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Private tour guide Gabriella

Gabriella O.

New York, NY, United States

I always wanted to be a tour guide since high school, when I relished telling stories of classroom life as I showed prospective students around on "Open House Day. " Only after a long career in education did I finally earn my New York City Tour Guide license.

Now, I love sharing my enthusiasm for my hometown with those who have never been here or those who can't help but return to see New York again.

I spend hours researching curious facts and amazing histories of different neighborhoods of Manhattan and I am always amazed at how much there is to see on every street. As a native New Yorker, I appreciate everything this city offers--from its iconic water tanks and fire escapes, to quirky architectural motifs above doorways, to hidden gardens and private streets, to historic cemeteries secluded near residences and peaceful parks and riversides that offer respite from noisy traffic. And then there are the ever-changing shops, eateries, theaters, and museums that welcome anyone to linger inside. One can never get bored in New York!

As a guide, I like to get to know my visitors--not only on the tour but even before they arrive. I am happy to correspond by email with anyone interested in my tours to clarify and build a mutually happy experience. I enjoy running my tours as "conversations, " so visitors too can come to know New York like a native and feel safe and comfortable, even with mundane things like using a Metrocard. More so, I want my visitors to feel what it is to step back and touch New York history through words and imagination, to understand how ordinary people lived each day to make this city what it is. As a published author of six books on film, I think of New York as a never-ending movie (and certainly enough filming is done here now that New York is the "New Hollywood"!). As much as possible, I like to have my visitors experience the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of what we encounter on our walks. However many times I describe the nightmare that was 9/11, or walk through the little "garden" that remains of the Flower District, or share the joy of finding a Mickey Mouse mural on the side of a building, I know I touch my visitors' hearts and minds and give them warm memories to take home.

To make these stories come alive in the most vivid way possible, I enjoy the small group experience and so I limit my walking tours to 1-3 visitors. As we navigate through the city streets, a small group allows us to share our observations and comments in a friendly, personal way. I am also proud of how I attempt to accommodate and adapt to the needs of my visitors for time to stop and smell the roses, have a refreshing snack, or slow down and examine up close a detail that most people overlook.

In addition, once you contact me with your interest in my tour, I would be delighted to continue assisting you with advice, suggestions, and how-to information to help enhance your visit to NY. I love emails and am happy to keep up a communication with any questions or ideas you may have, both while you are planning your trip and once you arrive. I can also consider ways to tailor-make your dream tour by incorporating any special sites or activities of interest into my walks. Let me know if you have a special request and I will see how it might be possible to include that in your visit.

Tours provide moments that make a visit to a big city become personal and meaningful, moments to connect with each other and our surroundings. Please don't hesitate to ask me questions, throw out ideas, and offer suggestions. I want your visit to the Big Apple to be special. I look forward to meeting any visitors who would like to take my tours and guiding them to understand and appreciate the city that I have loved all my life.


New York City Tour Guide License #2042843-DCA, Score: 143/150*
Member, Guide Association of New York City (GANYC)

Author of First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors; First Cut 2: More Conversations with Film Editors; Keaton's Silent Shorts: Beyond the Laughter; Harry Langdon, King of Comedy; John Cassavetes: Interviews; Blake Edwards: Interviews (and more books forthcoming!)
I have also written for family musical theater (Melville and the Yellow Umbrella, According to Aesop..., As Flowers Grow, A Comedy of Weeds, Anne).

Ed.D., M.Ed., M.A., Film and Communication, and English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
B.A., English, Fordham University (summa cum laude, Departmental Award)
Certified Floral Designer, Parsons School

Teacher of High School Equivalency, College Prep, and ESL, Catholic Guild for the Blind

And I love to travel! So far, I have been to 35 out of 50 United States!


I do not drive, but would be willing to discuss transportation options within the city (bus, subway, car service) for any long-distance walking tours. Any out-of-town tours would be arranged with a separate car/van/mini-bus and fully licensed driver.

Guide Requirements for United States

Private tour guide Gabriella

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