Tour guides appeal license requirement

Austin Miller of Philadelphia Carriage Co. gave a ride yesterday to tourists in Center City.

Philadelphia tour guides who cannot remember the past may repeat historical tall tales to visitors, but should they be condemned to $300 fines if they aren’t licensed by City Hall? That’s the question facing a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel at a hearing today into whether a 2008 city law prohibiting people from leading tours without passing a test and having a license to do so is unconstitutional.

Robert McNamara, lawyer for three tour guides who brought the suit, said it’s about more than “a direct assault on two fundamental American rights: to speak freely and earn an honest living.” When the city sought to dismiss the suit without considering the constitutionality in 2009 — because they hadn’t included a budgetary line to cover enforcement — it became about money.

Tour guides would “have to go about their business knowing that in six weeks, six months, a year, their livelihood’s going to become illegal,” said McNamara.

David Forde, chief-of-staff for bill-sponsor Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, said, “We’re trying to be a tourist-friendly city so we shouldn’t be saying, ‘This is where George Washington met Abraham Lincoln.’ We’re not stopping anyone from saying what they want. … We’re just calling for a test so they have a basis of knowledge.”

City yet to approve

On behalf of tour guides Mike Tait, Josh Silver and Ann Boulais, McNamara suggested an optional history test that would enable guides to advertise themselves as city-approved. He said the city didn’t respond.


Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”


Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…


New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…


NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…


We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…


3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.


Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.


#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…


John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.


Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.


Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”


Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.


Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…


New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.


Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.


Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…