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Hi, I'm Joyce


“As a Native New Yorker, I’ve had a life-long love affair with New York. It began with exhilarating but terrifying trips to the original Pennsylvania Station, where I would look up to what seemed to be a miles-away ceiling of soaring metal arches and buttresses (I was very little and recall birds flying up there).


I’d hold tightly to my mother’s hand while surrounded by a cacophony of sound from the hordes of people rushing by to their trains, train wheels screeching around the curves of tracks, Redcap porters pushing trolleys piled high with luggage shouting for people to “make way”; and by a medley of smells — good ones emanating from the hotdog sellers’ carts, the perfume of passing ladies, and foreign ones like metallic dust.


My affair progressed the year I entered first grade, and from then on, I looked forward to yearly class trips to the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty (can you imagine the view from Lady Liberty’s crown for a 6-year-old?). So once my theatrical career began, I was a natural “go-to” person for other cast members needing info on getting around the city. And of course, when their families came to town to see them in the show, I was the one requested to escort the relatives around New York. I loved seeing my city through new eyes, every time.

It was on my first trip to Europe, at around age 22, that I became all too aware of the joys, needs, and exasperations of a traveler, particularly one in a foreign locale. Seeing your luggage left behind, stowed in the un-hooked car of the train, while you stood helplessly watching from the moving section which was quickly headed towards Vienna, teaches you to be prepared.

Also, like most native New Yorkers, I’ve amassed a collection of stories. Like the one about the first big NYC blackout, a then-demure college girl ending up spending the night sitting tucked beneath a blanket with about four other strangers in an East Village apartment stuffed with other commuters who couldn’t get off the Isle of Manhattan (I was from Queens), was only part of the tale. The walk across town from the Fashion Institute of Technology (we found our way out of the building by means of the headlights of a car that a brilliant NYC driver had thought to turn sideways pointing towards the building’s wall of windows) was equally unique. The contents of wire trash cans were set ablaze everywhere, as understudies for street lights. Obvious vagrants and homeless types stood center stage at major intersections conducting serious traffic, with the aplomb and authority of foreign dignitaries — and all the drivers were obeying with respect!


New York is my home, and I love it. All the other members of the Unique NY Tours staff (including Cybèle, from France, who guides our French and Spanish tours) and I feel there is no greater pleasure than sharing it. Please join us in our New York.”
Joyce Griffen (Owner)