By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on July 20, 2009 9:36 PM
As part of the Big Apple Greeter organization’s new “Celebrity Greeter for a Day” program, visitors will have the opportunity to go on free tours led by celebrities who will offer them a personal taste of New York City, rather than taking them to the usual famous tourist spots. The “Celebrity Greeter for a Day” program was launched July 15 with the help of former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and “The Sopranos” actor Dominic Chianese (in photo) at City Hall in Manhattan. Also on hand were Big Apple Greeter representatives and New York City tourism and elected officials. The program intends to match tourists from around the world with well-known New Yorkers serving as volunteers, offering their unique perspective on a walking tour of favorite haunts. More than 300 New York City residents serve as greeters throughout the year. Now celebrity greeters will be added to the mix and matched up with visitors the same way other volunteers are paired. Greeters are matched with visitors based on language, neighborhoods they want to see, and other interests. However, visitors won’t know in advance if they’ve been paired with a celebrity, so it will be at random. The Big Apple Greeter program also brings economic opportunity to New York City’s tourism industry. Founded in 1992 by Lynn Brooks, this non-profit organization’s mission is to enhance New York City’s image to foreigners, and to show them New York doesn’t have to be expensive and overwhelming.