This is part of a series of interviews with inspiring travelers. Today I’m interviewing Gigi Griffis about her New York crime tour. See more about traveling with tours here.
Tell us about yourself and your travel experience.
Hey there! My name is Gigi. I’ve been traveling internationally since I was 14. My first trip was to Australia and the main goal was to see a kangaroo (check). I’ve been hooked ever since, so it makes sense that four years ago (May 2012), I decided to ditch my permanent address and take to the road full-time with my backpack, freelance writing business, and small dog. I’ve been mostly traveling in Europe since then (Belgium, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, France, Croatia, Slovenia…etc.), but am currently making my way across Canada, starting in super pretty and way underrated Ottawa.
For a living, I write books, blog posts, websites, and magazine articles. And for fun, I’m a reader, hiker, dancer, cook/foodie, and adventurer. I love trying new things, especially when it comes to food or the outdoors.
Where did you go on your tour and how long was it?
While we were in New York City this June, we took the brand-new, super-intriguing crime tour, Stories from the Dark Side: Criminals, Gangs, & Mafia Tour with Walks of New York. The tour lasted 2.5 hours and took us from lower Manhattan and the Financial District all the way up through Chinatown and into Little Italy (to a restaurant where a famous murder went down).
What tour company did you use and why?
We went with Walks of New York because I did and loved a tour with them in Italy with their sister company, Walks of Italy. We took this particular tour because I’ve never heard of anything like it. A guided tour of city crime with a former cop? Yes, please.
Note: Walks of New York and Walks of Italy now fall under the name Take Walks.
Why did you choose a tour instead of traveling independently?
We did plenty of independent exploring in NYC, but we definitely wouldn’t have been able to glean half as much about the city’s criminal history without this specific tour. Our guide was not only a retired NYC police officer, but was on the force during 9/11 and thus had interesting insights into both the day-to-day of crime in the city and the big, notorious stuff.
What did you like about the New York crime tour? What was your favorite part?
The personal stories from our guide were the best. He had interesting things to say about the media’s role in how crime is perceived, the federal vs. state criminal systems, and the characters he personally met along the way, including a notorious cop who is in prison now for assaulting a prison inmate.
Was there anything you didn’t like about the New York crime tour?
I would have loved to get some sort of email or handout afterward with information. There was so much discussed and I would have liked to read up on some of the crimes and characters afterward, but it’s tough to remember all the names unless you write them down.
>>Going to NYC? See if the New York pass is worth it.
Did you eat anything amazing on your tour?
There was no food included.
Would you recommend this tour? Would you change anything about it?
Absolutely. Especially for crime buffs, like myself. The only thing I’d change would be some sort of handout or email at the end with more info and/or recommended reading.
Do you think the New York crime tour would be good for a new traveler? Why or why not?
Absolutely. It’s really interesting stuff you likely wouldn’t learn elsewhere (especially since you get personal stories from your NYPD guide).
Bio: Gigi Griffis is a world-traveling entrepreneur and writer with a special love for inspiring stories, new places, and living in the moment. In May 2012, she sold her stuff and took to the road with a growing business and a pint-sized pooch. She’s blogs at gigigriffis.com and has authored 10 unconventional travel guides in the last two years. Check them out on Amazon here or through Gigi’s site here.
Gigi received a complementary tour but all opinions are her own.
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- New York City Unconventional Guidebook by Gigi Griffis
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