I’m a licensed tour guide (again)

I’m a licensed tour guide (again)

Well, here’s the good news. I’m a licensed tour guide. (Again!) I just got my spanking new license in the mail.

I first got my New York City sightseeing guide license 8 or so years ago. I gave my first-ever tour in July of 2013, and some while later, I studied for the licensing exam and became official. There is a renewal process involved in tour guide licensing, and I kept the license active until the pandemic closures hit. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs offices weren’t operating properly, so renewals were postponed. In the confusion of their constantly changing deadline extensions, my license lapsed.

I had no idea if I’d even stick around in New York City for 2022, never mind if I’d give tours. I still don’t know what the next season of tourism holds. But I needed my license for some paperwork, so I buckled down and got to work. The process brought back a lot of memories. Back when I got my license originally, I was naive and starry-eyed. I felt like all the fancy details about gothic architecture and which subways to take to the Museum of Modern Art were dazzling accomplishments. I was like a country bumpkin from those movie cliches, where she arrives to a bustling New York City and lives through a five-second montage of euphoric sights and sounds. Then it all becomes very no-nonsense.

I’m much more a regular city inhabitant now, and this means, I think, having a rather cynical view of the licensing system and its barriers to entry and economic incentives. I got through the process with quite a bit of grumbling. Hours of memorizing trivia on Quizlet, all of which you can google in a matter of minutes, none of which is related to my actual area of expertise. Hours spent in a dingy office in Midtown Manhattan, bleary-eyed and unamused as each multiple-choice question was framed as pages of text. I was quite surprised I passed.

So here I am. Again a licensed tour guide. The deep winter is quickly passing by, and I wonder what lies ahead. Maybe this is an omen to spend many lovely hours exploring the city with people who can appreciate the perspective of a lapsed idealist. I am daring to hope a little bit.

My original license

The new license for 2022

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