Named "New York's Wackiest Tour Guides" by the Travel Channel!

HooplaHa: The Power of Positive Levys

The Levys are the star video today on a new site called HooplaHa. It’s a website that spotlights positive people, stories & ideas and we think it’s the perfect stage for us.

See, we’ve been approached by at least a dozen reality TV producers, all of whom think we’d be perfect subjects for starring in a reality TV show.

Except for one thing; a prominent TV producer, complete with cigar, LA tan and $300 haircut put it this way. (Monologue that follows is excerpted from my memory.) “Boys, I’ve been in this business for 30 years and there are just five elements that make for great reality TV.

#1:  BIG PERSONALITIES. Ya got that.
#2: A world that you inhabit that people CARE ABOUT, ya got New York, that’s good.
#3: A  STAKE in the outcome of the episode, IE, something important has to happen as a result of the plot. Don’t worry, our writers can come up with that.
#4: A  REVEAL. Something – either a surprise or an expected outcome, has to happen by the end of the episode; we can work that up too.
#5: CONFLICT. Ya know what? I just don’t see the conflict among you. Could you guys come up with a story arc or plot that cooks up some more conflict?”

So we went home and wrote a script which supposed that I was retiring from the business and my three sons were going to compete with each other to win the favor of the Tourfather; the Lead Levy would then be rewarded with the business. We figured that as each episode progressed & as one son moved ahead, the other two would ally and sabotage the third. This is total fiction: I am years away from retiring and Matt is my business partner and will inherit the business when I do.

So we went back to the hotshot producer and told him what we’ve told every reality TV producer since; we are not interested in inventing conflict, we are not interested in acting or fiction and if reality TV has no place for positive people, IE our functioning, loving family and to show us for who we are, then we’re not interested in being on reality TV. Simple as that.

A Personal Note About Positivity: I’ve always been a positive, optimistic and upbeat kinda guy. Some of that is a result of being blessed as an urban American male who is tall, strong, smart and healthy; some of that is a result of growing up in an loving, functioning, positive family. My parents were married for over 60 years and it is no exaggeration to call it a 60-year love affair.

I had an excellent NYC public education, followed by a series of fascinating and challenging careers. Starting off with cartography, I then moved into community development and managing complex and demanding NYC facilities and at a number of NYC agencies, some of which dealt with the worst urban problems of the 1980s. After my public career slowed, I started a small but vibrant business with my eldest son that allows us to meet interesting people from all over the world and show off the Greatest City in the World.

Our tour guides are the smart, funny and passionate, I am close with my sons, my sister and my Mom. I have loved and been loved by two wonderful women. In June I am marrying the love of my life. I own a 1904 Victorian house in the most beautiful neighborhood in NYC, which allows me to tend my gardens, bike and frisbee in nearby Prospect Park and occasionally travel to faraway lands. What’s not to be positive about?

So when HooplaHa approached us, we agreed that positive is always the way to go.

By Mark Levy

About MarkLevy


  1. Awesome video and excellent insight! When you told me you were being approached for a reality show, I immediately thought the same thing – “Where’s the nasty? They’d never make it.” Apparently what this country demands in its bread and circuses is a food fight. Don’t get me started, or I won’t be able to stay positive.

    I personally would LOVE to watch a LUNY show every week and learn cool and obscure things about NYC and see the way you run your vibrant small business. Perhaps you should self-produce a web series! If Daryl Hall can do it, why not LUNY?

  2. Louise Tropp says:

    Smiles and Laughter!! Love and Joy!! Who could ask for more. Your mom and grandma is a very special person. She is so very proud of all of you and with very good reason. I look forward to taking a tour with you.

  3. Rachel Kubersky says:

    Good luck Levys in this wonderful venture! And what a city, New York, to give tours in. Expect to see you on PBS! And keep Grandma waving the red pillow.

  4. Love the Video. A new equation: LEVY= Positive energy.
    Love the interaction between the BOYS.

  5. Linda Barnes says:

    I loved the video and love the beautiful life you have made for yourself. When Matt took us on a tour of Brooklyn, our gift to our Brooklyn friends, for their 40th anniversary, you generously opened your home to us. We were met outside your house with champagne to toast the occasion and I have the video of our crying friends. Keep doing what you’re doing for many, many more positive, happy years. You are an inspiration to us all.

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