Annual Apple Awards!

    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

    Black Gotham Experience

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Tourism

    For leading the fight for tour guides and their value on Liberty & Ellis Islands-- Michael Morgenthal

    Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Preservation

    Murray Hill Neighborhood Association

    Outstanding NYC Website


    Outstanding Achievement in NYC Photography

    Marc A. Hermann, Two “baaaaad boys” that wandered onto the N line tracks

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

    Stuff You Missed in History Class, Fanny Brice Part 1 & 2

    Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing (Fiction)

    The Pearl Dagger (An Art Deco Mystery) by L.A. Chandlar

    Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing (Non-Fiction)

    111 Places in the Bronx That You Must Not Miss by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick

    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

    Great seafood for over 100 years, Grand Central Oyster Bar

    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 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.

  2. GANYC's Michael Kaback Spotlights the Garment District

    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

  3. Ask A NYC Tour Guide

    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!

  4. GANYC Highlights Chinatown in International Tourist Guide Day Celebrations

    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.

  5. GANYC Travels to Charleston for NFTGA Conference

    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.

  6. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: George Barabas

    Introducing GANYC guide: George Barabas

    Company: New York City Discoveries

    Social Media: Instagram

    Phone: 516-446-7111



    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?

    Many years.

    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.)

  7. Remembering Lee Gelber

    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.


  8. GANYC Apple Awards coming on March 2!



    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:

  9. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: John Semlak

    Introducing GANYC guide: John Semlak

    Company: Explore New York History

    Social Media: Instagram / Facebook

    Phone: 347-283-7817



    How long have you been a tour guide?

    8 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season?


    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    Passion for the city.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work?

    Teaching people things about that city they didn’t know.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    5 years.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Through friends/fellow guides.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking, bike, and coach tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Historical tours.

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

    Take a tour!

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


  10. Year End Odds + Ends

    GANYC wants to thank all of its members & industry partners for a wonderful 2019, and we look forward to working together more in 2020 to show the world why our members are your surest bet to the best New York City experiences.

    A couple of odds & ends as we reach the end of the year:

    • On January 1st, our new Executive Board begins their 2-year term! Thanks to all our full, voting members for what was our biggest turnout in an election yet. And thanks to our outgoing Board members for their years of service to our organization. Your new GANYC Board is:
      President: Emma Guest-Consales
      Vice-Presidents: Michael Morgenthal & Bob Gelber
      Treasurer: Jeremy Wilcox
      Secretaries: Patrick Casey & John Semlak
      Members at Large: Cristina Lombardi, Deborah Blau, Kevin Lawrence
    • GANYC will be starting off 2020 with the next round of our certification course. It is designed to test, enhance, and certify your skills and versatility as a guide. The course begins January 6th, and runs 3 times a week for 3 weeks. It is open to all members, and you can register here. Registration closes on January 2. Several past graduates have already sold the tours they created in the course to clients, making their tuition pay for itself!
    • GANYC is also hard at work preparing for the 6th-annual GANYC Apple Awards. The full list of our nominees is: here.  These awards honor individuals and organizations that encourage and promote New York City tourism, culture and preservation while supporting the work and contributions of professional New York City tour guides. Tickets are now on sale (members get an even further discount, and can email the Awards Committee for that link). The ceremony will be March 2 at the SVA Theater.
    • We will also be furthering our organization's radius with participation in a number of 2020 events. In February, GANYC has numerous members attending the National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (NFTGA) conference, in Charleston. You can find more information about the conference: here. Representatives from guide associations across the US will be in attendance, with GANYC having more registrants than any other! Later in February, on Friday the 21st, we will be organizing events for International Tourist Guide Day... stay tuned for more details soon! And we will also once be sending members to represent us at Destination Capitol Hill, in April, which is the travel industry's top lobbying event and conference.
    • Finally, in addition to numerous fam tours (see the members calendar for dates + registration options), we will also work to offer more PDPs, Professional Development Programs. Our next upcoming one is on January 29: "Tour Guides and Taxes- Don’t Miss Deductions", with CPA William Caldwell. Learn how to manage your finances from a certified professional! Registration: here. And stay tuned over the winter for more PDPs to be announced!

    Thank you, and Happy New Year!


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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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