GANYC To Honor Sean McKenna With Lifetime Achievement Award
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Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) Announces Sean McKenna as Lifetime Achievement Honoree at 6th-Annual GANYC Apple Awards

NEW YORK, Monday January 27 —  The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC)  is proud to announce that Sean McKenna, AIDS activist and long-term survivor, will be the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree at the 6th Annual GANYC Apple Awards on March 2, 2020 at the SVA Theater. The GANYC Apple Awards celebrate those who make New York City great. Over a dozen awards are given out each year to individuals & organizations from across our five boroughs.

In particular, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to improving our city and our experience as tour guides. McKenna's work, and the stories he tells through his activism, are an important part of the NYC narrative that we seek to honor.

Sean McKenna is a longtime LGBTQ/AIDS activist who works on behalf of survivors like himself. His work has been primarily focused on the physical and emotional needs of long-term survivors (HIV+ people diagnosed 1996 and earlier — those who didn’t benefit from preventative breakthroughs such as PrEP), especially those who currently struggle to make ends meet due health issues brought on or exacerbated by their HIV+ diagnosis.

His achievements include helping staffers revive the Buddy Program at New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis. The program pairs long-term HIV/AIDS survivors with buddies who provide practical and emotional support. The program, originally launched in 1982, provided companionship and assistance to those dying from AIDS. Deemed no longer necessary, the program’s funding was eliminated from the Ryan White Care Act by Congress and it ended in 2005. Due to McKenna's activism, the Gay Men's Health Crisis announced the program's return on June 5, 2015, in commemoration of National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivor Awareness Day.

Sean McKenna has also been profiled in the 2013 book 'The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience', was a 2015 “POZ 100” Honoree, and 2016 “Our Most Amazing HIV-Positive People” in HIV Plus Magazine.

McKenna has said "Many long term survivors and their specific needs were forgotten about while the gay community fought for marriage rights…while [we face] very real health, mental health and isolation issues. I thought the Buddy Program could help us out of our isolation by pairing people and getting long term survivors out of the dark and back into the light.” He advocates for "the LGBT community [to] embrace the long-term survivor community and talk about us openly as an issue to be dealt with…That our needs become as important as trans issues and PrEP.”

Sean McKenna has been inspired to give, and continues to inspire a new generation to not forget their recent history and ones who lost the battle long ago. New York, and GANYC, are grateful for his work and so we bestow this honor.

The ceremony on March 2 will be hosted by Tom Meyers and Greg Young from the award-winning podcast, 'The Bowery Boys'.

Previous winners of GANYC's Lifetime Achievement Award include Drama Book Shop owner Rozanne Seelen, "Mr. Apollo" Billy Mitchell, cabaret impresario Steve Ross, Harlem jazz legend Marjorie Eliot, and artist James Turrell.

Tickets are now on sale. All attending members of the press will receive a complimentary press pass. Contact our Awards Committee to reserve your pass.
We are also excited to announce the nominees in all major categories for this year's Awards! Nominees are submitted by the entire membership of GANYC, who will also vote on the final winners.
Our nominees are:

 Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Culture
Black Gotham Experience
Bronx Documentary Center
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center
Poetry Society of NYC

Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Tourism
Luna Park
For leading the fight for tour guides and their value on Liberty & Ellis Islands-- Michael Morgenthal
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
Waterfront Alliance

Outstanding Achievement in Support of NYC Preservation
Bronx River Alliance
East Harlem Preservation, Inc.
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
NYC Trans Oral History Project

Outstanding NYC Website
6 Sq. Ft.
Crain's New York
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

Outstanding Achievement in NYC Photography
Marc A. Hermann, Two “baaaaad boys” that wandered onto the N line tracks

Nathan Kensinger, Revere Sugar Refinery, Red Hook

Alex Rivera,, Streets of New York, Yankee Stadium

Russ Rowland, Night Blooms

Outstanding Achievement in NYC Radio Program or Podcast (Audio/Spoken Word)
David Leopold & Katherine Eastman, Hirschfeld Century Podcast, Al Hirschfeld Foundation,
Ep 24, The Algonquin Round Table

Dean Karayanis, The History Author Show

History Goes Bump, It’s a Haunted Gay Life

Stuff You Missed in History Class, Fanny Brice Part 1 & 2

Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing (Fiction)
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
The Parting Glass by Gina Marie Guadagnino
The Pearl Dagger (An Art Deco Mystery) by L.A. Chandlar
Red at The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing (Non-Fiction)
111 Places in the Bronx That You Must Not Miss by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick
111 Rooftops in New York That You Must Not Miss by Leslie Adatto
BE NY Family by Patrick Van Rosendaal
South Bronx Battles: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Renewal by Carolyn McLaughlin

Outstanding Achievement in Essay/Article/Series Writing
For New York Magazine: I Love Tourism: Why the City is Better When It’s Full of Annoying Visitors by Justin Davidson

For the New York Post: The Encouraging Travel Trend That’s on the Rise by Marie Haaland

For the New York Times: Everyone’s Welcome at the Statue of Liberty Except Tour Guides by Corey Kilgannon

For the Waterfront Alliance: NYC History in 10 Boats by Andrew Gustafson

Outstanding Achievement in NYC Food
Bamonte’s 120 years
Great seafood for over 100 years, Grand Central Oyster Bar
For changing with the times when it matters, Keens
Upcoming 10th anniversary, Little Eva’s, Governors Island (Kevin Moore of Red Hook, owner)

Outstanding NYC Museum Exhibitions
For Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art, the American Folk Art Museum
For Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, the Brooklyn Museum
For Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
For The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory and Belonging, the Museum of Chinese in America

In addition to these categories, GANYC will also be issuing our Guiding Spirit Award to honor Joe Svehlak, a member who has donated so many wonderful fam tours, and been generous with his time and knowledge, to our membership.
To learn more about the GANYC Apple Awards, visit

ABOUT GANYC: The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) is New York City’s professional tour guides association. Founded in 1974 by licensed guides for licensed guides, GANYC is one of the oldest and most active tour-guide associations in America. All GANYC members are licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. For more information about GANYC, please visit
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