Tony-winning lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green really got it right in the classic musical New York musical On the Town (composed by none other than Leonard Bernstein of West Side Story and classical music fame). It’s about three sailors with a limited amount of shore leave. They’ve got more than the sights of New York on mind, of course; but, somehow in between gals, they manage to see not everything, but a lot.
New York City's Best Bus Tours:
Gray Line New York
OnBoard New York Tours
As a visitor to the City, sightseeing can be daunting. With so many fabled things to see and so little time [because you’ve got tickets to a Broadway or Off Broadway show! and you want to sample as much of New York’s haute cuisine as possible], you don’t want to miss anything.
But, as Comden and Green wrote, you just have one or two days. Maybe three. And New York is a helluva town. The Bronx is up, the Battery's down; then, there’s Brooklyn and Queens – and people ride in a hole in the ground. There’re the Broadway lights and all the sights on over 20,000 streets, charming thoroughfares, and two major rivers (the Hudson and the East).
The sights are legendary and numerous. There’s Broadway, history, culture, architecture, location shoots for film and TV, and the bustling life along New York harbors. New York prides itself on being a visitor's place. The challenge is how to see it all.
Manhattan is definitely a walking city and on foot is one way to beat taxi fares reaching upward of $25 to go nowhere – IF you can find a cabbie that knows where “nowhere” is.
Of course, just to see a fraction of what there’s to see, you’d be exhausted. Now, you can beat the traffic and get places faster in our hole in the ground, the subway (when things are actually working; but you never know the adventure that awaits you when set foot down under with delays, power outages, incidents, investigations, you name it – and it’ll always happen when you’re on a tight timetable.
However, even on foot and via subway doesn’t really give you the opportunity to see all of New York’s wonders. But there’s a solution: Seeing NYC and all its wonders by bus – London-style double-decker, open top sightseeing buses with fun, friendly, knowledgeable guides who know all the tales and also where the bodies are buried.
An examination of bus tour prices, including the Hop On/Hop Off bus options, showed some very reasonable prices considering the bang you get for your buck. Group rates are available, and most offer a children’s price. The companies provide detailed maps, discounts for shopping and NYC attractions (such as Madame Tussaud’s), rain gear when needed, and offer you enough time [up to 48 hours, depending on your tour choice] to see it all – or almost all.
Some companies offer personal guided tours and tours in German, French, Italian Portuguese, and Spanish. There are dinner cruises and options for one-day excursions to Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Washington, and premium shopping outlet Woodbury Common.
Details for ticket purchase, departure sites and times, and the all-inclusive sightseeing attractions can be found at the website addresses provided.
CitySights (citysightsny.com) - In addition to their hop on/hop off tour buses, and packages that include visiting the Statue of Liberty, United Nations, the emerging World Trade Center and majestic Freedom Tower, CitySights offers an assortment of harbor cruises that travel down the Hudson River from the West Side, up the East River, and back... (read more)
Gray Line New York (newyorksightseeing.com) - One very popular option offered is the Eat and Play Card ($24.99 each adult), where you can take a bite out of Big Apple. The value factor is a plus since there’s savings on virtually everything – restaurants, hop on hop off bus tours, Broadway shows, retailers, and more... (read more)
OnBoard New York Tours (onboardnewyorktours.com) - A popular highlight of OnBoard Tours, a 2010 Concierge Choice Awards Winner, is the twice-daily, six-hour New York City See It All! Tour, described as an all-inclusive attraction package that combines a bus tour, cruise, entry tickets to the 9/11 Memorial, and short guided walks (tour will hop off when you hop off). You can book online and even reserve your seats... (read more)
The Ride (experiencetheride.com) - You’re in New York, where things are different. Even a tour. In the most theatrical city of the world, why not a theatrical tour? The Ride doesn’t believe New York is lively enough, so their goal is to make it livelier... (read more)
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