Tour Guides

Tour Guide Bios

About Our Guides

MAS tour leaders are architects, architectural historians, designers, geographers, urban and art historians, professors, and writers who are singularly qualified to interpret the cityscape.

Jean Arrington

Jean Arrington

Jean Arrington

Jean has led tours for MAS in the Bronx and Manhattan, and is planning a new one for Staten Island. It was through a career in education as an English professor and mentor for student teachers that she became fascinated by the 400 grand and innovative school buildings of the late Charles B. J. Snyder. As New York’s Superintendent of Public Schools (1891-1923) he designed the city’s first public high schools, created the H-plan for maximum light and air, and introduced other amenities such as auditoriums and rooftop playgrounds. Jean has lectured extensively about Snyder and led tours of his schools in various neighborhoods. Her recently completed book about him is awaiting publication.

Judith Berdy

Judith Berdy

Judith Berdy

Judith 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.

Phil Desiere

Phil Desiere

Phil Desiere

Phil is a licensed guide and a member of the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC). He enjoys sharing his passion for the Big Apple with visitors and locals alike. Phil likes to connect the sights with fun facts and fascinating tales, helping to create a rich and entertaining experience of New York.

Alan Engler

Alan Engler

Alan Engler, MD

Alan is a licensed NYC tour guide who is passionate about New York City history and architecture, and enjoys leading tours here. He leads a series of tours on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, entitled “Mansions, Money and Scandal – Gilded Age Splendor on the Upper East Side,” and is also a docent on MAS tours of Grand Central Terminal.

Linda Fisher

Linda Fisher

Linda Fisher

Linda is a native New Yorker, licensed tour guide and MAS docent. She has a B.A. in Urban Studies and has worked as a court reporter covering public hearings for all City agencies and presently is an official for the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York. Born in Staten Island, raised in the Bronx, residing in Brooklyn in the ’70s, Manhattan in the ’80s and Queens since 1990, she has many stories to share as she digs deep into neighborhood history.

Laurence Frommer

Laurence Frommer

Laurence Frommer

Laurence 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.

Diana Gold

Diana Gold

Diana Gold

Diana is a native New Yorker who has been working full-time as a licensed NYC tour guide since 2006. She was born in Manhattan, raised in The Bronx and attended middle school, high school and college in Manhattan. As a professional actor and member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA, Diana is an engaging storyteller. She has witnessed the evolution of her Upper West Side neighborhood from desolate and drug-infested to chic and elite. With a special affection for her home town, Diana takes a quiet, and sometimes not-so-quiet sense of pride in being able to share all that she knows and loves about New York.

Sam Goodman

Samuel Goodman

Samuel M. Goodman

Samuel 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.

Ron Janoff

Ron Janoff

Dr. Ron Janoff

Ron 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.

Sylvia Laudien-Meo

Sylvia Laudien-Meo

Sylvia Laudien-Meo

Sylvia 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 with adult, student and access groups at the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA and the Jewish Museum, but has also been working as a NYC tour guide for over 20 years. In her walking tours she focuses especially on the arts in their architectural and urban context, with a particular interest in Public Art, memorials and Street Art.

Alexandra Maruri

Alexandra Maruri

Alexandra Maruri

Alexandra is a Bronx native and NYC licensed Tour Guide. She enjoys sharing the history of The Bronx with visitors and locals. She is passionate about historical context and encouraging support to small businesses, educational houses, and cultural Institutions in the 5 Boroughs. Alex’s excursions to Arthur Avenue – the “Little Italy of the Bronx” – are always poplular with MAS tour attendees.

Francis Morrone

Francis Morrone

Francis Morrone

Francis is an architectural historian and writer. He is the author of eleven books, including “Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes” (W.W. Norton, 2013) and, with Henry Hope Reed, “The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building” (W.W. Norton, 2011), as well as architectural guidebooks to New York City, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. He was for six and a half years an art and architecture critic for the New York Sun. He teaches architectural and urban history at the New York University School of Professional Studies where he is the recipient of the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He was named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the 13 best tour guides in the world.

Morgan Munsey

Morgan Munsey

Morgan Munsey

Morgan is 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.

James and Karla Murray

James and Karla Murray

James and Karla Murray

James and Karla are New York City-based professional photographers and authors. Their critically acclaimed books Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York and New York Nights have set the standard for urban documentation. New York Nights was the winner of the prestigious New York Society Library’s 2012 New York City Book Award. James and Karla Murray’s work has been exhibited widely in major institutions and galleries, including solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Historical Society and Clic Gallery and group shows at the New-York Historical Society. Their photographs are included in the permanent collections of major institutions, including the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and NYU Langone Medical Center.

Matt Postal

Matt Postal

Matt Postal

Matt 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.

Judith Pucci

Judith Pucci

Judith Pucci

Judith is a native New Yorker who knows and loves this city as only a curious and observant insider can. A writer, educator, and licensed NYC guide, Judith has created lively, engaging experiences for literally thousands of people from around the world—including foreign dignitaries and a member of Congress. Judith also moderates “We Were There” at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, a weekly program featuring the personal stories of people whose lives were directly affected by the attacks of September 11th. She also proudly supports the essential work of MAS as a long-time docent.

Anthony Robins

Anthony W. Robins

Anthony W. Robins

Anthony 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 of Art in London. His books include “Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark,” “Classics of American Architecture: The World Trade Center,” “Subway Style: 100 Years of Architecture & Design in the New York City Subway,” and the forthcoming “Guide to Art Deco Architecture in New York City.” He teaches at Columbia and NYU.

Joan Schechter

Joan Schechter

Joan Schechter

Joan is a native New Yorker and licensed NYC tour guide. She has a passion for history and all things Vanderbilt, and loves exploring and showing others the city’s historical treasures. Joan was born and raised in Greenwich Village and feels a connection with Jane Jacobs. She leads a very popular Jane’s Walk every year.

Dana Schulz

Dana Schulz

Dana Schulz

Dana is a writer and preservationist with a passion for all things New York. After graduating from New York University with a B.A. in Urban Design & Architecture Studies, she worked at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, where she planned the organization’s public programs and wrote for their blog. She’s currently the Senior Editor at 6sqft, a NYC-based blog that covers the places, people, and ideas shaping the city. Follow her on Twitter @danaschulzNYC

Bob Singleton

Bob Singleton

Bob Singleton

Bob is Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society. He left a challenging career on Wall Street and the corporate world for an even more daunting task – community preservation in the borough of Queens. Directly, and through the society’s affiliates Forgotten NY, Friends of Steinway Mansion, and the New York Nineteenth Century Society, he coordinates dozens of walking tours (including public tours of the legendary Steinway and Sons factory in Long Island City), exhibits, and lectures thorough the city. “Our finest hour? Scanning one of the largest postcard collections of New York City and having it pay off when we landed a plum assignment as historical advisors to Baz Luhrman’s ‘Great Gatsby.’ It earned the film an Oscar for Set Design and gave us another page in our playbook.”

Suzanne Spellen

Suzanne Spellen

Suzanne Spellen

Suzanne 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. Read her recent profile in the New York Times.

Joe Svehlak

Joe Svehlak

Joe Svehlak

Joe, 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.

Patrick Waldo

Patrick Waldo

Patrick Waldo

Patrick is a licensed New York City tour guide studying historic preservation at Pratt Institute. He serves as Co-President of neighborhood advocacy group Save Chelsea and is an organizer for racial justice with NYC Shut It Down, a group that formed out of the Black Lives Matter movement. He studied improv comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where he also wrote and starred in a one-man show, “Moustache Man: Confessions of a NYC Graffiti Artist” about his uncommissioned public art campaign that subverted subway advertisements and introduced him to the colorful world of graffiti and street art.

Eric K. Washington

Eric K. Washington

Eric K. Washington

Eric, a fellow in Columbia University’s Community Scholars Program, is an independent historian, author, photographer. His research on Harlem, Trinity Church Cemetery and Upper Manhattan is reflected in both academic and public forums. His book, Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem, was the basis of a notable exhibition at the City College of New York, and subsequently the interpretive signage in West Harlem Piers Park that won him the Municipal Art Society’s 2010 MASterworks Award. His ongoing study of Trinity Church Cemetery–Manhattan’s only active burying ground–provides the majority of research in the parish’s official literature of notable burials. Eric is featured prominently in Phillip Lopate’s Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan, and Jonathan R. Wynn’s The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York. He is the owner of Tagging-the-Past, which endeavors to reconnect forgotten history to present landscapes through articles, talks and tours.

Deborah Zelcer

Deborah Zelcer

Deborah Zelcer

Deborah 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 Janes Walk revealed to her the joy of entertaining audiences with tales of urban evolution.