Jeff Goodman is a native New Yorker and a real estate agent. He once crossed paths with a tour guide and, recognizing the potential, began organizing his own walking tours of neighborhoods throughout the city. A few years later, he took the tour experience to the airwaves in the form of a live radio show, which he now releases as a taped podcast. Goodman spoke with Straus News about his overlapping enterprises.
How did this all begin?
Six years ago, I was at a networking event. One of the people I met was a tour guide, Joyce Gold. She told me that aside from giving tours to the public, she also gave private tours for companies that wanted to offer a tour of the neighborhood they were located in to select groups of people. After I met Joyce, I thought a great branding idea for a real estate agent would be to bring New York’s great neighborhoods, and their history, to life ... focusing on neighborhood walking tours. So, I created a monthly program where I would host walking tours and hire an expert to lead them.
And how did you end up on the radio?
About a year ago, I was a guest on Noreen Sumpter’s radio show on www.talkradio.nyc. Noreen had become a regular on my tours, she really appreciated how I incorporated my love of New York and the history, with an event series to promote my business. When I walked into the studio that night, I didn’t realize it, but the station owner, [Sam ADD LAST NAME], was already in my network. The next day he called, said he thought I had a good voice for radio, that he had an open slot on Tuesday evenings and invited me to consider doing a weekly show. He suggested that I make it about New York neighborhoods and other things that make the city a great place to be, instead of a radio show about real estate, as other people in the business do. I accepted, and the radio show ‒ ‘Rediscovering New York’ ‒ was born.
It started out as live radio each week, but part of the plan was to have it available as a podcast. The radio shows are live each week, Tuesdays at 7 p.m., and podcasted about a day afterwards.
How does the real estate aspect play into the walking tours?
Agents help people buy and sell property. In a larger sense though, we are part of the process that starts people on the journey of creating a life and lifestyle in a particular neighborhood. There is so much content for an event series like this that brings New York’s great neighborhoods to life.
As part of the tour experience I host a post-tour social gathering at a local bar or restaurant. I have a few sponsors who buy snacks for my attendees. I get to have face time with my guests because I can speak with them, which I can’t obviously do on the tour.
People who engage real estate agents, especially buyers, are very happy when their agent knows a lot about the place they are interested in, and appreciate that their agent is passionate, in addition to being knowledgeable about the neighborhood.
What makes these experiences unique?
What makes it so special is that I get to share my passion for New York with people. It’s difficult to relate the feeling of satisfaction I have both at the end of a live radio show, when I sign off with “Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next time”, or end my walking tours with “Thank you to the amazing Joyce Gold!” to the applause of my attendees. It’s kind of like I just showed visitors my beautiful garden, my beautiful home.
How do you go about choosing the neighborhoods?
I pick neighborhoods that I think people will be interested in. A lot of them are neighborhoods where I work in my real estate business, but not exclusively.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood?
They are all my favorites, since they are about New York. But there have been a few special experiences, where I have discovered something wonderful about New York that I hadn’t already seen. One was Lower Washington Heights, and Audubon Terrace. I had never been in the Hispanic Society and I was mesmerized by the experience.
What sort of feedback do you get?
People tell me how surprised they were to see or learn things about a neighborhood they did not know about; or how much a neighborhood had changed since they were there last; and also, that they had never really explored the neighborhood their immigrant ancestors lived in, and how that neighborhood had changed since their grandparents told them what it was like when they lived there. This happened a lot on the Lower East Side and Little Italy tour I hosted. Coincidentally, I had different sets of great grandparents who lived in both after they arrived in New York.
What are some of the challenges you face?
This does come with a unique challenge: when I am introduced to others through the programming I provide, sometimes people say something like, “Jeff is a great real estate agent who hosts wonderful walking tours (or podcasts),” and some say “Jeff hosts these great walking tours (or these great podcasts),” but don’t mention that I’m in real estate. Then I have to step in and remind them that my programming is part of my real estate business.
But, the bottom line is that both the tours and radio/podcast programs brand me as a multi-neighborhood expert, as someone who loves New York, is passionate about living here, and who loves sharing the city with others.
Interview has been edited for clarity and space. For information about neighborhood walking tours, Jeff Goodman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.