My name is John Semlak. I'm a tour guide, historian, and photographer.
I give tours in a wide range of areas. I have experiecne in bus tours all over the city, escorted tours, and tours of popular attractions like the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, the High Line, Rockefeller Center as more out of the way attractions like Green-Wood Cemetery, historic Harlem, or Brooklyn Heights. I specialize in historical walking tours, including tours of sports history, Colonial, Revolutionalry War, and Civil War New York, mafia and crime history. I lead tours on topics such as the history of the World Trade Center, Abraham Lincoln in New York, or the birth of baseball in New York.
Before moving to New York, I lived in Russia for over 15 years and speak fluent Russian and offers tours in Russian and English. I have been a member of the New York CIty Guides Association for four years. In 2018 I passed GANYC's 10-week certificaation course. I have 7 years experience as l liscnensed New York City guide. I maintian a blog where I write regular articles on the city's history and discuss my tours.
Tours & Services Offered
These are just some of the customized tours I've designed and offer.
New York in a Day: A 7-hour guided private tour using public transport as well as hidden routes and passageways to explore the city's most popular cites. The tour can be customized to meet the customer options but can include Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, the 9/11 Memorial, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, and more. Lincoln in New York Tour--A tour following Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln's visits to New York City. We stop at Lincoln's hotel, the newspaper offices he visited, Mary Todd's shopping haunts, Matthew Brady's photostrudio, the Cooper Union, and Plymouth Church in Brooklyn. British Colonial New York--A tour of colonial New York during the British period follwing the Bernard Ratzer map of 1767. We visit the remaining remnants of British New York and learn about it's legacy in the city today. Baseball History in New York--I offer several tours of baseball and sports history in New York, focusing on the sports early history in the city.
- From Sandlots to Big Leagues: the birth of baseball in New York
- Before the Dodgers: Early baseball in Brooklyn
- Boaters, Batters, and Boxers: a sports tour of Green-Wood Cemetery
Directory of Guides, Services and Tours
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The designation Certified Guide means the marked individual guide has successfully completed and fulfilled all the requirements of GANYC's professional development program that focuses on how to research, plan, and conduct high-quality tours. These guides are entitled to use the designation, "GANYC certified guide."