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Tour Guide of the Month: Ammi Simon!
Full Name Please: Ammiel Simon.
Where’d you grow up? I grew up in Forest Hills New York.
Where do you live now? Today I live in Spanish Harlem.
When did you move to NY and why? I moved to New York twice: One when I was 6 years old when my family moved here from Chicago. I went to the High School of Music and Art for one year before my parents decided to move the family to Israel. After 12 years in Israel, two wars and the loss of my stepbrother in one of those wars, it occurred to me that I might not be all that Jewish. I missed Manhattan terribly. When I was 28 I gathered up enough money and flew back to Gotham. I went down into the subway and smelling that combination of braking fluid and dead rat…I knew I was home.
Where would you live if money were no option? If money were no option I would live in one of the new condos around Union Square.
Could you ever live anywhere else in the world? I think I’ve made it clear that I could never live anywhere but New York. Wild horses will not take me from this city, again. When you’re in love with something (or someone) and you lose it – and then get it back, you tend to hold on tight to it
What don’t your tour groups know about you? My groups get to know me pretty well. I’m an open book.
What’s your favorite restaurant? My favorite restaurant is Joe Allen. White tablecloths, good house wine and sometimes, not often, but occasionally – a Broadway star comes in and everyone is super cool about it. Very New York.
What’s your favorite neighborhood? My favorite neighborhood – too many to number. Neighborhoods connect to memories. Upper West Side, Harlem, Murray Hill Forest Hills – all hold special people and memories for me. I love New York.
Whats your favorite tour? My favorite tour is the one with the most engaged tourists.
One Piece of Advice All NYC Tour Guides Should Know? The most important piece of advice for a tour guide: Connect! You may be the only real New Yorker your clients get to know while they’re here. Give them a chance to know you and through you – the city.