Categorized | USA

Touring New York with Ahoy

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Today we have a great interview lined up for you all about New York City and what’s it like visiting the place for the first time. Alana, founder and leader of Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting, is sharing everything she knows about the city. Take a look if the Big Apple is firmly on your bucket list!

  1. Hi Alana, could you briefly introduce yourself, Ahoy as a tour company and tell us what life is like in New York?

My name is Alana and I am the founder of Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting. We are a New York City walking tour company that focuses on fusing the elements of food, history and culture. Our tours specifically showcase Chinatown and Little Italy and have an intimate group size of 12-13 individuals. Visitors and locals alike join us on a three hour adventure that includes learning about these fascinating neighbourhoods while enjoying their local cuisine. After you complete our tour, you will feel as though you’ve stepped back in time and not to mention, your belly is nice and full!

Life in NYC is very fast paced, yet it can be very exciting and fun at the same time. Each neighbourhood has its own feel, culture, food, architecture, etc. The variety of NY is a huge plus as there is something for everyone to enjoy. The short list includes walking tours, sports, theatre, museums, beautiful outdoor parks and whole lot more!

  1. Why did you decide to start giving tours of this city? What was the first step in making it work.

I have been showing my family and friends around New York City years before I founded Ahoy New York. While spending time showing my friends and family this great city I found that there were so many stories that I wanted to share and that there were so many passionate visitors and locals who really wanted to get to know certain neighbourhoods of this magnificent city. I believe that the only way to truly get to know an area of NYC is through its cuisine and culture and the rest, as they say is history.

The first step in making it work was having others share their tour experience with their friends and family. Word of mouth is so important as well as having a great website.

  1. How much money can should someone budget for a few days in New York? What are the greatest expenses? What things are relatively cheap?

NYC can be an expensive city—however there are also great deals if you know where to look. We suggest budgeting $100-$200 per person per day for food and entertainment. The hotels are quite costly, and cost on average $200 per night. Restaurants can vary and a great guide to dining in NY is our food blog. We have food recommendations from the popular high end restaurants to the neighbourhood cheap eats hotspots. Beyond looking for cheap eats in NYC, things to do that are relatively cheap include visiting some of our wonderful parks and bridges. Also, simply spending a day strolling through the various neighbourhoods and taking in their scenery is fun and best of all free.

  1. What is the local food like? Do you like to recommend your guests try certain things or eat in particular places?

The local food is some of the best food in the world. That is because in New York City one can find food from pretty much any cuisine around the world. We also have our classic “NYC” foods such as pizza, bagels, pastrami on rye, egg creams, etc. We definitely recommend that our guests try the NYC staples (especially Katz’s pastrami sandwiches and Lombardi’s pizza), and then dive into some of the various ethnic cuisines that are available such as Chinese dumplings or Spanish Tapas. It can honestly be overwhelming at times and as we’ve mentioned our food blog is a great place to start.

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  1. What cultural activities and events would you suggest everyone seeing or taking part in while visiting New York?

When visiting New York, we suggest seeing a Broadway show, catching a baseball game (Let’s go Mets!), walking the High Line, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the Top of the Rock and checking out great museums such as the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side.

  1. What is your favourite thing about the city? What is your least favourite thing?

We can’t say it enough. Our favorite thing about New York City is that there are so many things to see and EAT. There are so many great eateries and new developments in neighbourhoods that make every opportunity to explore this city amazing. Our outer boroughs are worth visiting as well, for example the neighbourhoods such as Astoria, Queens and Williamsburg, Brooklyn are always buzzing with excitement. Our least favorite thing about NYC is the fact that it feels that there is never enough time to check out all the amazing places to eat and visit and again, it can be overwhelming at times.

  1. What things do you focus on most when you guide people around New York? Why do you choose to focus on these things?

When we give our tours of Chinatown and Little Italy, we focus on bringing our guests back in time, so that they can truly understand how these unique NYC neighbourhoods developed and how they became the neighbourhoods that they are today. We also like to make sure that our guests are well fed and leave with the sense that they learned something. We focus on these elements of our tour to showcase that we are not a typical NYC walking tour and that we truly care about our guests’ experience.

  1. What’s one thing you can’t travel around New York without?

A metro card, we recommend using mass transit to navigate this city and the subway is the best and most efficient way to see NYC—especially if you have a limited amount of time. The metro cards also work on our buses.

  1. What kind of response have you had to your tours thus far? What kind of feedback do your guests give?

Over the past five years our guests have provided us with rave reviews. Often we find folks coming on our tours after hearing about the tour from a friend or family member or by checking out our reviews online. We also have had some great travel bloggers take our tours and write up fantastic reviews online which has been helpful as well. We are always on the lookout for feedback. For example, many have told us that they wanted a dim sum experience on the tour and we just added a dim sum tasting at the oldest dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

  1. If you could think of one thing you wished someone told you before you started guiding them around New York what would it be?

One thing that we may have liked to know prior to guiding folks around New York is that big cities are not always one’s cup of tea and that your job of guiding may be a bit more challenging for those individuals—yet it’s a welcoming challenge and one that we like to conquer time and time again.

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