Tour guiding your way to success

 

The bar is high for laughs with history for tour guides around the country.
The bar is high for laughs with history for tour guides around the country.

Even after 16 years as a tour guide, Josh Silver still breaks out in an irrepressible ear-to-ear grin when he discusses the history of Philadelphia.

He started in 1997 as a part-time guide at Clifton House — a historical home just outside of Philadelphia — and discovered he was a natural. Silver has an affinity for local history, combined with a habit of describing events and artifacts with strict precision: “My friend calls it my bow-tie way of talking,” he says with a laugh.

“The challenge for me is staying fresh. And that takes a lot of self-generated motivation,” explains Silver. “After a while you have a lot of material to lean on, but you’ve got to push yourself to keep learning and incorporating new things.”

Today Silver is one of the most sought-after guides in the city. But he still has to hustle to remain a full-time guide. There are few — if any — Philly tour guiding companies that offer full-time work, and almost all hire guides exclusively as freelancers. Silver has worked for almost every tour guiding company in the city, and currently rotates between two small for-profit companies and one nonprofit.

“It can be an excellent way to get some supplemental income with something that’s always challenging and keeps you learning,” says Silver. “But if you want to do it, I think the first step is coming out of your shell. There are monthly meetings of tour guides. There are tours offered every day. Get out there and start talking to people, because that’s a big requirement for the job.”

Quoted:

“It’s not like [a lot of service industry jobs] where you’re often treated poorly. Very simply, you know where to go and they don’t. You’ve got the inside scoop, so people don’t look down on you when you’re serving them.” New York tour guide Robert Westfield (www.robertwestfield.com)

“I saw a private guide repeatedly showing up with 30 or more tourists. It didn’t take long to do the math. That guide was nice enough to advise me, and soon I had my own business.” Tom Bernardin of Ellis Island Tours  (www.ellisislandtours.com)

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.