New York Tour Guides

Meet Your Tour Guides

Untapped New York tours are led by passionate guides who love sharing their obsession with the unique, varied, and never-ending history of this special city.

Headshot of Justin Rivers

Justin Rivers

Tour Guide & History Columnist

Justin started his career as a New York city middle school English/Language Arts teacher on the Lower East Side dragging his students to historic sites across the city in an effort to bring NYC’s lesser known stories to life. That’s how he became co-creator of The Wonder City, a graphic novel that re-imagines New York City’s entire history. He was also the playwright and producer of The Eternal Space, an off-Broadway play that centered on the demolition of New York City’s Pennsylvania Station. It was with this production and one simple tweet that he fell head over heels for Untapped Cities whom he partnered with for his Remnants of Penn Station Tour. Now Justin is a licensed New York City tour guide as well as Founding Director of the Character Connection Initiative, a non-profit organization that connects character education and mindfulness to middle school curricula.

Robert Brenner

Tour Guide & Contributing Writer

Robert Brenner is a docent for the Municipal Art Society of New York, a member of the Guides Association of New York City, a licensed New York City tour guide, and an (almost) lifelong New Yorker. A survivor of the 1970s, he specializes in the offbeat and the unusual. He has a B.S. in technical writing from Carnegie-Mellon University, and a certificate in creative non-fiction from the Graduate Center at CUNY. His writing has appeared in New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, and many other publications, and he teaches at the New York City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn.

Alan Cohen

Tour Guide

Diverse neighborhoods, the food, public art, architecture, and cultural institutions are sources of endless delight and fascination for this native of Brooklyn and Manhattan resident. Alan, a retired psychologist and college professor, has been exploring those layers most of his adult life. He became a tour guide for the Central Park Conservancy and a licensed New York City sightseeing guide because he loves to share New York’s beauty and its stories. Alan is enjoying this time of his life by being a docent at the Museum of the City of New York, giving tours in Central Park, taking history courses at NYU and trying to learn Spanish.

Mandy Edgecomb

Tour Guide

Mandy’s passion for the environment, its health and history, and how humans interact with it, stems from her childhood spending time at Mammoth Cave NP and going to a school named after Margaret Mead. After receiving a degree in the Geosciences at New Jersey City University, she began seasonal work at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island NM as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service. This led to working for the non-profit Save Ellis Island giving and developing public tours for them. Most recently, she spent the 2016 season as a Park Ranger at Governors Island National Monument.

Jeff Dobbins

Tour Guide

A long-time New Yorker, Jeff has led tours of NYC for over two decades. He has also created numerous walking tours for tour companies and independent clients. As a freelance writer, Jeff has written over one hundred and fifty articles about NYC history and culture for publications including Yahoo News, Nomadic Matt, Bohemian Traveler and his own website, Adventures in Culture. His photography has appeared in magazines, photo exhibitions, and is featured at the Museum of the City of New York. Jeff had a long career in New York’s theater industry as a performer, writer, lyricist, and manager of Broadway and Lincoln Center theaters. His passions are theater, opera, travel, and NYC culture and history.

Laura Itzkowitz

Contributing Editor

Laura is a writer, editor and translator based in Brooklyn. She has an MFA in creative writing and translation from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, a BA in French from Smith College, studied in Paris for a year, and lived in Rome for two years. In addition to her regular contributions to Untapped, Laura’s writing has been published on Fodor’s Travel, Mic, Architizer, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, The Culture-ist, Words Without Borders, and others. She has been featured as a New York City expert blogger on Time Out New York and named one of Hotel Club’s Top 20 NYC bloggers. She works in the research department at Travel + Leisure.

Alex McQuilkin

Urban Planning Columnist

Alex grew up in suburban California and uber-urban Tokyo. He came to New York for school, and stayed for work (and some play). When not researching, writing, or daydreaming about cities, he enjoys improv cooking, getting lost on his bike, and consuming media in all its modern iterations.

Luke Kingma

Contributing Writer

By day, Luke Kingma, a University of Pittsburgh graduate and a copywriter for Vayner Media. By night and by weekend, Luke is a photographer, writer, traveler and professional beer glass stealer whose thirst for adventure, great stories and, of course, delicious beer, is never quenched.

Bhushan Mondkar

Contributing Writer

Bhushan is an Architect and Urban Designer on weekdays and an avid shutterbug 24 x 7, capturing the vibrant motion and untapped tranquility of urban jungles. He was born and raised in Pune, India where he studied Architecture, designed a radio station, worked in the Indian Film and Television Industry as an assistant director/ editor, designed sets for a short film and also directed a documentary series of 10 episodes. He moved to New York in 2008 to rediscover his love for Architecture and has since worked on projects across nine countries including a few in New York City. Check out his iphoneography at

Gabriela Hammond

Tour Guide

Gabriela was raised in a small town outside Philadelphia, PA and had always dreamed of moving out to New York. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she majored in Drama. Besides performing, she loves sharing this amazing and fascinating city with both locals and tourists alike. Her absolute favorite thing to do is eat, which makes living in the city both a blessing and a curse- but she loves every second of it.

James and Karla Murray

Tour Guides

James and Karla are husband-and-wife New York based professional photographers and authors. Their critically acclaimed books include Store Front II- A History Preserved, New York Nights, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York and Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC. Their latest publication, Store Front II- A History Preserved has been nominated by the Guides Association of New York for “Outstanding Achievement in NYC Book Writing” 2017 GANYC Award. The authors’ landmark 2008 book, Store Front, was cited in Bookforum’s 20th Anniversary issue Dec/Jan 2015 as one of the “Exemplary Art Books From The Past Two Decades” and heralded as “One of the periods most successful New York books.”

Thomas Rinaldi

Tour Guides & Photographer

His photographs have been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the New York Observer, Westchester Magazine, CNN Online, and elsewhere, and have been exhibited at theMunicipal Art Society of New York and are currently on view in an exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany.

Benjamin Waldman

History Columnist

Benjamin is an attorney, tour guide, and freelance writer who has been living in New York City since college. An American History major, Benjamin is interested in all things New York and spends his free time wandering around the City. He works as a tour guide for the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy and has written articles for The New York Times, The Columbia Magazine, and Curbed.

Lynn Lieberman

Arts Columnist

Lynn was born and raised in New York before venturing off to Los Angeles in the late 60’ws and 70’s and Coconut Grove Florida in the 90’s, until her full time return to New York in 2007. She resides in Harlem, working as an artist and selling her note cards, poster maps and original watercolors in many of the shops in both Greenwich Village and Harlem. You can follow her paintbrush on Facebook at Greenwich Village Sketches and Harlem Sketches or on her website

Christopher Inoa

Street Art & Film Columnist

Christopher is probably watching a film as you read this. Chris is a graduate of Brooklyn College where he studied film and is currently in the CUNY masters progrma for Journalism. Christopher’s immense knowledge of pop culture would make you initially believe he has no social life but he’s out frequently documenting and photographing the NYC street art scene. Born and raised in NYC, Christopher is truly an “all-city” photographer, traveling to all boroughs to capture the unique art around NYC.

Jeff Reuben

Architecture Columnist

Jeff is a city planner, works for a consulting firm in New York City, and lives in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan.  His interests include architecture, urban history, photography, travel, running, exploring city neighborhoods on foot, and drinking craft beer. (All his other interests make him very thirsty).  The topics he writes about for Untapped Cities seem to find him rather than the other way around as he crisscrosses New York and other cities.  He loves sharing these stories with Untapped’s readers.

Boo Paterson

Contributing Writer

Boo Paterson is an international newspaper journalist, artist and ex-music manager.  She also used to work undercover for a professional gambler before running away to New York to try to break one of her singers there. Boo’s interest in culture is fostered by her own life-long participation in the arts scene, as a cabaret and burlesque producer, circus ringmaster, and paper-cut artist.

Julia Vitullo-Martin

Contributing Writer

Julia Vitullo-Martin is a Senior Fellow at the Regional Plan Association and Director of the Center for Urban Innovation. Her work focuses on development issues such as planning and zoning, architecture and housing, waterfront regs, environmental review, building and fire codes, and historic preservation. She has been widely published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Review of Books, New York Post, New York Daily News, Monocle, Forbes, and Fortune, as well as academic journals. She has authored and edited three books, including Breaking Away: The Future of Cities.