Meet Our Tour Guides
We are honored to have some of the best tour guides in New York City working with us. Each of our guides has a studied the Woolworth Building for years. Some have worked for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and others are noted historians and authors who have written extensively about the Building.
After retiring as a law librarian for the New York State Court system for over 30 years, Bob Gelber became a licensed tour guide. Bob joined the Guides Association of New York City, to learn as much as possible about New York City’s history, buildings and inhabitants. He currently is an active member of their Education Committee. Bob is also a long-time volunteer with Open House NY. He is currently working with the Director of Programming on a series of lectures for the organizations’ 900 volunteers. Every year he leads a tour of Central Park for the annual OHNY weekend. As a volunteer staff member at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bob works on surveys and special projects at both the Museum and the Cloisters. He holds an undergraduate degree in History from Pace University and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute. Bob was born and raised in Brooklyn and has lived in Manhattan for 40 years.
Ed Welter’s 30 year career in construction management has given him practical hands-on understanding on how skyscrapers are constructed. Ed joined the volunteer staff of the 9/11 Memorial shortly before its official opening 4 years ago where he is a volunteer museum educator for both the National 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Museum. A lover of history and a native New Yorker Ed studied New York history at Cooper Union under architectural historian Barry Lewis. He is now a licensed New York City tour guide.
From a young age, Lisa was interested in both history and architecture. After spending fours years on the beautiful campuses of Barnard College and Columbia University, she became hooked on New York City history and architecture. Even while working fulltime as a nurse, she made time to visit historic buildings and churches and to read more about New York City history. Now that she is retired, Lisa can participate in walking tours, museum exhibits and more visits to historic places. She is currently a docent at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Lisa is also a member of the architecture committee of the National Arts Club, where she is one of the guides who give tours to members and guests of the landmark Samuel Tilden mansion. Having worked in 90 West Street (one of Cass Gilbert’s other New York Buildings) before Battery Park City was created, Lisa finds that the evolution of downtown Manhattan, in particular, is intriguing.
Nina Mende is a licensed New York City tour guide and native New Yorker with Brooklyn roots who has been co-exploring the streets of New York with groups from all over the world since 2005. She is a proud member of the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC), one of the oldest professional guide associations in the United States where she currently serves as Vice President and Education Committee Chair. Highlights of her tour-guide career include riding with the New York Yankees in their 2009 World Series ticker tape parade, escorting the St. Louis Youth Orchestra around town, climbing to the top tower of the George Washington Bridge with fellow guides, introducing groups to history, architecture and lore of Manhattan’s downtown neighborhoods from East Village to the Financial District and now touring and exploring the wondrous lobby of the Woolworth Building!
A lifelong New Yorker from Queens, Ray brings the discernment and insight of a voice over artist and writer to his tours of the magnificent Woolworth Building Lobby, its art and its history. With a background in commercial production and digital advertising, he imparts a deep understanding of and appreciation for Cass Gilbert’s architectural masterpiece, one of NYC’s most beloved skyscrapers, and the story of its owner, Frank W. Woolworth. In addition to the Woolworth Building Lobby, Ray leads tours of Wall Street, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. He is a licensed New York City tour guide with years of experience leading educational walking tours of lower Manhattan from Battery Park City to City Hall, including the often over looked early history of New York’s oldest neighborhoods.
Anthony W. Robins
Author, historian, lecturer and tour leader, Anthony W. Robins has been guiding natives and visitors alike to the city’s wonders of steel and stone for more than twenty-five years. He has led well over a thousand walking tours of New York history and architecture, teaches the subject at New York University and Columbia, and has lectured nationally and internationally, most recently at the Sorbonne in Paris. CBS New York included one of his tours in its list of “The 5 Best Art Walks in New York.” Robins has published widely – including articles in the New York Times, Gourmet, New York Magazine, and Architectural Record – and is the author of books on the World Trade Center, the art and architecture of the subway system, and Grand Central Terminal. A veteran of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, where he served as Deputy Director of Research and Director of Survey, he is intimately familiar with the Woolworth Building, having for many years walked through its lobby on his way to work. He researched and wrote the official Landmark designation report on the building, and a separate report on its lobby, and also a guidebook to all of architect Cass Gilbert’s buildings in lower Manhattan. He also wrote the historic site marker devoted to the Woolworth Building, embedded in the sidewalk just outside its entrance.
Barbara S. Christen
Barbara S. Christen is an architectural historian, writer, and consultant who specializes in the history of Cass Gilbert’s architectural work and the history of campus and preservation planning. She has been a planning committee member for the Woolworth Building Centennial (2013), which organized more than a dozen events in Manhattan and the New York metropolitan region and was tour leader of selected events in this roster. She has published widely on the work of the Woolworth Building’s architect, including the book, Cass Gilbert, Life and Work: Architect of the Public Domain (2001), the outcome of a symposium and other events she organized as part of year-long effort to celebrate the architect’s contributions to the landscape of lower Manhattan. Several other articles and essays address different aspects of the architect’s career in Waterbury, New Haven, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. She has also served as technical advisor for the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP) Campus Heritage Discovery Project, which analyzed campus heritage projects funded by the Getty Foundation (www.campusheritage.org). At the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), she developed and led the CIC Historic Campus Architecture Project, an inventory of historic campus architecture and landscape design regarding 2100 cultural heritage sites at nearly 400 campuses of independent colleges and universities across the United States (www.cic.edu/hcap). She received her Ph.D. in art and architectural history from the City University of New York Graduate Center.