Here’s what the press is saying about Big Apple Greeter.
Big Apple Greeter has been featured in thousands of stories – in print, on television and radio, and on the Internet – bringing the message of a friendly and accessible New York City to millions of potential visitors all around the world. Here are a few stories to enjoy!
Interview: Making NYC Less Intimidating For Visitors
By Sheila Anne Feeney
By Clem Richardson
New York to the Core
Brussels Airlines b.there! magazine
Prolific Volunteer in the City Gets a Helping Hand
New York Times
December 24, 2011
A Building With a Heart of Gold
Big Apple Greeter volunteer Brad Smith interviewed by the New York Times
New York Times
December 9, 2011
Big Apple Greeter
December 12, 2011
Produced by Anthony Lopez
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal – Print and Online
(Copyright (c) 2011, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
The nonprofit Big Apple Greeter helps to personalize a visit to New York City for thousands of visitors annually. Philanthropist Ariadne Getty wants to keep the greeters going.
Through her Fuserna Foundation, the oil heiress is giving the organization $400,000 to help take it through 2012. The nonprofit received $200,000 from the foundation last year.
Ms. Getty, 48 years old, is the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty. She says her Los Angeles and London- based foundation provides grants to help get existing charities through lean times. Often, says Ms. Getty, the organizations are “unpopular causes that need time to learn how to fund-raise or apply for grants.”
The foundation focuses on programs related to children and the elderly. Recent grants include a gift to the 9th Ward Field of Dreams, an organization that is building a community space, track and football field in New Orleans. In the case of Big Apple Greeter, Ms. Getty simply called the nonprofit to introduce herself and her foundation, extending an offer to help.
Her first grant to Big Apple Greeter last summer, which came shortly after Ms. Getty’s call and a period of research by her foundation, kept the organization in business, says Lynn Brooks, founder of Big Apple Greeter. Financially, the organization is “definitely healthier but we are not out of the woods,” she says. The organization’s priorities are to rebuild its reserve fund and develop a five-year strategy.
Big Apple Greeter, in existence for nearly 20 years, welcomes about 7,000 visitors to the city each year, offering each a free and unique tour of a city neighborhood. Visitors come from all 50 states and countries ranging from Latvia to Malaysia. On average, they donate about $25 to the organization for the service.
Tourists are met by one of the organization’s “real New Yorkers,” a team of roughly 350 volunteers who come from all five boroughs and range from college age to 80 years old. The greeters take visitors to either a favorite, locals-only spot or accompany tourists to major sites, spending on average four hours with visitors.
Ms. Brooks says that the majority of visitors who use the service like it because it helps to humanize the city and make it more comfortable.” New York is perceived as way too big, way too busy, way too unfriendly and way too dangerous, even today,” says Ms. Brooks.
At the same time, greeters love the organization because they are giving back to the city. Many of the greeters are retirees and enjoy taking tourists to oft-forgotten neighborhoods in the city.
The organization says that many greeters stay in touch with the tourists.
It was the greeters who show their community spirit — not the service to visitors — that enchanted Ms. Getty. “I loved the fact that it was a community-based program,” she says.
Of course, tourists could pay a professional to see the city, says Ms. Getty, but she feels that the real value of the organization’s service is in seeing a neighborhood that means something to the greeter. “It’s much more about the greeter than the person being greeted,” she says.
The Broadsheet Daily
June 2, 2011
(follow the link and scroll down for story)
Link goes to http://online.WSJ.com, then search for Ariadne Getty for related article.
City Council Member Mark Weprin as Greeter for a Day
January 5, 2011
Lynn Brooks Lifetime Achievement
October 12, 2010
City’s unofficial greeter
By Cynthia R. Fagen
October 4, 2010
Touring the Big Apple With Big Apple Greeters (It’s Free!)
Eileen Ogintz, Columnist, Taking the Kids
Posted: August 31, 2010 06:45 PM
August 16, 2010
Nonprofit greeted by Getty surprise
Oil heiress Ariadne Getty recently wired the nonprofit a check for $200,000, buying the group another six months in which to raise more funds.
“We really, really needed this money,” says Lynn Brooks , founder of Big Apple Greeter, adding that her board of directors had instructed her to start shutting down operations by September.
The 18-year-old organization offers unique tours of the city, taking visitors on hours-long trips to neighborhoods off the beaten path. But when corporate donors scaled back last year, Big Apple Greeter hit a wall and had to cut its operating costs to the bone. In June, the group launched a Save Big Apple Greeter campaign, appealing to its 300 volunteers, past and future visitors, and corporate sponsors to help.
The campaign netted nearly $100,000, including $35,000 from the city and many smaller donations from individuals giving as little as $5 to $2,500. But that wasn’t enough to keep Big Apple Greeter afloat.
Enter Ms. Getty, one of five children of J. Paul Getty Jr. She runs Fuserna Foundation, which, according to its website, supports charities that have financial constraints and lack exposure—an eclectic group including the Sierra Leone War Trust for Children and the Santa Monica Mountains & Seashore Foundation.
Ms. Getty could not be reached for comment.
Others clearly share Ms. Getty’s admiration for Big Apple Greeter. A Canadian couple, Frank and Margy Slater, who visited the city in July and toured the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan with two volunteers, gave $50 and say they will give the organization a second donation next year if it’s needed.
But it will take another large gift like Ms. Getty’s to save Big Apple Greeter once and for all. With corporate supporters still struggling, reaching the group’s $600,000 annual budget is no slam dunk.
“Without a new infusion of cash,” says Executive Director Alicia Pierro, “we won’t be around next year.”
By Anne Wallace Allen, Associated Press Writer
August 1, 2010
Big Apple Greeter founder Lynn Brooks interviewed on Good Day New York.
By Katie Nelson, Daily News Staff Writer
NY Daily News
By Lisa Fickenscher
Crain’s New York Business.com
The Queens Gazette
May 26, 2010
By Samantha Sherman
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
May 19, 2010 in hardcopy, May 18 online
Liu Shuang press reports in New York
May 19, 2010
By Nathan Duke
Thursday, April 8, 2010
By Carol Pucci
Seattle Times staff columnist
September 13, 2009
By Tim Ridgway
Hollingbury, Brighton, UK
September 10, 2009
Daily Newser plays Big Apple ‘greeter’ to adventurous tourists in Queens
BY Lisa L. Colangelo
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, September 6th 2009, 4:00 AM
© New York Daily News, L.P.; reproduced with permission.
Photo by: NY Daily News photographer Enid Alvarez
Newser Lisa Colangelo (leaning on fence) shows Netherlands tourists (l. to r.) Pascual and Roelyke Gallego the sights at Gantry Plaza State Park, aided by Big Apple Greeter Suzanne Paliotta.
The assignment seemed simple enough – the Daily News wanted me to serve as a Big Apple Greeter for a day and take some visitors off the beaten tourism path.
I was a natural for at least part of the task. I’m a native New Yorker, having lived, worked and gone to school here for all but 10 years of my life.
The tour guide part? Not so much.
Gail Morse of Big Apple Greeter set me straight. They are not, she repeated, not a tour company.
“A greeter shows a visitor around the way a friend or a family member would show someone around,” said Morse.
Founder Lynn Brooks started the program in 1992, matching up volunteer greeters with visitors to show them that New York can indeed be friendly and manageable.
After digging through some requests, Morse paired me up with Pascual and Roelyke Gallego, a couple from Leeuwarden, Netherlands. The easygoing pair spoke English and were excited to explore Queens.
Seasoned greeter Suzanne Paliotta came along for moral support. She suggested we start in Forest Hills Gardens.
I was a little skeptical. Was there anything there they would want to see? Most of my school-aged years were spent in that area. It seemed a tad too familiar – even boring.
“People don’t think they will see architecture like this in New York City,” said Paliotta.
After checking out the West Side Tennis Club – former site of the U.S. Open – we walked carefully across Queens Blvd., explaining the “Boulevard of Death” moniker, and hopped a bus into the heart of Corona.
There was no way I was taking a visitor into Queens without visiting two borough food landmarks: the Lemon Ice King of Corona and Leo’s Latticini (a.k.a. Mama’s).
Roelyke followed my lead and got a peanut butter ice, while Pascual went with sour green apple.
“We would never have known to come here if you didn’t bring us,” Pascual said. My smug smile disappeared when he looked over at the nearby bocce courts and asked me to explain the game to him.
“Something where you roll balls but it’s not bowling,” I tried, looking at Suzanne for help.
Ugh. Some Italian-American I am. Then again, my family was more likely to bowl at Hollywood Lanes than play bocce.
Recharged by the ices, we walked several blocks to Mama’s, where sisters Irene, Marie and Carmela fussed over Pascual and Roelyke as if they were family.
The couple happily wolfed down Mama’s special sandwiches: mozzarella, salami and peppered ham on semolina bread with peppers and mushrooms.
It was a welcome break from the fast food that had dominated their meals since arriving in the city.
As we walked to Roosevelt Ave. to catch the 7 train to Long Island City, Roelyke and Pascual stopped to take pictures of the trucks lined up under the el. I wasn’t sure why, but they seemed interested and happy.
We walked through Long Island City, showing them the new shiny towers that are replacing factories and warehouses.
“This is lovely,” said Roelyke, as she enjoyed the breeze at Gantry Plaza State Park. “We probably would have never gone here. We probably would have just walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and walked back.”
Big Apple Greeter Rings Closing Bell at NASDAQ
Tourism and finance generate top dollar for New York City. On November 29, 2008, representatives of both sectors met on the trading floor when founder Lynn Brooks, board chair Thomas Lewis and a team of volunteers rang the closing bell at NASDAQ, the famed global exchange located in Manhattan’s Time Square. The successful event was hosted by NASDAQ Managing Director and volunteer Greeter Gregg Hernandez.
“Big Apple Greeter is a great reflection on the city with very tangible benefits. The financial industry faces challenges right now and since the current recession is global in nature, the tourism industry in New York has to deliver good value to travelers because people’s disposable income is challenged right know,” says Mr. Hernandez.
Good value indeed. With an army of over 300 volunteer Greeters welcoming visitors and promoting the city as friendly and accessible, Big Apple Greeter has been referred to as the most effective public relations arm of the city, capturing the attention of media and journalists across the globe. In FY08, the organization welcomed journalists from 97 domestic and international media outlets, resulting in approximately 94 story placements globally.
“I think when you can humanize tourism in NY, it can create so much new energy and I really think that’s fantastic,” says Hernandez.
The NASDAQ event received extensive media coverage. Business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, CNBC Fast Money Show, CNBC Squawk Box, CNNMoney.com, Forbes, Fox News, the BBC and many other business publications from Asia, Latin America and the Middle East all covered the BAG event.
Westdeutsche Zeitung – June 2008 (JPG file)
L’Entreprise – May 2008 (PDF file)
Neue Zurcher Zeitung – March 2008 (JPG file)
North West London Newspapers – December 2007 (PDF file)
The New York Times – May 2006 (PDF file)
Le Figaro – February 2006 (PDF file)
The Delta Shuttle (PDF file)