Happy Birthday New York Local Tours!

Its official! New York Local Tours has turned one today! And what a year it has been. Thank you to all of our guests who gave us such wonderful feedback on TripAdvisor and Yelp! Thank you to all of our friends, old and new, for all their contributions to make New York Local Tours so great. Thank you to Megan Fu and the New York Metro for the wonderful article Megan wrote about us. Thank you to everyone who helped us make our first year so special; we cannot wait to see what 2016 will bring!

As it is our anniversary, I think it’s only appropriate to get a little sentimental and reminisce. There were so many special encounters over the past year that I would love to share with people, but I’ll take one of my favorite stories and leave the rest for another time.

We were down at Coney Island, doing our thing, and we had just hit the point in the tour where we talk about incubator babies. Just to give everyone a little background knowledge, Dr. Martin Couney had proposed to use incubators in order to keep premature infants alive. Problem is, no hospital would believe him that it would work, and they all turned him away thinking that his ideas were bunk. So, Couney was approached by Luna Park, one of the old amusement parks down on Coney Island, and had a proposal for him. The park would allow him to create his incubators, help him to save premature children and conduct his research. The local hospital would bring him the babies, and Dr. Couney would then do his best to ensure they survived. In return, Luna Park wanted to turn the babies into a sideshow and charge $.25 per person to look at the premature babies in the incubators. It was so popular, that Couney opened another Incubator sideshow across the street at Dreamland, Luna Park’s rival. He ended up saving thousands of babies, and proving that his theories worked.


Outside the exhibit itself

It’s a great story, and most people are completely astonished that babies were put on display like that. Anyway, I was talking about Dr. Couney, when a random man came up to the group and asked if we were talking about premature babies. Normally, this is a red flag. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon to get harassed on the street by random people who may want to try and argue with me. So, when I answered “…yeah…” I half expected some smart ass, stupid remark that would derail the tour. Instead, he told the group the story of his grandmother, who was one of the babies in Dr. Couney’s incubators on Coney Island, and how her life was saved because of the work he had done. The Coney Island incubator sideshows saved his entire existence, a fact that his family is very proud of and still talks about to this day. It was so well timed that people in the group thought I had paid this random guy to come over and talk to us. I love stuff like this, getting to hear personal stories and learn how the history we are exploring still touches people’s lives today. Also, the guy made me look like a total rock star. So, thanks buddy, wherever you are.

dr couney

Grandma, perhaps?

Here’s to another year and what adventures may come! We look forward to seeing you soon, and hopefully we can share more stories and continue to grow together. And remember, your stories had better make me look good. That’s important…


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