Hi! I am Rory – an Art History buff with specialization in Speakeasies and I am also a licensed NYC Travel guide! You see, I am New York City. Yup, you read it right – I AM NYC! Let’s back track to why I am NYC – my great grandfather was the architect and musician to the King of Norway, my father was a prince of his tribe in Nigera, my grandmother was a first generation Irish American and her parents’ legacy began on Ellis Island. So I am a Nigerian, Scottish, Irish and English mix born and raised in NYC – making me same as the very fabric that creates New York City! So what made me become an Art Historian with a profound knowledge of Speakeasies? Well, I started off as a professional Ballet Dancer and from there, switched to theater where I was fortunate to perform several Shakespearean plays. This kindled a deep appreciation and thirst to pursue further knowledge of art history. Why Speakeasies? Great question – the prohibition era was the first time in America’s history where all races and sexes were treated equally – it didn’t matter if you were white or black, man or woman, rich or poor – everyone was the same when trying to sneak in some alcohol! This was the first time women were allowed to open and own bars! That was a huge step given the state women’s rights were in during that time!
Anyway, this rich history associated with the Prohibition era, the human will to survive, thrive and progress ahead despite hurdles is the reason why I decided to specialize in Speakeasies. Also, who DOESN”T like alcohol?! So how does an Art Historian specializing in Speakeasies spend her day? Taking everyone on an exhilarating drinking of course!
9 AM: I am waiting for the bus to take me to my train to take me to my first experience (tour) in Mid-town. I have 4 experiences today! I check my schedule and luckily they are not extremely back to back. I always like to have some breathing room between my experiences since this gives me a quick way to reset my energy levels and bring the A-game back on again!
10 AM: I grab breakfast - my favorite bagel and lox from an old Jewish deli, and check local news to see if there is anything that may upend my schedule. It’s a cold day today, good thing I have my warm mittens to keep me all cozy. It’s these small things that make a huge difference!
11 AM: Coffee, vocal warm-up, pumping message/ Sasha Fierce myself and a deep breath —I have an hour and half with my guests and I am ready to make them love NYC as much as I do! This experience is focused on the mid-town hidden gems that not a lot of people think about. When people like to go to Times Square, I like to take my guests to the hidden nooks & crannies of Garment district where a lot of history was created in creating the New York of today
1 PM: On my way to the next experience, I walk 8 avenues to grab the ferry to go downtown Wall Street. On the way, I grab some halal food from my favorite food truck. I know it was not technically invented in NYC, but literally it is the BEST quick & filling food that NYC has to offer!
2 PM: I am on my downtown experience – another set of vocal warm-ups, tongue twisters, and another deep breath to rumble with the new guests. As you must have guessed it, this experience is focused on exploring the Dutch New Amsterdam (what New York used to be called under the Dutch) and showing my guests the lost gems where financial deals were made to make New York City a powerhouse
3 PM: This is my favorite part of the day! I get to prep for my most favorite experience – the Prohibition-era Speakeasy Immersion! I head back to midtown and go to the speakeasies where I will be taking my guests today. I have a great relation with the bar owners (I mean, come on I am pretty likeable!) But all jokes aside, the bar owners love that I bring guests along and help spread the rich history associated with their speakeasies
4 PM: The prohibition-era speakeasies tipsy crawl begins! We Sip, Swirl, Taste and Gulp and take a tipsy journey through the spirit trails of New York’s underground watering holes! It feels like a discovery of hidden escapes from the hustle and bustle of midtown’s typical tourist traps
7 PM: Last experience of the day! Hop the train to downtown canal street. Meet the guests in Chinatown to begin the Speakeasy, Dumplings & Donuts immersion! We leave the ‘green-tinted’ glasses behind on this adventure because we will eat, drink and shop our way into an illuminating, if somewhat tipsy, vision of NYC’s downtown history! I am sure you must be thinking by now – do I drink on all these experiences? NO! I want my guests to enjoy and have a great time, so someone has to be sober and that is me!
10 PM: Done with the last experience of the day! Help the guests navigate to wherever they are going next and start making my way home. Its been a TERRIFIC day where I met people from not 1, not 2, not 3 BUT 18 different countries! I think this is what I love about my job the most – the ability to share my expertise and love for the city with people of various backgrounds. They go away with a better appreciation of NYC and I get to meet and make friends with people ALL OVER THE WORLD without venturing out of my beautiful city!