One Long Island City resident has decided to share her love for her neighborhood and borough through a new tour company aimed at giving participants a real Queens experience.
Murray led her first tour in April as a Hunters Point bar crawl but now wants to incorporate her love for photography, walking and local architecture in areas such as Hunters Point, Court Square, Queens Plaza and Dutch Kills into future tours.
Her new tours will look to take participants throughout the western Queens neighborhood and experience it in a way locals do.
“It’s not just bars, not just food, it’s having a real Queens experience because it’s such a sweet and nice and cute area,” Murray said.
The idea for the tour company came after a friend suggested Murray get into the business and while she thought about the idea, travel guidebook company Lonely Planet named Queens as the best place to visit in the U.S. in 2015, and she knew the universe had aligned for her.
Currently, Murray is working on her brand and networking with other locals who offer tours — such as Joe DiStefano and Jeff Orlick — to create a tour model.
She added that she wants to incorporate her love for the city’s industrial architecture, sunsets off the East River and her taste for Queens-produced craft beer to create the perfect Queens experience to bring tourists back again and again.
“I think a lot of people are now coming specifically to Queens. They’re not just staying in the hotel hub in Long Island City,” Murray said. “They are actually coming to hang out in Queens.”
Although she grew up in Manhattan, Murray has been living in Long Island City for the past 17 years and said she fell in love the moment she made the move into Queens.
“I absolutely love it. I’m a New York gal, but I fell in love with New York hard when I moved into Queens,” Murray said. “Queens has so much to offer. It’s an extraordinary borough and I think it’s such an unsung hero in our city.”
At the moment — as she gets her feet wet — Murray said she is offering her tours for free as a way to get feedback and also get a better understanding of what she can expect once she starts charging for the tours.
In the future, Murray also said she hopes to get to know other Queens neighborhoods better so she can expand her tours deeper into the borough.
“I’m just really excited to see what is happening with my borough and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Murray said. “If I ever won the lottery, if I had a billion dollars I would not move back to Manhattan. I just love it here. I’m just so happy to be here.”
Murray plans to officially launch her tours by the end of July or early August and tours will take place seven days a week. For more information and updates, visit queensstomp.com or @queensstomp on Twitter.