Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
Sometimes the best vacation experiences really are free -- even in pricey
That's what we discovered when we met up with
"I thought I could make a difference in the misconceptions people have of
It seems such a simple idea -- to connect locals enthusiastic about their city to first-time visitors or those simply visiting from elsewhere. (Greeters can give tours in more than 20 languages -- everything from Spanish, French and German to Mandarin, Danish and Portuguese. Those with special challenges, whatever their ages, can be accommodated -- including disabled war veterans through the Wounded Warriors programs.
Visits can be geared to your interests or the ages of your kids. Bourke says she especially likes to show
If you think you've heard about a program like this elsewhere, you're right. Big Apple Greeter has spurred others around the world as close as
"What I love about the visits are they are exactly what I'd love if I were traveling in another country," says 22-year-old
"I get energized watching the faces of the visitors and hearing all their 'wows'," adds Nikki's grandfather,
It all started in the early 1990s. New Yorker
"Everyone said it was a great idea but wouldn't work," said
Now, because of the economic crisis, the nonprofit organization has found itself in a financial crunch of its own and must come up with
I'd signed up online for the program (do this a month ahead!) because I couldn't think of any better way to introduce my sister-in-law
Midtown was a great home base and we did the typical tourist stuff on our own --
And someone else to lead the way! I was glad to let Bourke take the lead on our tour. She met us at our hotel and led us on the short walk to
We strolled through
We crossed into
If Big Apple Greeter is forced to close, Bourke says, "There would be a hole in my heart for having lost the opportunity to meet strangers one morning and have new friends at the end of the day."
We reluctantly hugged goodbye, as friends do.
If you are bringing kids to NYC, check out Eileen's book
"The Kid's Guide to New York City (Kid's Guides Series)" from
Statue of Liberty
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