When visiting a new city, most people wonder "Where are the best tours and who are the best tour guides?". We read about tour guides on Yelp and on Trip Adviser. We visit websites. Ask our friends.
But, have you ever asked yourself, how can I be a great tourist? Being an attentive and thoughtful tourist can make a HUGE impact on your tour guide's performance.
Check out this article for some great advice: How to be the kind of tourist that tour guides love
I am asked this question during every tour that I lead in NYC! Quite literally- every. single. tour. It’s a valid question. Everyone in New York has a different story of how they got here and many tour guides have somewhat similar stories. Many of us are performers or artists trying to make a career in NYC! I am sure that tourists visiting from outside of NYC cannot imagine what it must be like LIVING here. I was one of those tourists not long ago.
Here is my story:
Growing up, I had a dream of living in New York City and attending Juilliard School of Music and Drama for singing. Well, the Juilliard thing did not quite work out, but I somehow always knew I would end up in NYC. I remember having that dream very vividly in grade 10- not having any clue of how I would end up here. Luckily, I had an incredibly supportive family that wanted to make my dreams as much a reality as possible.
Eight years ago I graduated from my undergrad at Dalhousie University in Vocal Performance determined to pursue a career in opera (I had to google the year I graduated, by the way- that’s how you know you’re getting old). I auditioned for various graduate programs and I knew that I would end up living in either Toronto or New York. I grew up in a small town outside of Saint John, New Brunswick, but I have always been a city girl at heart.
I ended up in New Jersey as I was accepted into a wonderful graduate program where I lived just 35 minutes outside of NYC. It was a great way for me to be integrated into the NYC fast pace lifestyle while living in comfort of the suburbs. I ventured into NYC at least once a week for auditions, to see Broadway shows, and to meet up with friends.
**Side Note- During that time I probably made a lot of New Yorkers angry. I bumped into New Yorkers trying to get to work, stood on the wrong side of escalators, and blocked the middle of sidewalks staring up at our magnificent buildings. Sorry, New York! We will talk more about New York City Etiquette another time**
After completing my graduate diploma and performing professionally as an opera singer, I ended up seeking my Master’s in Vocal Performance at NYU. I began my program focused in opera, but ended up switching my focus entirely to Music Theater. I always loved theater as a child- it was why I started singing in the first place. I was lucky to have been in a world renowned program that focuses on performance and vocal technique. It is also where I learned to truly LIVE in New York City.
Since graduating from NYU, I have been trying to forge a career as a singer/actor in this big, bad, beautiful city! Although Saint John will always be my home, NYC has my heart.