Frequently Asked Questions



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), fill out and 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.


How much does it cost?

  • Big Apple Greeter services are completely free for the visitor, and there is a no-tipping policy. Every Greeter is a volunteer.
  • 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.


Why should I make a donation?

  • It takes a big office to handle over 7,000 requests a year. We need to make sure the right volunteer speaking the right language is meeting the right visitor at the right time and in the right location! With over 300 volunteer greeters and about 35 volunteers in the office, we still need cash to meet certain expenses, such as insurance, accounting services, supplies, computer maintenance, internet access, web hosting, postage, office equipment leases, printing, and salaries. In order to cover these expenses, we ask that you please make a donation so that greeters may continue to meet visitors from around the world.


How will I be matched with a Greeter?

  • Matches are made 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?

  • If a match is made before you leave home, we will telephone or email you with information about your Greeter.
  • If a match is made after you arrive in New York City, we will telephone or fax your hotel with information.


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.
  • During the busy times of year the visit date you ask for may already be filled. You will receive an email or telephone call from us with our regrets that no Greeter is available for you.


Why doesn’t Big Apple Greeter list New York City neighborhoods for me to choose from?

  • There are too many neighborhoods in New York City’s 5 boroughs to list!
  • If you do not have a preference, tell us “Greeter’s Choice” and leave the neighborhood up to your Greeter.
  • Check Neighborhood Information Profiles for ideas or use the Profiles to visit neighborhoods on other days during your stay.


Can I meet a Greeter more than once during my stay?

  • Since many visitors would like to meet a Greeter, please submit only 1 request for a Greeter.


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. In turn, the greeter gets to know you.
  • A greeter is not a professional, licensed tour guide, and may not have historic or tourist information about a landmark or location. A greeter’s knowledge of New York City is 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. When a Greeter is matched with you or your group, the Greeter 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.
  • Larger groups that split up and submit separate requests are also not accepted.
  • For groups of 7 or more, please contact the Guide Association of New York City (GANYC) at www.GANYC.org.


I am staying in a hostel.  Where do I check for important messages from Big Apple Greeter?

  • Hostel and YMCA guest rooms do not have telephones. The front desk will take a message from a greeter and the Big Apple Greeter office. These messages are posted to a public message board.
  • It is very important to check the message board frequently for messages from Big Apple Greeter!


Does Big Apple Greeter have scheduled tours that I could sign up for?

  • Big Apple Greeter does not offer scheduled tours that are open to the general public.
  • Every Greeter visit is unique; there are no pre-set itineraries, theme tours or scheduled start times.
  • For information on public walking tours, contact the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) at www.GANYC.org.


Is Big Apple Greeter a New York City agency?

  • No. Big Apple Greeter is an independent, non-profit organization.


How is Big Apple Greeter funded?

  • We receive financial support from corporations, foundations and individuals. Click here to make a secure donation online and here to see a list of our donors.


Is everyone a volunteer?

  • Two paid staff are in addition to about 35 volunteers who administer the program, plus about 300 volunteer Greeters who meet with visitors.


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. Go to www.GlobalGreeterNetwork.info to learn about and link to the programs.


How can I start a Greeter program in my city?

  • Contact Gail Morse, Big Apple Greeter Director of Programs and Volunteers, for more information at pr@bigapplegreeter.org or 212-669-8198.