MAS tour leaders are architects, architectural historians, designers, geographers, urban and art historians, teachers and writers who are singularly qualified to interpret the cityscape.
JUDITH BERDY has been President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society since 1999. A 35-year resident of Roosevelt Island, she has chronicled the history, architecture, flora and fauna of this unique community in articles, guided tours and numerous speaking engagements. She has co-authored two books in the series Images of America that integrate period photographs with narratives of local heritage: Roosevelt Island and The Queensboro Bridge.
MARY ANN HAICK DINAPOLI is a local historian with a special interest in the Arab American community of New York. She has lectured on this topic at New York Public Library and the Library of Congress and has written an article about it for A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City. Mary Ann is also a genealogist whose clients have included producers and biographers.
JACK EICHENBAUM holds a Ph.D. in urban geography. He’s a lifelong observer of New York City and other large cities around the world. His expertise lies in historical urban geography, migration, ethnicity and technological change. Jack maintains a storehouse of urban concepts, researched facts and what he calls biased memories of bygone eras. His favorite teacher is the city itself.
JUSTIN FERATE is an urban, social and architectural historian, and the former Director of Adult Education at Cooper Union. Recently, the Governor of New York State and the New York State Tourism Council recognized him as New York’s “Most Engaging Tour Guide.” In 2003, Justin was selected to create the New York City Professional Tour Guide Licensing Examination by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.
LAURENCE FROMMER is a self described “free-range urbanist “ with a background in urban planning, urban history and the arts. His work has engaged a great diversity of subjects, including the future of infrastructure investment, zoning reform, transit oriented development, historic preservation and the leveraging of the arts for urban vitality. He was an organizer of a landmark conference on fostering sustainable construction methods at the CUNY Graduate Center in 2004 and the subsequent CUNY Sustainable Building Initiative. He is a contributing author to 20/20 Vision: Smart Growth for the New York Metropolitan Region” (Revson ). Laurence has been associated with the Ivy Brown Gallery for several years and is committed to keeping New York a place that makes new creative talent flourish.
SAMUEL M. GOODMAN can trace his family’s history on the Grand Boulevard and Concourse in the Bronx back to 1927. In 1987 he purchased his own “Concourse co-op” and in 1995 was hired by the Bronx Borough President as an urban planner. Sam enjoys sharing his perspectives about Bronx life and how these experiences remain so relevant. He has been referenced in numerous books and has written articles for historical journals and cultural institutions. “To know where you’re going it is necessary to know where you’ve been and to appreciate the essentialness of every person’s ambition; one need only feel the pulse of life on the Grand Concourse.” Sam holds a BA in political science and a MA in urban administration.
KATHLEEN HULSER was public historian at the New-York Historical Society from 1999 to 2011. She currently teaches at The New School and Parsons in New York and creates public history and digital humanities projects. She worked on the curatorial teams for Slavery in New York and Nueva York, and was a co-curator of Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery. As the senior history curator and education curator at the New-York Historical Society she has developed programs and collections regarding Slavery, Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad, including the cell phone tour “Hidden Sites of Slavery and Freedom.”
DR. RON JANOFF is a Latin scholar and an adjunct professor of Classical Mythology. He has taught at public, private, and charter schools at intermediate, high school, and college levels. At New York University he served as a director for program development. He was a coordinator of the NYU Beat Generation Conferences of 1994 and 1995, working closely with Allen Ginsberg and with the Kerouac/Sampas estate. He received his Ph.D. in English Education from NYU with a specialization in multiculturalism and travel writing. Dr. Janoff lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where he publishes a weekly annotated on-line issue of The New York Latin Leaflet of 1900-1906.
FRANCIS MORRONE is an architectural historian and writer. His ten books include “The Architectural Guidebook to New York City,” “An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn,” and “The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.” He is the co-author, with Matt Postal, of the Municipal Art Society’s “Ten Architectural Walks in Manhattan.” Morrone wrote every week for six and a half years about art and architecture for the New York Sun. He teaches at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (where he is the recipient of the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award) and in March 2011 was named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the 13 best tour guides in the world.
SYLVIA LAUDIEN MEO is an art historian who came to NYC from Germany via Paris. She teaches art history at Fairleigh Dickinson University and works as a gallery educator at the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA and the Jewish Museum with adult and student groups. She has also been focusing on exploring museum exhibitions as well as the City with visitors who have physical or mental disabilities. In her walking tours she likes to concentrate on the city’s art scene.
MORGAN MUNSEY trained as an architect at Hampton University, where he specialized in urban planning and historic preservation. He’s worked in leading firms in Washington, DC and Manhattan. He now lives and works in Bedford Stuyvesant as a preservation design architect. In 2009, he began a project to document the architecture and architects of Bedford Stuyvesant, as an effort to aid in the landmarking of this historic neighborhood. This led to a wealth of knowledge, which is expressed in walking tours and in his blog, savebedfordstuyvesant.blogspot.com. With Central Brooklyn as his focus, Morgan is an active participant in the preservation of New York’s historic neighborhoods. Read his recent profile in the New York Times.
NORMAN ODER is career-long journalist, most recently specializing in Brooklyn, and longstanding urbanist, ever since he took a class with architectural historian Vincent Scully. He has led eclectic, energetic tours, mainly in Brooklyn, since 2000, steadily expanding into additional neighborhoods and building his granular knowledge of the city. Norman has lived in three Brooklyn neighborhoods since 1991. He has contributed to the New York Times, City Limits, the Brooklyn Rail, and BKLYNR, and writes a long-running blog about the controversial Atlantic Yards project.
MATT POSTAL is an architectural historian, specializing in twentieth century architecture and urbanism. He has been a member of the research staff of the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission since 1998 and is an adjunct professor of architectural history at the New York School of Interior Design and Lewis and Clark College. He recently co-authored the Guide to New York City Landmarks.
ANTHONY W. ROBINS is an historian who writes about, lectures on, and leads walking tours of, New York City’s history and architecture. During a long stint at New York’s Landmarks Commission, he served as Deputy Director of Research and then Director of Survey. He was also a founding member of the Art Deco Society of New York, whose walking tour program he created. Robins holds an M.A. degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute in London.
SUZANNE SPELLEN is an architectural historian, researcher and writer. She is the author of the “Montrose Morris” columns on the Brooklyn blog Brownstoner.com, where she writes about the architecture and history of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods. She has been a resident of Central Brooklyn, first Bedford Stuyvesant, then Crown Heights North, since 1983, and has worked to get both neighborhoods recognized and landmarked. She is a board member of the Crown Heights North Association, and past chairperson of their House Tour committee. She’s working on several books about Central Brooklyn, and also gives lectures and slide shows highlighting architectural and cultural history.
Mary Ann Haick DiNapoli is a local historian with a special interest in the Arab American community of New York. She has lectured on this topic at New York Public Library and the Library of Congress and has written an article about it for A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City. Mary Ann is also a genealogist whose clients have included producers and biographers.
JOE SVEHLAK, native New Yorker, urban historian and preservationist, as a teenage messenger for the printing trades in the 1950s, walked the streets of a much different Lower Manhattan, thus sparking his interest in history. A founding member of the Sunset Park Restoration Committee and advocate for preservation in Brooklyn since the 1970s, Joe is also a preservation activist Downtown Manhattan with the “Friends of the Lower West Side”. He had careers on Wall Street and in real estate. For the last 15 years he is a licensed NYC tour guide with his own custom tour business with an affinity for lesser-known neighborhoods. Joe attended the Victorian Society Summer School Programs in London and in Newport, and is a member of many historical societies and preservation organizations.
ERIC K. WASHINGTON is a local historian, photographer and writer. He won the 2010 MASterworks Award for his interpretive signage of West Harlem Piers Park, located in the historic neighborhood that is the subject of his book, “Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem.” His research, walking tours and iPhone app have contributed exponentially to the number of acknowledged notables buried in upper Manhattan’s Trinity Church Cemetery. As a tour guide, Eric has been highlighted at length in Phillip Lopate’s “Waterfront,” and Jonathan R. Wynn’s “The Tour Guide.”
DEBORAH ZELCER enjoys illuminating the social, political, technological and economic contexts which have shaped cities throughout history. She credits studies with esteemed architectural historian Reyner Banham for igniting her passion to interpret the built environment. After receiving a Bachelors degree in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, she worked for architectural/urban design specialists RTKL and Associates, Landscape Architects Innocenti and Webel, and residential design firms. A stint in the Moth Storytelling Workshop coupled with involvement in JanesWalk revealed to her the joy of entertaining audiences with tales of urban evolution.