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  1. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Paul Kittas

    Introducing GANYC guide Paul Kittas!

    Company: Heights Tours

    Phone646-318-5906

    Email

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


    How long have you been a tour guide?

    12 years; since 2005.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    I have Christmas lights in the winter and flowers in the spring and summer.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Mostly walking, to take in the details.

    Do you offer Niche Tours? 

    I only offer Niche Tours: NYBG all year, Lighting mostly Christmas, and Women in the Revolutionary War and Manhattan's Battle of Fort Washington.

    Have you or your company received any awards?

    National Design Award.  A plan to better understand the urban environment.   "Form and Appearance 1 & 2" was completed many years ago.

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

    The exciting tours I discovered and scripted even before I was focused on giving them.  I understand many key items that make NYC exciting and beautiful.  

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Being appreciated for the years of research, gardening and exploring that was required to assemble my tours.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    2 months.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Personal research.  Wanted support and guidance to be good.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    Yes, GANYC requires to always be on your toes and to be quick to respond.

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

    Keep your eyes open, there is magic everywhere.
     

  2. GANYC's Kevin Fitzpatrick on WWI New York

    For those interested in both larger US history, and the lesser-known history in New York, here is a half-hour video starring GANYC's very own Kevin Fitzpatrick talking about his new book, "World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War". In addition to being a regular sightseeing guide, Fitzpatrick has written several books about NYC history.

    LINK: World War New York City, Jul 28 2017 | Video | C-SPAN.org

  3. 2017 GANYC Job Fair & Talent Expo!

    Registration is now live for the our 2017 GANYC Job Fair & Talent Expo!

    REGISTER HERE.

    This event, open to licensed guides only, 
    will give NYC guides a chance to meet with as many as 30 local and national tour operators, Destination Management Companies (DMCs), and NYC attractions that hire tour guides. This event will take place Monday, September 25, 2017 from 9 am - 12 pm at Dewey's Restaurant at 135 West 30th Street. 

    Attendance is free for all active GANYC members. NYC Sightseeing guides who are not members of GANYC will be able to attend for a fee.
     

    The first hour, 9am - 10am, will be exclusive for GANYC members. From 10-12, GANYC members and non-members will be able to attend.

  4. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Barbara Dunn-Alfinito

    Introducing GANYC guide Barbara Dunn-Alfinito!


    Website: BarbsGetaway

    Phone205-533-1884

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    26 years.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    March-June.

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

    When we started 26 years ago, there was no online media.  I was featured on Hour Magazine with Gary Collins  and remember many others as well.

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

    In 1989, I became a travel agent. Then, in 2001, because of September 11, I had to relocate to Alabama.  I did not blend.  My sister saw an add for Smithsonian Student tours, aka EF.  They did not pay much, but would flew me home!   I applied, got the job, left EF in 2006 and then started my own business.

    What types of tours do you offer? 

    Educational student tours or Senior adult tours.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Giant groups. 100-250+ if needed.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Tips.

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

    If you are a Travel agent, I wholesale to the trade.

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

    If you have a group, 20 or more, I will book at a  discounted rate, and then you can mark it up 20-30% and still be at a great rate!

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    10 years.

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

    Hire a guide.


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

  5. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Chris Kindred of GuideTurbo

    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- GuideTurbo LLC

    Websitehttp://www.guideturbo.com

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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

    What year did your business open?

    2016.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    GuideTurbo is a tool for both Guides and for people looking for a guide. Guides, instructors and outfitters of all kinds create a profile and list all of the services that their businesses offer. They use our platform to manage their calendar, accept online bookings and payments, accept reviews and much more. If you’re looking for a guide, search by a variety of different ways for whatever activity you’re looking for, and book it right away.

    What drove you to work or create this company?

    GuideTurbo was created by a Guide with over 15 years experience as a whitewater river guide and fly-fishing guide. We know how hard it is to Guide, do the marketing, do the books, order new equipment, and be flexible about the weather. Now with GuideTurbo, we've made it easier for the guides to run their business and focus on offering an unforgettable experience, and now its easy for anyone to find a Guide!

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

    Its always free!

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    All seasons as we operate both nationally and internationally.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Helping Guides become better guides by reducing the strain of daily business operations. It makes it more fun for everyone.

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

    We occasionally run promotions to encourage guides to sign up, and give away swag from GuideTurbo as a promotional gift. We also push GANYC on our blog and social media as an Industry Partner, and display the logo as well. Also, as an Industry Partners, our listed Guides will have access to the Pro Deals or similar that we secure.

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

    We get to meet a lot of guides in our daily operations and also get to go on a lot of trips with them. How cool and fun is that? One day we might be on a biking tour in NYC, the next we might be on a river in Tennessee fly fishing... We take the phrase Life Is Adventure to heart!

  6. Spotlight on GANYC Guides: Alfred Pommer

    Introducing GANYC guide Alfred Pommer!


    Company name: New York City Cultural Walking Tours

    Websitehttp://www.nycwalk.com

    Phone:  212 979 2388

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    28 years.

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

    I have authored four New York city guide books published by the History Press.

    (LINK)


    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    A life-long interest in New York City's architecture and history.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    Walking tour that focus on architecture and history. My tours include interesting pictures and stories of each neighborhood's past.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Sharing my knowledge of New York City past with anyone who is interested.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    26 years.

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

    To read about New York City's history.
     

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

  7. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Alon Moreshet of Guiderr

    Introducing GANYC industry partner -- Guiderr 

    Websitehttps://www.guiderr.com

    Email

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram


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

    What year did your business open?

    2016.

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    Families with children traveling to New York who need help personalizing their itineraries from professional tour guides and agencies.

    What drove you to work or create this company/organization?

    Personal experience drove me to create this company. I have a family of five and we love to travel. However, whenever we tried planning our itineraries, we found ourselves confused and stressed out. One day, I realized that the answer to this problem would be local experts who could give me their opinions. Thus, Guiderr was born, and exists to solve these problems for all families who are struggling to find guides or plan their itineraries. This way, families can receive direct, personalized advice from experts who know the area and how to best satisfy the interests of the entire family.

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

    Currently, we are starting to launch into New York. We are looking for tour guides and agencies to join us in this process. As we grow as a company, we need a few brave trailblazers to get on board and see just how beneficial Guiderr can be.

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

    Tour guides that join Guiderr in the next 2 weeks will get to use our system for free for 3 months. That means Guiderr will not take any commission from sales made through our service during those 3 months.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    When families give us feedback about how smooth their vacation planning process was. We know that most families hate the planning process, so when we are able to hear that it was enjoyable for them, we are happy. It is also extremely gratifying to know that their vacation was a success, as well. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing that a family had one of the best vacations of their lives as a result of Guiderr.

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

    Our business revolves around fun. The entire purpose of our company is to ensure that the entire family is enjoying themselves and the vacation as much as possible. This goal is the basis of Guiderr's existence. 

  8. Spotlight on GANYC Guide: Hal Weiner

    Introducing GANYC guide Hal Weiner!


    Company name: Papa Razzi's Photo Tours

    Phone: 917 957 8244

    Email

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

    How long have you been a tour guide?

    15 years, I think, maybe longer.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    Summer and holidays. I am a top of the bus guide at BigBusTours NYC.

    What drove you to become a tour guide?

    I took a tour on a top of the bus with Gray Lines after I closed my law office after 32 years of law practice.

    What types of tours do you offer?

    A combination of walking tours and public transportation especially utilizing the Staten Island Ferry and Water Taxi.

    Do you offer Niche Tours?

    Yes. Photographic tours of NYC for pro and advanced amateur photographers with emphasis on variety, not architecture including nature.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Meeting and chatting with families from over 70 countries in the course of a year.

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

    All my clients are celebrities. They discovered NY.  Actually it was a group from the House of Lords in Great Britain with the former Law Lord of England whose writings I studied in NYU Law School.

    How long have you been a member of GANYC?

    14 years, I think, maybe longer.

    How did you hear or learn about GANYC?

    Lee Gelber sponsored me when I was at CitySights in the early years.

    How has GANYC helped you and your business?

    I have had good school tours from Hong Kong spanning a week.

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

    Do not take surface transit of any kind if you are in a big hurry. The only way to get around town is subway or helicopter.


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

  9. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Thomas DeGeest of Wafels & Dinges

    Introducing GANYC industry partner Wafels & Dinges 


    Websitehttps://dinges.nyc

    Phone: (212) 510-7114

    Email.


    Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube
     

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


    Q: What year did your business open?

    2007.

    Q: Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    Well we like to think that we make "best moment of the day" for our customers. We see a lot of people looking to share a special moment of indulgence with a best friend, with their mom, their kid, their colleague...It's fun, it's just wafels. And dinges. Dinges is Belgian slang for toppings. Everyone likes to be a kid again. 

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

    + 2009 NYC Vendy Award for Best Street Vendor

    + Thrillist "The best dessert cart in NYC, bar none" 
    + Time Out NY - Top 5 Best Fast Food Restaurants in NYC
    + "Best Dessert Truck in America" by the Daily Meal
    + "Most Popular Food Truck" in the USA
    + "25 Most Fantastic Food Trucks" in the USA by Forbes
    + "Best Belgian Waffle" in NYC

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

    Yes:
    +The Today Show

    Q: What drove you to work or create this company/organization?

    It was the summer of 2007, when the King of Belgians, Albert II, got word of soggy “Belgian waffles” in that far away Land of America. They were found in obscure diners, made of pancake batter. “These so called "Belgian" waffles are a disgrace!” So his majesty commissioned the Special Forces from the Ministry of Culinary Affairs, Department of Wafels. He knighted Thomas DeGeest to "Special Envoy for Wafels", and later crowned Rossanna Figuera as "Ambassador of Good Things". Wafels & Dinges was born. It all started with a ‘68 Chevy Truck roaming the streets of NYC. "Wafels & Dinges' mission shall be to give America's “Belgian waffles” a serious upgrade", Albert II declared. And the rest is history...

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

    There is of course International Wafel Day (March 25), when anyone dressed in yellow gets a free waffle. 
     
    On National Wafel Day (August 24), we have an "art challenge". In exchange for a drawing of a waffle propelled bicycle, a waffle rocket ship....every year it's another theme, you get your free waffle. We have a lot of fun with it. 
     
    The biggest event of the year however is the ANNUAL CROWNING OF THE WAFEL KING & QUEEN OF NYC. This happens usually two week after Labor Day. It's a big contest with big prizes. The King & Queen not only win a Year of Free Wafels & Dinges, but thanks to Brussels Airlines they also make a royal trip to Belgium in business class, and a whole week of royal treatment in Belgium. 

    Q: What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Simply said - delighted customers and happy employees.

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

    King & Queen of Belgium of course....quality control. True story. Tina Fey is a big fan Katie Holmes & Surie We've catered with Jack Nicholson, Martha Stewart, Rod Stewart, Matt Lauer, Bon Jovi...they all love Wafels. And dinges.  We have catered to virtually every movie and TV show that's shot in NYC.

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

    Well, GANYC guides and their customers get a FREE scoop of ice cream on any wafel (full size) they choose. 

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

    Ok - so people need to know that Wafels & Dinges was really the first "gourmet" food truck that emerged in 2007, and set the trend for the food truck wave in NYC and across the country. The whole story is below. We've since been part of daily life in NYC, with carts and trucks and kiosk in many of the most iconic NYC locations: 3 carts in Central Park, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Bryant Park, Herald Square and now Times Square. We started from nothing and now I like to think we're a little NYC institution. When it comes to waffles anyways. 
    People just go crazy when they can build their own waffles. We have people walking out with Double Deckers, Triple Stacks packed with strawberries, chocolate, whipped cream, spekuloos, bananas, ice cream....crazy crazy.
     
    Here's the whole story:
     
    It was in the summer of 2007, when the ailing King of Belgians, Albert II, got word of the “Belgian waffles” in the far away land of America. He was told the waffles were soggy, sometimes even greasy. They were served in low-life diners, with bacon, sausages and corn syrup. Horror. And worst of all, they were made with pancake batter!
     
    America’s fascination with Belgian waffles had started 40 years earlier, at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. It felt like summer romance back then. At the “Bel-Gem” waffle stand of Maurice Vermeersch, World’s Fair visitors discovered the temptation and joy of a light and crispy Brussels waffle, covered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. The flame of waffle love slowly faded though, and by the early seventies the waffles felt neglected and misunderstood. By the beginning of the new millennium, no one ever remembered the Brussels waffles. It was all diner-waffles now, round instead of rectangular, mushy instead of crunchy. 
     
    “These waffles are a disgrace to the culinary heritage of our Flemish and Walloon people. We just cannot let this go on”, his majesty said. So he commissioned the Ministry of Culinary Affairs, Department of Wafels, to remedy the waffle situation in the USA. 
     
    What happened next, you all know. The Ministry activated its dormant waffle-cell in New York City. After 10 years of living undercover as an IBM Management Consultant, the waffle-guy was called to duty. The King allocated an annual budget for the “waffle-surge” and let it be known that going forward, Thomas DeGeest would be the “Special Envoy for Wafels” to the USA.  He was tasked with drastically improving the “Belgian waffle” quality in America, starting in New York City. 
     
    The King had no idea of the cost to start a business in NYC, and so the budget was based on Belgian franks instead of dollars. With meager funds but with substantial moral support from the Ministry, his wife Rossanna and waffle lovers everywhere, Thomas bought a 1968 Chevy box truck and hit the hot dog and shish kebab jammed jungle of New York City. The Ministry wanted to name the truck “Les Waffles Royals”, but in an act of rebellion, Thomas baptized it in Flemish: “Wafels & Dinges”. Very few New Yorkers knew the true meaning of “dinges”, and that’s a good thing because it could really meaning anything. “Dinges” is the Belgian word for “stuff”, or “whatchamacallit”, or “what’s his/her name”.  For us, “dinges” means toppings.
     
    On October 17th of the year 2007, Thomas sold the very first waffle (one topped with Nutella) on the corner of Broadway and Prince Street to an unsuspecting waffle-loving trendsetter who may never know (or have the opportunity to brag to their friends about) being first among millions.
     
    The world began to take notice. Food blogs raved about the elusive waffle truck.  On November 12, 2007 the New York Post published a full-page article titled “He’s the Iron Man”. The next day the phones rang of the hook and Wafels & Dinges had a started its catering business, serving its Belgian goodness to private and corporate parties everywhere. The truck began to gain fans. More newspapers came. Morning show weather men started showing up, Belgians began descending to the truck en masse. A strange number of Japanese television shows began to take interest. Even Al Roker nearly lost his mind over a waffle on the Today Show at one point, but not all was well. Papa truck had begun to give out.
     
    You may have heard the stories or seen the videos. It’s all true. Like when an aging family member begins to act irrationally, there was not much that could be done. The truck blasted fire from its exhaust. It broke down on the way to a very important date at the 2008 Vendy Awards. It made sounds that set off all the car alarms across the block. On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, we were driving up Park Avenue South when friendly pedestrians pointed out that the bottom of the truck had caught fire. The FDNY cordoned off the avenue and we continued baking that day. Later we lost both our mirrors and the horn gave out. Something happened that made it permanently tilt to one side. At one point the gear shift stick came right out of the floor driving up First Avenue. After that and a few too many trips to the mechanic, the truck was no longer a manual, yet not quite an automatic vehicle but a beautiful if bittersweet hybrid, probably the first of its kind.
     
     But try we did. We got to know all the towing guys in the city and found out which ones could be bribed with waffles. They took the old ’68 Chevy on countless, fruitless visits to the mechanic. Soon the truck had to be tow-started every time it had to move. It was a spectacular endeavor that involved a rope, the waffle-guy’s station wagon and a lot of making sure there were no cops around. Eventually they were around and after a very amusing episode in criminal court, the truck retired itself to the corner of 7th Avenue and 22nd street where the waffle guy of turn would try to stay awake while daydreaming of customers and the joys of the open road.
     
                Flash forward to April 2009.  The Congress in Belgium finally approved a bill to increase funding for the waffle-surge. With a brand new truck, a whole new era had started. Real Belgian wafels were now being served across 14 locations in New York City, 7 days a week, 14 hours per day. The wafels never sleep.  The success of the surge started taking hold. Four mini-trucks were added in 2010. Vanilla waffle-aromas were noticed daily from Central Park all the way down to Battery Park. In over 38 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, soggy waffles were expelled to make room for the crispy real deal. 
     
    On a trip to  Belgian in late 2009, the waffle-guy discovered a new dinges. It was a spread made out traditional Belgian gingerbread cookies – “spekuloos spread”.  If you don’t know about it, you will. The Ministry challenged us to make it our signature topping. Thousands of samples later, we can proudly say that we put spekuloos-spread on the map in America. Even Bobby Flay experienced its secret dark powers as he got slayed by a spekuloos wafel during the “Throwdown”. 
     
    That year we made it back to The Vendy Awards and in classic Dinges style we were redeemed in full view of the world and on our own ancestral wafel grounds of Flushing Meadows taking home the top prize in our category. The dream was working. Our fan base was growing with fans as distinguished as Els Scheppers, the lovely lady who invented the Spekuloos spread, the legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx, even the Crown Prince and Princes of Belgium gave the Wafels their seal of approval! Holy Dinges!
     
    Zagat woke up one morningin 2010 and rated us the number one food truck in the city. TLC, the Learning Channel even decided we were the number one food truck in the country. The culinary shows “Man vs. Food” and “Eat Street” dedicated a special feature to the “Wafels & Dinges” surge. Jerry Seinfeld recommended the waffles to Andersen Cooper.  And the rest, as they say, is history.
  10. Spotlight on Industry Partner: Nathalie Knobloch of Voila Chocolat

    Introducing GANYC industry partner Voilà Chocolat 

    Voilà Chocolat 
    221 W. 79th St
    New York, NY 10024

    Website: http://voila-chocolat.com

    Phone: 212 920 8799

    Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube
     

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

    What year did your business open?

    December 2014

    Can you tell us a little about your ideal customer?

    Anyone who likes chocolate and is not afraid to get his hands dirty.

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

    Our master chocolatier: Christophe Toury was awarded Top 10 Chocolatiers 2015, in January 27 2016.

    (LINK)

    What drove you to work or create this company/organization?

    In 2012, Peter Moustakerski was hosting his daughter's 10th birthday at a make-your-own arts & crafts shop in New York City. He noticed how everyone at the party, both kids and adults, became joyfully immersed in their hands-on creativity and derived pure happiness from the shared experience. A long-time chocoholic, amateur chocolate scholar, and professionally trained chocolatier, Moustakerski related the experience to how he felt whenever he made his own artisanal chocolates. That was the moment he knew he had to create Voilà Chocolat, to share that feeling and that magic with others.

     
    Moustakerski left his successful career as strategy consultant and wealth manager, and assembled a “dream team”, which includes a nationally-recognized Master Chocolatier and a senior chocolate scientist, to help him create a unique place where every-day consumers, not only trained chocolatiers, could experience the fun and magic of crafting beautiful, delicious chocolates with friends, family and colleagues. The first Voilà Chocolat store opened in December 2014 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
     
    Voilà Chocolat has a simple vision: create unexpected happiness for all its customers. Its mission is to delight its customers with fun, artisanal and educational chocolatiering experiences, led by hospitable and knowledgeable staff, using the highest-quality ingredients, and promoting environmental sustainability and healthy living. As an artistic material, chocolate is endlessly fascinating, complex, and creative to work and play with, and Voilà Chocolat is dedicated to helping everyone discover the surprisingly rewarding and entertaining experience of making chocolates.

    What time of year would you consider your busy season? 

    The Holiday Season and Valentine's Day.

    What is the most gratifying part of your work? 

    Seeing the smiles on the faces of our customers, seeing them enjoy themselves and have a wonderful time together.

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

    Yes, check out our press page. This includes: ABC News, SinoVision, and this segment from NBC Universal:




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

    Voila Chocolat is extending the following offer to all guides of GANYC: 
     
    First visit at the store will be on us. Come with your friends, family or industry partner.
    Subsequent visits will be discounted by 20 %. Send an e-mail to nathalie@voila-chocolat.com when you are ready to come, indicating your wish date, time and the number of persons you woud like to bring so we can confirm availability and the offer. 
     
    Voila Chocolat is extending the following offer to all tourists working with guides of GANYC
    complimentary beverage with any experience and 10% on our retail products (except books and souvenirs) - Use code GANYC2017

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

    We had a customer, who is over 90 years old, who had a tough medical procedure, and the first thing he wanted to do with his family after he was discharged from the hospital was to come make chocolates at Voilà Chocolat. So he showed up with a group of friends and family, while he was still in a wheelchair and hooked to an oxygen bottle, and they had a great time. We exist so we can create moments like that - unexpected happiness moments for everyone.
     
    We had customers who choose our location to propose and get engaged. An other extreme moment of unexpected happiness.
     

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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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