Jim Dykes – New York City Tours
Longtime New York step-on guide Jim Dykes says NYC has the option of many “Specialty” themed tours: Jim’s Rich & Famous tour, Greenwich Village Tour, Harlem History, World Trade Center 9/11, Immigrant-theme tours, TV & Movie location tours and more.
When Dykes brings people to the World Trade Center, he tells groups about his memories of the Twin Towers, for example taking 2 groups to the top on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2001. “I lost friends there… I didn’t know the attorneys and stockbrokers who died but I knew the ticket-takers, the elevator operators and the restaurant people such as my friends Christina, Jay, Robert and Gloria. My stories are first-hand and personal.”
Jim Dykes says “I’ve been doing step-on and specialty tours since way back when New York was considered dirty and dangerous. I love the history of modern New York because I lived thru much of it. Many NYC tourguides today with flashy websites don’t have my experience and don’t know the history of New York because they weren’t born yet. Also many guides bore groups to death with extreme political comments about Repubicans and Democrats, etc. I avoid politics and speak about Trump as one of the unique characters who helped to shape modern New York.”
Dykes’ says his most popular Specialty Tour is the Rich & Famous, seeing where the celebs live and the crazy prices they pay, including all the Trump buildings. “I remember when Trump Tower was built on the site of Bonwit-Teller, my Grandma’s favorite department store. I met Donald Trump when we were both guests on Joan Rivers’ local talk show. Joan nicknamed me ‘New York’s Celebrity Tourguide’. We always had fun talking and gossiping about the celebrities’ insane apartment prices! After she died, Joan’s 3-floor apartment sold for $30 million!”
Dykes did a Specialty Rich & Famous Tour about the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis. “A lawyer contacted me after seeing my website (www.JimDykesNYC.com) and said his wife was turning 40 and was obsessed with Jackie O. He wanted to know if I could do a specialty tour for her and her birthday party guests. So I chartered a special bus and took the group all over town! We visited Jackie’s childhood home on Park Avenue, we went by her church and schools and all over town. I took the entire group into the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria where Jackie was crowned Debutante of the Year in 1948.”
Dykes says that Jackie’s 15-room penthouse at 1040 Fifth Avenue where she died is still a favorite to drive by and is a real lesson in NYC real estate. “When she bought the apartment in the limestone tower in 1964, she paid $286,000. After she died there in 1994, her kids sold it for $9.7 million. Recently, the penthouse sold again for $32million! The huge price increase wasn’t necessarily because it was Jackie’s place, it was because that’s how much a 15-room penthouse on Central Park goes for these days.”