As many know the owner of Blue Ridge Tours Steve Sulligan is a licensed New York City guide and as far as we know, the only such owner of a Tour and travel company in South Carolina to holds that distinction. You ever wonder what it takes to become a licensed tour guide in New York? Well Steve is going to discuss in this blog what he did to receive this distinction.
New York City is such wide and diverse place, and if not really familiar with it a city that cause confusion and issues and therefore quickly turn a school tour into a nightmare or at minimal a poor experience. New York has so much to offer in educational experiences and I wanted to be able to plan our school itineraries with our teachers to give them a wow experience of the city not just a trip to the city. Being born and raised in New Jersey until I was 19 I had a pretty good handle on how to navigate the city , how to get in and out of the city and being in the tour business I wanted to provide a much more thorough experience to trips going to the city and what better way to say you’ve done that than by putting the stamp of approval by the city of New York acknowledging your knowledge and experience of New York.
As I said I always had a pretty good knowledge of New York ,to this day I read the local New York paper The New York Post, I read any and all stories about the city plus I take personal trips to the city a few times of the year and explore in my own. New York touring is like peeling an onion back the more you peel back in the city the more interesting things you learn about its culture , food, architecture and transportation , how to ride the Ferry for free among others.
I decided about 2015 I’d formally go to to take the city test , but I allowed 2 months of intensive studying the deeper more involved part of city history, monuments , roads and streets , food in order to successfully pass the 250 question test..
So on my annual July 4th NJ NYC personal trip my wife Donna and I do every year I set the date with The New York City Department of Consumers who regulates and licensed local city guides for the end of June 2015. I felt I was ready but you never know until you sit down with the test how it will go. As I was staying in New Jersey I set aside an entire morning for the test and traveling into the city. It was hot muggy day I had to catch a local bus to go into the Port Authority Bus Terminal the city’s largest bus terminal , then i took a subway to lower Manhattan I then walked several blocks to the Consumer Affairs office. I was worn out before I began. Then had to go through the cities red tape to register myself then be taken to a testing room where my test would be administered . The proctor told us we’d have a maximum of 3 hours to do the test and it took me almost 2 1/2 hours to finish. Questions were asked in a computer screen ranging from how nyc began with its history, to history of its many neighborhoods in the 5 boroughs to how many commuters travel through Grand Central Terminal on a daily basis to building architecture plus much more. I felt good as I progressed thru the exam and when I finished the proctor graded my answer sheet stating I scored 90 which put a gold star next to my name in the city tour guide registry indicating that based on my test score I am in the upper category as far as city knowledge . For me anybody can study for a test and pass and I was quite proud to have done that in NYC because the ole saying goes ‘if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere’. But to be a good tour guide you have to constantly keep up on current events , current situations that are going on in NYC , politics , sports in order to make Your Tours entertaining, knowledgable and fun. When people leave me I want them to feel that they experienced New York City not just visited it. When you hear that from students and teachers than I know my job was complete.
New York City has so much to offer and as a licensed tour guide and owner of Blue Ridge Tours I want to be sure that every school group who books their tour with us will have that chance to ‘experience , feel NYC not just ride a bus and look out the windshield to view the Big Apple.
Every year we guides are re licensed by the city filling out ethic and background information assuring the city we are maintaining a certain standard of personal background and reliability and ethics. I am proud to know that I have met the level of excellence in being recognized as a licensed NYC tour guide and being able to transfer that into each and every one of Blue Ridge Tours trips we do . Let us know if you would like to receive information about booking your school group a once in a lifetime Tour in NYC!