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  1. May 6 Monthly GANYC Meeting

    GANYC held its May monthly membership meeting online via Zoom. We will be holding all our monthly meetings in this format through August, with a tentative plan to return to in-person meetings at our Annual General Meeting on September 9. At last night's meeting, President Emma Guest-Consales gave her presidential report. Later she explained two changes the Board made to GANYC's by-laws (members can see our Announcements for details).

    Most importantly, we featured two excellent guest speakers:

    • Rafael Espinal: President/Executive Director, Freelancers Union. He discussed how COVID-19 is affecting freelancers, the types of support and aid available to freelancers, and what freelance work may look like after the pandemic.
    • Dan Pitzer: Breaking the Chain Counseling. He discussed dealing with anxiety in the wake of COVID-19 and its impact on the tour industry.

    We also had several GANYC Committee reports, and other updates including a preview of the Tour Your Own City website that will launch later this Spring.

  2. WFUV + GANYC To Create Virtual Tours!

    Just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t experience the Big Apple from home. WFUV News and GANYC are partnering up for a series of virtual tours featuring our members. Join WFUV for the first in this series next week as they team up with New York City tour guide Megan Marod for a conversation and virtual tours of some of the best the city has to offer, including some incredibly delicious bakeries. Many of which are still open for take-out and delivery during the quarantine, and some that even ship nationwide!

    The exploration begins at 7pm EST Wednesday May 13th at

    And we'll have more info on others soon, including Michael Morgenthal on May 20!

  3. National Travel and Tourism Week: Celebrating the Spirit of Travel

    Today, May 3, marks the first day of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW). Despite our industry being shut down right now, as leading health officials work toward the recovery, this year's annual celebration aims to spotlight resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with this theme: the Spirit of Travel.

    Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to underscore the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 37th NTTW (May 3-9) arrives at an opportune moment to unite the industry, celebrate its indomitable spirit and elevate the role it will play in America’s economic recovery.

    “Through every hardship, I find myself in awe of the travel industry’s ability to join together, adapt, and emerge stronger than before,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “This is our toughest challenge yet, but what I’ve seen is that the spirit of travel has not been shattered.”

    The U.S. Travel Association created this video to highlight the people behind this important industry:


    Since in-person rallies and events that have been hallmarks of NTTW in years past are not an option this year, there will lots of virtual offerings. Many GANYC members are offering their own, and you can see our recent roundup here. We encourage to plan your own as well! Another fun event is being organized on Twitter this Tuesday, called the 'Virtual Road Trip' (you can follow the US Travel Association on Twitter and follow along with the #VirtualRoadTrip hashtag there that day)... they will be moving from the east coast to the west coast, stopping virtually in every state, highlighting attractions and businesses along the way.

    This week, GANYC is also working to finalize our upcoming Tour Your Own City initiative. This project, which will launch later this month, will begin to prepare NYC tourism for the long recovery once PAUSE ends. As the Summer proceeds, we will aim to move beyond virtual explorations, and encourage locals-- not just New Yorkers, but from nearby states as well-- to come out and explore New York City with local guides. All tours will be kept small, to ensure safety, while exploring this amazing city and its many hidden treasures that so many take for granted. This project will not only help working guides, but will create explorations that will ultimately help small businesses all throughout the city as they begin to reopen and formulate their own long roads to recovery. Our guides truly embody the spirit of travel, and we can't wait for folks from all over the region to see them doing what they do best.

    Join our May monthly membership meeting online this Wednesday at 6pm EST during this celebratory week to learn more about this project. We will also speak with Rafael Espinal, President and Executive Director of the Freelancers Union in learning about support available for guides, and Dan Pitzer (of Breaking the Chain Counseling) to discuss anxiety in the wake of COVID-19.

  4. GANYC Members Offering Virtual Content

    In the past month, GANYC has been at the forefront in the US tourism industry in terms of helping our members navigate the temporary online landscape of tourism content. We provided our members with two Professional Development Programs (PDPs) on the process of creating and marketing virtual tours and promotional content. Our internal networking resources have also provided members with ways to learn from each other, and share their own work. And a recent edition of our Virgil newsletter gave links to many NYC cultural institutions-- such as the Met, the Tenement Museum, MoMA and others-- who are offering online experiences now. We encourage members to look into all the institutions providing these experiences.

    We are happy to keep spotlighting those in our membership who are still working to create new material.

    Here is our updated roundup of member offering such content:

    • Kevin Fitzpatrick is a guide, historian, and award-winning author of several New York-centric books. He is offering regularly-scheduled virtual tours for $15 each of his favorite aspects of NYC's culture and rich literary history. You can look at the Virtual Tour Calendar on his website. He is doing these virtual tours for schools and other private groups for hire.
    • Matthew Baker is doing a series of virtual tours/discussions on his YouTube channel. These 5-7 minute videos cover a range of topics, from Hercules Mulligan to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to Winnie the Pooh to the saga of Jackie Onassis and Grand Central Terminal in brilliant depth as always. Matt has a few dozen videos so far, check them out!
    • Megan Marod is creating a similar series of videos, on her website: Experience The Big Apple. Megan has helped her followers virtually explore the NYC theater scene, shopping in NYC, the history of Little Italy and the immigrant history of the Lower East Side, One World Observatory, and more! These videos use vibrant backgrounds and slides of historic photos.
    • Art & Susan Zuckerman are doing a series of Zoom tours for GANYC members. They will occur weekly: Mondays and Thursdays at 10:00AM. If interested, email for the info.  Each session will be approximately an hour long.  These cover a variety of topics related to New York and its history. Upcoming sessions include Italian-American culture, East Midtown, and Staten Island!
    • Jeremy Wilcox was offering 30-minute Zoom tours, allowing viewers to follow him virtually on his walks in real time, with live Q&A afterward. The tours were of Victorian Flatbush, and Prospect Park. Watch them: here.
    • Fred Pflantzer‎ is offering virtual Zoom tours of the northern parts of Central Park. His description: "Employing artfully constructed video and photographs to our advantage, see Frederick Olmsted's, Calvert Vaux's, and Jacob Wrey Mould's mystical landscape come to life. The stroll between Huddlestone Arch and Glen Span Arch is one of the most scenic portions of the park. Without leaving your apartment, experience the waterfalls, forest, and abundant birdlife of the North Woods. An expert live narration will bring the experience to life. The tour is interactive, learn as you go."
    •  Alessia Nencioni is offering a series of Virtual Walks of New York (both in English and Italian- Piccole Passeggiate Virtuali. New York) to present a different way of learning about New York, with interesting pictures and videos, fun facts, historical details and a comprehensive vocabulary. These are designed as educational tours for children, but are offered to adults as well.
    • Manuela Biondi is staying engaged with her Italian customers with a new YouTube channel. Topics she's covered so far include Hudson Yards, the Easter Parade, and the High Line!
    • John Semlak plans to offer a weekly virtual tour every Thursday. Tours will usually focus on New York's sports history. More details can be found on his Facebook page.
    • Laurène Hamilton is offering a "Multimedia Virtual Tour : A Deep Dive In The Old Days Of New York City" on her website! Her virtual tour is also available in French as well.
    • Michael Dillinger is doing videos on Facebook. His first video covers the history of Times Square.
    • Patrick Van Rosendaal is offering Dutch-language videos on his YouTube channel.
    • For Russian speakers, Slava Shpigel is doing slideshow tours, such as this one of Central Park.
      He is also now offering Zoom tours. Details on his Facebook page.
    • Yue Wang is creating videos for Chinese speakers. An example can be found on his YouTube.

    Member Mitch Bach also has created a list of tours from NYC and beyond:
    Online Tour Experience Directory

    Finally, Jonathan Turer hosts a weekly Instagram show called 'Panorama Challenge: Home Edition' on the City Reliquary IG page. It airs live Tuesdays at 8pm EST, and then is posted to their page.

  5. GANYC Members Interviewed by AP on Economic Woes

    GANYC members Megan Marod and Patrick van Rosendaal are profiled in this new AP article about the current state of NYC tourism and cultural institutions. “Tourism literally encapsulates everything in the city,” Marod said. “When you take out tourism, every single profession in the city is going to feel it.”

    GANYC's work on tracking the economic impact is mentioned, as well what out-of-work guides like Megan and Patrick are doing to stay connected with their customers from around the world.

    AP: New jobless hope seeds of tourism can be resown in Big Apple

  6. GANYC Providing PDPs on Virtual Tours

    On Thursday, April 23, GANYC’s Education Committee organized an informative Professional Development Program (PDP) featuring Kelsey Tonner, founder and Lead Trainer of Be a Better Guide and its Online Tourism Academy. Tonner introduced the “Virtual Tour Business” online modular program he and his team developed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also fielded members’ questions about issues related to Virtual Tourism.

    In related news, GANYC’s Board is delighted to announce that GANYC is now an affiliate partner with Be a Better Guide. This partnership benefits members and the association in a number of important ways:

    -Kelsey Tonner has graciously extended a $200 discount to all GANYC members who enroll in Be a Better Guide’s “Virtual Tour Business.”

    -GANYC will receive a 33% commission on all Virtual Tour Business program sales to GANYC members. This money will be used to keep growing GANYC programs and offerings to our members during this difficult time.

    -GANYC members enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee if they are dissatisfied with Be a Better Guide’s products for any reason.

    The Virtual Tour Business, a brand new program from the Online Tourism Academy, is now OPEN for enrollment.

    The Virtual Tour Business Coaching Program is a complete guide to rapidly launch and sell online tours and experiences. The mission is to help over 100 tour businesses and freelance guides create, market, and sell new online products and services. There are options to get 1-on-1 tech support PLUS your registration comes with a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.

    Members can access a direct link with that discount and the video to rewatch the PDP on the GANYC Announcements page.

    Then, on April 29, we offered our follow-up PDP. This half featured three GANYC members-- Megan Marod, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Wilcox-- who've created different kinds of virtual content. The PDP discussed the process and best practices for this new type of tourism experience... along with more Q&A. The goal was to provide members with a hands-on discussion to demystify the new world of virtual tourism experiences.

    GANYC has also been working through its weekly Virgil newsletter to share links on where people can access virtual content from not just our members, but also the city's many amazing museums and cultural institutions.

    For members who missed the PDP or who want to view it again, the Announcements link above has a link to the video.

  7. A Quick Guide to Filing for NYS Unemployment

    Based on my experience-- I am not a NYS Department of Labor expert of any kind-- the following seems to be the preferred process for filing for unemployment benefits for New York residents. It should be noted: nothing about your process is likely to go perfectly. We are in the midst of unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression, and the NYS DOL is working overtime to keep up with the demand of applications. Many are still waiting weeks after filing. So please keep all that in mind.

    With that said, for filing a new claim, these should be the basic steps:

    1. First, you will need a log-in at NY.GOV
    You may have one from past uses, whether past unemployment or maybe using the NY State of Health database. If you don't have a past log-in, you will need to create a new account and enter all your details. You can do so here:

    2. When you're all set there, go to the NYS site for filing unemployment claims:
    Here you will complete your application.

    (If you are self-employed/gig worker/etc, enter Self-Employed as the name of your employer.)

    3. Once your application is complete, it may tell you it is fully completed, or (most likely) it will tell you that you need to speak to a Department of Labor agent by phone to complete or confirm parts of the claim. Do not call them, they will call you, ideally within 72 hours, though sometimes more. This call may come from an unlisted number... have your phone on and with you at all times to avoid missing this call.

    4. If you are self-employed, you will then also need to complete the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance form. This can be found under My Online Forms here:

    If the form does not show up on the menu on the left side of that page, check your NY.GOV Messages folder for a link in the next few days.

    Have digital copies of your 1099s ready to upload at the end of this application.

    5. Now is the annoying part. Now you wait (days? likely weeks?) for them to process your completed claim application.

    6. In the meantime, even while you are waiting for the claim to be processed (ie. before you will start receiving your benefits), they will ask you each Sunday evening to certify for the past week. While receiving unemployment, you must do this every week. For that, click here -- -- and click to the "Unemployment Services" link under the Unemployment Insurance section of that page. In addition to certifying each Sunday evening or Monday morning, that page will eventually allow to review your payment history and other items.

    We hope this helps, and we wish everyone lots of luck and lots of patience.


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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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