Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing brief profiles about our wonderful and talented team at Turnstile Tours & Studio. First up is our Education Manager Carinn Candelaria, who joined Turnstile in 2022.
Carinn, what is your role at Turnstile?
I’m Turnstile’s Education Manager responsible for designing curriculum and leading educational programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Prospect Park. I am also a tour guide, and I lead public tours at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Essex Market, and our Food Cart Tours of Midtown and the Financial District (so, almost all of them!)
How did you come to work at Turnstile?
After years of working at hectic tourist hotspots (including the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Radio City Music Hall), I was looking for an organization that celebrated NYC treasures beyond Times Square. With Turnstile, I get to work in close partnership with sites that hold meaning for myself and the local community. I also have the privilege of passing on the story of these significant spaces to international visitors just passing through, and well as lifelong residents.
What is an experience from your life that informs your work as a tour guide?
I’m originally from Oakland, California, and I was raised visiting the Redwoods, which instilled in me an appreciation for the preachings of naturalists. In school, I studied methods of contemplation and practiced this contemplation in various landscapes of the Hudson Valley. I take these contemplative teachings with me as I guide guests through Brooklyn’s last forest and transformed military and industrial sites.
What is a memorable experience you have had leading a tour?
An unforgettable experience for me was a private tour of Prospect Park which celebrated a guest’s recent engagement. The day before, she had been proposed to beside the Prospect Park Boathouse (♥♥♥). Her family and in-laws-to-be flew in to surprise the couple with this tour to commemorate the moment. The giddiness of the group was magnetic, and I had the opportunity to share every Prospect Park love story I knew, and add this guest’s own memory to my repertoire.
What is something interesting you have learned from researching or studying for tours?
While researching Prospect Park, I realized I’d spent my whole childhood traversing one of Frederick Law Olmsted’s west coast landscapes. Out my bedroom window, blocking my view of the Golden Gate Bridge, were the palm trees of Mountain View Cemetery, which Olmsted designed only months before returning to Brooklyn to reunite with Calvert Vaux on their masterpiece: Prospect Park.
Tell us one of your favorite spots in New York City.
Although I do believe a bicycle is the best way to get around NYC, the ferry comes in a close second. Cruising down the East River at sunset, looking up at the underbelly of the Brooklyn Bridge, I am overjoyed to escape the grid system. The waterways are an excellent way to connect to the roots of this city, which owes much of its prominence to the working waterfront.
Do you have a favorite piece of art that captures New York for you?
A favorite NYC artwork of mine is Phillip Glass’s Mad Rush, which he composed in 1978 on the organ of the cathedral of St. John the Divine for the arrival of the Dalai Lama. The song keeps me in time with the excitement of the city.