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February 27, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 27, 2011

I've been a volunteer with this wonderful organization for two years. It helps new visitors navigate the city, gets many of their questions and concerns answered, and gives them a very positive view of New York (great for future tourism in the city) and Americans. They also realize that they don't have to be multi-millionaires to enjoy the city, as they learn about the many reasonably-priced assets to enjoy. Most of the time I take them to Brooklyn, and that is a real eye-opener for most guests --they often look at the borough as a dangerous place, and then are amazed at the beautiful residential areas, great restaurants and shops, and friendly people. Often, other New Yorkers on the subways, for example, will hear me talking to the visitors, and chime in with more information and help. I think it helps to spread good will in the world view of Americans.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Continuing contacts with foreign guests (we keep in touch); where they write to me about how wonderful the city is.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it!

February 27, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 27, 2011

I've been an office volunteer doing graphic design with Big Apple Greeter for over 6 years. As a lifelong New Yorker, this experience has given me the opportunity to take part in an organization that truly expresses the love I have for New York.

Every member of Big Apple Greeter has an
enormous love of this great city (and all its boroughs) and a desire to share "their New York" and all it has to offer with visitors from near and far. Almost every member is a volunteer, and — unlike most NY tour companies — every tour is free and personal.

These personal tours give visitors more reason to come back to visit New York again and again. This is why it's so important to keep this organization alive.

In addition, Big Apple Greeter was the inspiration for Greeter programs worldwide, thus forming the Global Greeter Network. This reiterates the effect B.A.G. has had on people across the world, bringing our large world closer together by forming wonderful lasting memories and experiences.

I recently went abroad and took a tour with Paris Greeter, a sister organization. The volunteer on that tour expressed how much he enjoyed his own Big Apple Greeter tour when he visited New York, and what a large inspiration it has been to the whole greeter network.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've shared my experiences with various travelers from abroad and told them about Big Apple Greeter. Each time they are pleasantly surprised to hear that New York has such an organization that offers these free tours.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not make any changes. I would only encourage more people to donate whatever they can to Big Apple Greeter. It takes quite a bit to support all the free tours this wonderful organization gives and every little bit counts.

February 27, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 27, 2011

I am a lifelong New Yorker and a travel editor. I became curious about how visitors actually experience my home city. I started volunteering with Big Apple Greeter 1 1/2 years ago. I've had so much fun showing visitors one of my favorite unknown neighborhoods, DUMBO, which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. In a 20-minute walk from the York station on the F subway line, I show visitors 4 centuries of history and tell them the stories of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington's defeat at the Battle of Brooklyn, Walt Whitman's editorial stand against slavery at the Brooklyn Eagle, and the evolution of the area from Native American land to Dutch farm settlements to one of the biggest industrial producers in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to its current incarnation with pricey condos, New York's newest waterfront parks and upscale shops. We always stop at Jacques Torres for chocolate, and I point out little details like the Belgian blue paving stones underfoot, the old narrow-gauge railway tracks, the wooden water towers atop the old buildings, and my favorite NYC graffiti. I show them a view along the water where in one turn of the head they can see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Bridge, and I show them the Whitman poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" engraved in the railing on the pier where the first cross-river ferry was started by a Dutchman in the 1600s. It's history, architecture, and the grit and triumph of one neighborhood all in one short visit. Depending on their time and interest, I sometimes add in a trip to Coney Island to look at the beach and ride the Cyclone, or to visit the brownstone historic district in Park Slope, with the PS321 flea market and a stop at my favorite friendly pizza place, Pinos. Often my visitors decide to stay or come back to Brooklyn for more after our visit is over, which makes me feel great that I have introduced something special and memorable to their time in NY. Big Apple Greeter is one of those great freebies that anyone can try.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I know that I have opened the eyes of visitors to New York City to things they would never otherwise have experienced. I've hosted people from Australia, France, Germany, England, Malaysia, California, the Midwest and many other places, old and young. Often I take them on their first subway ride, and I always tell them - you don't have to spend a lot of money here to enjoy New York. My recommendations are always the amazing freebies: Staten Island Ferry, Central Park, Times Square - what more do you need?

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Recruit more volunteers! Find a way for high school juniors who are looking for community service projects to participate by showing visitors a slice of their neighborhoods! To make it safe, have kids sign up as teams, with teacher supervisors; preview an itinerary; let the kids rehearse with an experienced Greeter; and sign them up to do a specific number of greets for a semester.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I work as a travel editor. My experience as a Big Apple Greeter has impacted the advice we give in our travel stories as I see that often visitors need help with very basic things, but also appreciate offbeat suggestions.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

GREAT

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

I've been a Big Apple Greeter for 9 years & the experience has
provided me with an unusual opportunity to meet wonderful people
from many places. But most importantly it allows me to show off our
city, and the feedback I've received has been wonderful. Tourists
really
seem to appreciate & enjoy a non-tourist view of our
great city. The neighborhoods, small shops, the out of the way little
Chinatown restaurant, the vest pocket parks and the neighborhood gardens.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the written feedback I have received from those visitors I have taken around to various neighborhoods

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Shout about it to all prospective visitors.

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

Since I was born in another country, I know how alien coming to a big city can be. The visitors who I've taken around are really happy to meet and spend time with someone who loves NYC. That's each of us volunteers. Help keep us greeting our guests with love. Clara

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My capacity as greeter

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

I had my first Greet on 9/6/06 and my latest on 2/21/11. In between I've met more than 100 visitors from over a dozen countries and have yet to have a less than a most satisfying experience. Of course I get to learn so much about the visitors but my greatest joy is to have them tell me that they never knew how friendly New Yorkers are. NY still is a city of neighborhoods.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have had to explain to some of the tourists that "No, there is no catch to this service,jus tenjoy the day and come back and visit."

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I think the organization is preety well run. sometimes the weather puts a crimp on the walk but we're a tough bunch!

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

As a volunteer with BIG APPLE GREETER for over 10 years, i've been privileged to show many tourists from different countries the
hidden sites and venues of New York City. My tours usually span between 7-12 hours, using public transport (subway & bus) and
foot.
Visitors can't get over the art deco building lobbies and exteriors of many structures i show them. Most often, it's the walk over the Brooklyn Bridge or the neighborhood favourite pizza parlor which enthralls them the most. With Ground Zero and environs as a prime destination, my stories about that fateful day ( 911) bring to life raw emotions and an unforgettable experience. Each visitor comes away from my tours feeling more a native new yorker than a tourist. Big Apple Greeter is a free service to anyone lucky enough to be scheduled with one of 300+ volunteers who give their time and heart as tour guide(s) for a few hours a day.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

see above

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The organization needs funding and support from the public and private enterprise. Everyone working and volunteering here are dedicated about the cause of free and open walking tours of new york city's 5 boroughs, anytime, anyplace...assuming availability of volunteers.

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

Being a Big Apple Greeter has enhanced my life and the lives of our visitors to New York City. I still fondly remember a gal literally jumping for joy at Times Square while screaming, "I've seen this all my life. I can't believe I'm really here." Many of my past visitors e-mail me often and send notes and cards. Some come back to visit N.Y. and always want to meet again. They often send family members and friends to the city and ask to be shown around.
New York couldn't find a better champion than the dedicated volunteers at Big Apple Greeter to promote positive memories for our friends from far away.
Sincerely yours, Sharon Messing

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

New York City

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Fund them generously so more visitors could be accommodated.

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

I have been a volunteer Big Apple Greeter for 4 years and it is truly a rewarding experience for both the volunteers and the visitors. For the visitors, they can to experience a day through the eyes of a New Yorker, appreciate the little things about the city not found in a guidebook, and get help navigating a bustling city. I'm confident that when they return home, the time they spent with one of our volunteers was a big highlight of their trip. And I know that firsthand, having been a visitor myself as well when I visited Buenos Aires and signed up for the sister program there. As a volunteer, the programs is very rewarding as we get to meet people from all over the world and share our love for New York with them.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many rewarding times spent with visitors

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

figure out a way for it to grow even bigger

February 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 25, 2011

I volunteered for Big Apple Greeter for at least 7 years. I met an entire family from Italy who came to NYC for a wedding, two young couples from Germany who loved to travel, a Welsh woman who'd never been outside her village and was traveling along, and many more.

In every case, I was
thanked over and over again for sharing my time and showing these visitors parts of New York that they said they would never have seen had they been on their own.

They also enjoyed meeting a real New Yorker, and they learned more about the city and its people through this wonderful organization.


The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

.. through the comments that the visitors made. They all said they saw more of the city than they had expected to see, and they knew more about New Yorkers as well. It was the high point of their trip to New York.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

.. have more volunteers and more funding. At times, they have to turn away visitors who request a Big Apple Greeter because there aren't enough volunteers and not enough funds.

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

become a Greeter and show international visitors their favorite parts of New York City. Volunteer