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.

Anthony W. Robins
TonyRobins-photo-cropped-150x150Author, 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
04_Barbara_photo_Ww-tour-bio-page-150x150Barbara 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.

Bob Gelber
Bob-Gelber-cropped-150x150After 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.

Nina Mende
Nina Mende Bio PicNina 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!

Catherine M. Perebinossoff
Perebinossoff-resized-150x150An architectural historian, Catherine M. Perebinossoff has an undergraduate degree in History, focusing on the Social and Intellectual History of The United States. Her emphasis is on Architecture, Culture, City and Urban Planning, including Popular Culture, as well as Finance and Business. Growing up partly in France, she has been providing tours and events, in French and English, for The American Institute of Architects, (AIA), for private clubs, e.g., The Princeton Club, as well as for universities, New York University, for luxury concierge companies, for companies, e.g., Goldman Sachs, Booz Allen, and for top-tier hotels, including boutique hotels. Niche tours are her speciality. Some of her niche tours are: The High Line, including Eisenhower, The Titanic and France, Mansions, including Mansions-in-the-Sky, Marilyn Monroe’s New York, The Diamond District, and My Business-Breaks-During-Meetings Tours, specifically designed for business people. Catherine translated The Lady from Maxim’s / La Dame de chez Maxim by George Feydeau, published by Samuel French, Inc., the largest publisher of plays and musicals, and produced Off-Off Broadway. A graduate of La Sorbonne, New York University, and Bernard M. Baruch College, Catherine has worked, as an executive, for an art foundation, The American Federation of Arts, as well as in the financial, e.g., Citibank, and the information, e.g., I.D.E.A., and Lexis / Nexis, industries. Find out more information about the other NYC Tours led by Catherine here.

Ed Welter
Eds-Guide-Photo-cropped1-150x150Ed 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 NYC tour guide and has led many tours through the 9/11 Memorial and throughout lower Manhattan.

Lisa Renz
Lisa-150x150Lisa Renz is a preservationist and architectural historian specializing in nineteenth and early twentieth century American architecture. Lisa holds a BA in Architectural History and Theory from Columbia University and an MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. Lisa has been researching the Woolworth Building primarily through extensive study of the physical building itself and the archives of Woolworth architect Cass Gilbert for the past two years through the New York Historical Society. Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, Lisa has lived in New York City since 2001. Major areas of study over the past twelve years have focused primarily on The Frick Collection, Louis Sullivan (with particular focus on the later Midwestern banks), demolition by neglect of NYC Landmarks, and the Woolworth Building. Lisa works full-time for a General Contractor as their Historic Preservationist and Project/Site Manager and is currently working on the restoration of Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights.