Visitor FAQs

Here are answers to many of the more Frequently Asked Questions.

NYC Subway
Photo by Sherry Ott

How can I meet a Big Apple Greeter?

  • Once your plans to visit New York City are confirmed (arrival and departure dates are set, accommodations are confirmed), submit the Visit Request Form at least 4 weeks in advance of your arrival.
  • During the busy season (May through September) and holiday times (Christmas and Easter), we fill up quickly, so submit your request as early as possible.
  • Since many visitors would like to meet a Greeter, please submit only one request for a Greeter.

How much does it cost?

  • Big Apple Greeter services are completely free for the visitor, and there is a no-tipping policy. Big Apple Greeter is a not-for-profit organization. You can make a tax-deductible donation on our website using a credit card or PayPal.

How is Big Apple Greeter funded and why should I make a donation?

  • Big Apple Greeter is an independent not-for-profit organization and is not a part of the New York City government. We receive financial support from corporations, foundations and individuals.
  • It takes a big office to handle over 7,000 requests a year. With over 300 volunteer Greeters, 35 volunteers in the office, and two staff, we still need cash to meet certain expenses, such as insurance, accounting services, office equipment and supplies, internet access, web hosting, printing, and salaries. In order to cover these expenses, we ask that you please make a donation so that Greeters can continue to meet visitors from around the world.

How will I be paired with a Greeter?

  • Visitors are paired with Greeters according to the language and neighborhoods requested by the visitor. When possible, visitors’ interests are also taken into consideration.

When and how will I receive information about my Greeter? Should I contact him or her?

  • If a Greeter is identified for you before you leave home, we will email you with information about your Greeter.
  • If a Greeter is identified after you arrive in New York City, we will telephone you at your accommodations or email you.
  • It is very important to contact your Greeter when you arrive in New York City. He or she will not meet you if you do not confirm upon your arrival.

Am I guaranteed to be matched with a Greeter?

  • Unfortunately, no. Big Apple Greeter receives many more visitor requests than we are able to fill, so sometimes no Greeter is available for a visitor, especially during the busy season.

How is a Greeter different from a professional tour guide?

  • A Greeter becomes a new friend and shows you around the way a friend would. You will talk about what it is like to live in New York City, learn how to use public transportation, find out about the Greeter’s favorite restaurants, shops and locations.
  • A Greeter is not a professional, licensed tour guide, and therefore can’t know the entire city. For example, he or she may not have historic or tourist information about a landmark or location. A Greeter will show you what he or she knows well, based on personal knowledge gained from living and working in the city.

How is a Greeter visit different from a public walking tour?

  • A Greeter visit is informal, unscripted, and does not follow a pre-set itinerary as a public walking tour would. During the Greeter visit, if the Greeter thinks of something the visitors might like to see or do, then they can quickly change plans and go in a different direction!
  • Visitors often ask to see “the less touristy places” in New York City. Greeters and visitors will then go off the beaten tourist path to neighborhoods in all 5 boroughs where New Yorkers live and work; places where many visitors never think of going!

If no Greeter is available for me, can I join another group?

  • Greeters are not shared among groups. The Greeter who meets with you or your group will meet only you or your group.

My group has more than 6 people. Will you make an exception for us?

  • Greeters are not professional tour guides, and we are unable to accept groups of 7 people or more.
  • For groups of 7 or more, please contact the Guide Association of New York City (GANYC) at GANYC.org. They also provide information about walking tours.

Are there other Greeter programs in other cities?

  • Yes! Big Apple Greeter was the first Greeter program. There are now Greeter programs around the world, all based on the Big Apple Greeter model. The Greeter programs have joined together in an informal association called the Global Greeter Network.
  • For more information about starting a Greeter program in your own city, contact Gail Morse, Big Apple Greeter Director of Programs and Volunteers, at pr@bigapplegreeter.org or 212-669-8198.