Founded in 1992 as the first “welcome visitor” program of its kind in the United States, the idea grew from friendly
exchanges Founder Lynn Brooks had with people she met on her own vacation travels around the world. Lynn realized that New York City suffered from an image problem: almost everyone she spoke to wanted to visit New York City, but thought the city was too dangerous, expensive and overwhelming. Lynn wanted the world to know New York City as she did: a great big small town with diverse neighborhoods, mom-and-pop stores, fun places to dine, and friendly residents who go out of their way to help an out-of-towner feel welcome.
Read About the Twenty Year History of Big Apple Greeter
To celebrate Big Apple Greeter’s 20th Anniversary, volunteer Jack Olive has dug around the Big Apple Greeter attic and found some real treasures to share with our friends and visitor-family around the world. Read the story how Lynn Brooks started Big Apple Greeter and how it grew to meet over 120,000 visitors since 1992, and see photos from our early years. Our thanks go to Jack and volunteer graphic designer Ric Wilson for their outstanding work!
Would you be surprised to know that today there are active volunteers who have been with us since Big Apple Greeter started in 1992? Click here to read the stories of the volunteers who have been with us for 20 years!
Big Apple Greeter Today
Today, there are 300 plus volunteer Greeters who each year bring approximately 7,000 visitors to 114 neighborhoods throughout the City. Since its start in 1992, Big Apple Greeter has welcomed over 120,000 visitors from all 50 states and 124 countries, with visits conducted in over 20 languages. A December 2004 survey conducted by New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management found that 97% of survey respondents said that their Greeter experience made their trips to New York City much more successful.
Big Apple Greeter services are provided free of charge thanks to the support of our generous donors. Please consider becoming a donor at this time, so that we may continue sharing the city’s diverse neighborhoods and hidden treasures with visitors from around the world.
Big Apple Greeter’s office is staffed by 6 paid staff and about 35 volunteers who work in every aspect of the program, from answering visitors’ questions and matching visitors with Greeters, to computer tech support and special events. What might look easy to do on the surface (you submit a request and a volunteer meets you at your accommodation) actually takes a large infrastructure to support. We receive over 10,000 requests a year, and it takes alot of people to make sure the right volunteer speaking the right language is meeting the right visitors at the right time and location.
In August 2008, Big Apple Greeter introduced the Greeter for a Day Program in which business, community, and government leaders are invited to fill a Greeter’s shoes for a few hours. By sharing his or her love and enthusiasm for New York City and its neighborhoods with an appreciative visitor, the Greeter for a Day promotes New York City “the Big Apple Greeter way.”
Photo: Arthur Gold