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Posted: Feb 3, 2017 | 10:24 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Santa Claus, the New York City Tour  Covered in the New York Times 

My NYC's Santa Claus tour was covered in the New York Times!


photo by Sharon Lowenheim

Here is the text of the article about my Santa the NYC Tour:

Santa's a New Yorker, You Got a Problem With That?

By Corey Kilgannon (c) The New York Times

If a guy on Broadway in wraparound shades and a Santa hat insisted to you that Santa is really a New Yorker, you might slip him a buck and make a quick escape to your office party.

But on Tuesday, this man, Jared Goldstein, 49, was surrounded by 10 people who had shown up to take a walking tour he runs every December called “Santa Claus: The N.Y.C. Tour,” which makes this very claim.

Mr. Goldstein was beginning the tour at what he called Santa’s birthplace in New York City. So he met the group in front of a Duane Reade drugstore on Broadway near Rector Street in downtown Manhattan.

“We’re all here because we love the jolly man,” Mr. Goldstein said.

Mr. Goldstein is Jewish and did not grow up celebrating Christmas. After deciding that the rich history of Santa in New York was being unforgivably ignored, he began the tours in 2010, which he called the 200th anniversary of Santa’s birthday.

This was Dec. 6, 1810, when the first dinner of the St. Nicholas Society was held in the Macomb Mansion on lower Broadway, he said. A tall office building now stands there, at 39 Broadway, with a Duane Reade on the ground floor.

Mr. Goldstein, who usually runs his Santa tours by appointment, had made this one a public tour. He said he was accepting donations as payment, in the spirit of Santa. He held out a Christmas stocking and asked his tour followers for “cookies for Santa.”

Mr. Goldstein, whose Santa hat was embroidered with an image of the Brooklyn Bridge, passed out some fake reindeer antlers for tour-goers to wear.

He pointed out a plaque about the Macomb Mansion next to the entrance to the Duane Reade and led the group into the store to see “the shrine,” which turned out to be a display rack of packaged Santa hats and costumes near the checkout counter.

Mr. Goldstein said the last time he led a group in the store, they were kicked out because “they were not expecting the ‘shrine to Santa Claus’” tour.

This time too, staff members and customers stared as the group gathered around the “shrine” rack.

“We’re in the birthplace of Santa Claus,” said Mr. Goldstein, who estimated that 95 percent of our current version of Santa originated in New York City.

The legend of Sinterklaas was brought over by Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam colony in the 1600s, he said, and the figure was developed over centuries, partly by commercial interests, media portrayals and New Yorkers adopting the St. Nicholas figure to help rein in a once-raucous holiday and make it into a celebration characterized by domestic tranquillity.

The modern image of Santa as the jolly, plump, pipe-smoking fellow was fleshed out by popular photos and written tributes, including Washington Irving’s 1809 account of the history of old New York, said Mr. Goldstein, who lives in the East Village.

He grew up in Old Westbury, on Long Island, and graduated from Columbia University before working at an array of jobs and doing community organizing. He began leading tours 11 years ago.

He led the group on Tuesday across Broadway and scolded an aggressive livery cabdriver: “Hey, we’re walking here!”

The group stopped into Federal Hall on Wall Street, which replaced the old Federal Hall where John Pintard founded the New-York Historical Society.

Mr. Pintard, Mr. Goldstein said, was upset by the rowdy and boozy celebrations held around Christmas by farm hands indulging in caroling sessions. Seeking a calming figure, Mr. Pintard proposed St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York City.

Then Mr. Goldstein led the group to St. Peter’s Church, not far from 1 World Trade Center, and stopped into the antechamber to discuss the 1806 Christmas Riots, set off by a gang attacking Irish Catholic worshipers leaving the church after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

“Do you mind if we warm up here?” Mr. Goldstein asked the Rev. Donald Fussner, a priest from the church who had approached the group.

“You can do anything you like,” Father Fussner said cheerily. “This is America.”

The group proceeded to City Hall Park, where Mr. Goldstein pointed out buildings along what was once known as Newspaper Row to prompt a discussion of the publication of Santa-related material, such as images by the illustrators Thomas Nast and Norman Rockwell, and Clement Clarke Moore’s famous “A Visit From St. Nicholas” poem.

Mr. Goldstein led the group to Broadway and Chambers Street to view the building once occupied by The New York Sun newspaper, which published the celebrated editorial that said, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

"So New York has given Santa Claus to America, and hardly anybody knows it,” said Mr. Goldstein, who noted that families have always chosen to celebrate Christmas and Santa in their own way. “And maybe it should stay that way.”

EMAIL character@nytimes.com

The Particulars

Name Jared Goldstein

Age 49

Who he is A guide who leads tours making the case that Santa Claus is really a New Yorker.

Where he’s from The East Village

Telling detail He likes to start his Santa tours in front of a building in Lower Manhattan where the St. Nicholas Society held its first dinner.

Full Story
Posted: Feb 3, 2017 | 10:05 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Email from a happy mother about our Ellis Island Tour

"Hi Jared !

Thank you so much for the wonderfull experience we had last Friday !
The tour was amazing and the girls had a meaningful and very helpful experience at Ellis Island…"

Full Story
Posted: Jan 10, 2017 | 7:31 PM
by Jared Goldstein

From a Mom About Last Year's Tour

Last year, I led a high school choir around town and gave some tours.  What a wonderful group!  

A mother wrote to me almost a year later:

"[My daughter] and I were just looking over our NY pictures last night. We really enjoyed our time. You were the best!"

That means so much to me.
Full Story
Posted: Dec 27, 2016 | 9:35 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Kind email from a Happy Mother

"When I asked the girls what their favorite part of the trip was, they ALL said "the tour!"  They really liked that you made references to things that they were familiar with. We had an awesome trip--great weather, incredible shows and awesome food. [Mother] and the girls were very happy with your suggestion of Keen's for lunch--it was really good. If someone is looking for a recommendation for a restaurant after the theater, we ate at Da Rosina's Italian restaurant on 31st St., and it was great! Reasonable prices for NY, and the food was wonderful. 

Thanks again for a great tour!"

December 2016

I am so proud that my tour was the best part of their trip to New York City!

This was a very memorable tour for me, too.  

I knew it was going to go well, when, on a cold autumn day, the group of mothers and daughters all laid down for a fun picture at the Imagine Mosaic in Central Park's Strawberry Fields!  

We then appreciated the Christmas Holiday in midtown New York, visiting a couple of hotel lobbies' Christmas trees, Trump Tower and Ivanka's favorite Starbucks, the Tiffany Diamond, and the department stores' windows, especially Bergdoff Goodman's.  There was so much wonderment!  

The visit culminated at the renovated New York Public Library's Reading Room.  The girls were smelling the smell of the old books, and were posing in the phone booths.  We had a great experience looking at old city street maps in the Map Room, and we got to see the original Winnie the Pooh dolls.  

I will always remember this group when I visit the New York Public Library and Strawberry Fields.
Full Story
Posted: Dec 15, 2016 | 12:50 AM
by Jared Goldstein

An invite to Melbourne!  An email from a New York City tour guest about their private NYC tour

"Hi Jared
Many thanks for a great and informative tour today. Family really enjoyed it. If you come to Melbourne let me know. Stay safe and you and your family have a great festive season. Cheers . T-----

We had a wonderful day with three generations in a family seeing:
the New York Public Library;
Grand Central Terminal;
drinking some good New York Coffee (very important for Australians);
the World Trade Center and the National 9/11 Memorial;
Staten Island Ferry for a Statue of Liberty view;
and Greenwich Village.

Full Story
Posted: Dec 14, 2016 | 12:03 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Chocolates and a kind note from a group Tour Operator

The holiday season is a great time to reflect on the year and reconnect with those who support us.

A valued Tour Operator from the western United States sent me chocolates, and these meaningful words:

"Thank you so much for sharing New York with our guests.  You are wonderful and great to work with."

Much Love,

[Tour Operator]

Full Story
Posted: Dec 14, 2016 | 11:58 AM
by Jared Goldstein

Kudos for my Santa Claus: the NYC Tour

"What a fun tour!"

On December 14th 2016 I led a Santa: the NYC Tour, which is based on historic facts about New York City's impact on Santa Claus, who was born here, transforming him from the Dutch St. Nicholas, Sinter Klaas.  We visit his birthplace, where he was seen, and where he was described in literature and illustration.  This was a walking tour of Lower Manhattan for a group of ten, but this tour can use a vehicle.
Full Story
Posted: Nov 27, 2016 | 6:50 PM
by Jared Goldstein

From a teacher about leading her students around NYC

"Thank you so much to Jared, the best NY tour guide! Knowledgable, interesting & funny, the pupils from [our school] absolutely loved him. He made the trip unforgettable & we are extremely grateful for everything that he did for us!" 

We experienced Central Park, Times Square, Subways, MTA buses, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street, the Financial District, Federal Hall, the World Trade Center and its National 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, St Patrick's Cathedral, Holiday Window Displays, Trump Tower, Grand Central Terminal, and the Plaza Hotel.
Full Story
Posted: Nov 17, 2016 | 3:29 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Another thank you message from a happy Tour Operator

Thanks for the great guidance yesterday. It is really nice to hear our people mentioning how much they enjoyed the tour yesterday, warms my heart!

It means so much to me when Tour Operators share their guests' responses to my NYC step-on tours.  We combined a NYC 
bus tour with a meaningful walking tour of the World Trade Center's 9/11 Memorial and the dramatic new architecture of the redevelopment where Ground Zero was.
Full Story
Posted: Nov 15, 2016 | 4:39 PM
by Jared Goldstein

A rave message from a Tour Operator

It is so wonderful to hear from Tour Operators about my step on tours from their guests, but this client was aboard the bus, too!

"everyone loved you of course. Great information - I really enjoyed listening to you from the back of the bus ... "Crooklyn" - loved it! :-)  "

We saw Queens, Brooklyn (whose residents used to call it 'Crooklyn'), Manhattan, especially the World Trade Center and its 9/11 Memorial.
Full Story


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