Hop on- Hop Off, Double Decker and Staten Island

Trip Start Sep 09, 2013
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Trip End Sep 28, 2013


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Flag of United States  , New York
Saturday, September 14, 2013

We chose NY Sights double-decker bus. It was a ticket for one day only. Others, I believe allow for two day tickets. They run several buses and a ticket holder can jump on and off and re-board the bus every 1/2 hour.I think the Red Apple line does the two day and can be purchased at the base of the  Empire State Building or Times Square. It is a great way to get around Mahattan. It stops in Central Park, Times Square,Penn Station, Grand Central Station, Empire State, Battery Park, Greenwich, Little Italy, Chinatown, and Fulton Pier and other places. I would recommend the two day if the weather is good. Some do not have interior seating.

To get to our double decker starting point (Times Square) we rode the subway. Each time we used this subway  system, we encountered different buskers. Some played classical violin or cellos, others danced or sang a Capella. On this trip we encountered a guy playing a Caja, (spanish for box), while blowing a didgeridoo, stomping one foot wrapped in lama toe nails, and I forget what his right foot was doing. He was sending out a primal message from deep beneath the city. 
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The subway is really the best way to get around, if you are traveling light . It is an extensive system and week long pass costs $31 US and includes all surface buses as well. (Buses go cross town as well and north and south. Cabs are pricey. Locals are very friendly and always helpful. Our practice is to get directions, then verify with someone else, until we are familiar with the route. 
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I  recommend the upper deck of these double decker buses (as I said some do not have a lower section inside). You are out in the wind and have a great view. As you head downtown you are moving into the older parts of the city. It is a great way to get an overview and historical orientation. The city was founded on the south shore by the Dutch as New Amsterdam.  As the city grew, boosted by greater and greater numbers of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, China and elsewhere, new neighborhoods were formed. Industries created jobs for these people in the garment district, diamond district, and port shipping areas. A vibrant mix of workers, new immigrants, mixed with literary types and mobsters. 

The buildings in the south end are now historic. Cast Iron was used as ornaments and in the structure. It was easy, once the molds were made to reproduce other buildings with similar structures and adornments. I enjoyed myself trying to capture images from atop the moving bus. Our tour guide was brought here by his mother from Columbia, and he knew all the details of each building. 

We once stopped in Little Italy under a bar with an overhead deck. The Italians were celebrating the Feast of San Gennaro, once a single day religious festival, now a week long food fest with lots of wine and beer. Mulberry street is packed with vendors selling sausages, sandwiches, and pizza.  All New Yorkers are Italian for a week, it appears. The neighborhood was crowded. We saw a group of young New Yorkers atop the balcony with festive hats. One young woman shouted that it was her fella's birthday. We shouted back " Happy Birthday" from atop the bus. Then another gal in the party, drink in hand, laughingly yelled to the entire busload of tourists " You are so ugly, I wish you were dead!":  Then she gave us all the finger! Barbara, getting into the San Gennara spirit, jumped up among the tourists,  and laughingly gave her the finger back, shouting "Right back at you , honey." The party goers cracked up, laughing. Is this a great town or what?  Forgetaboutit!
 
 We took the free ferry to Staten Island and back. Along the route we had great views of the Manhattan skyline, New Jersey skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Many of our relatives came here via Ellis Island, located next to and under the Statue of Liberty. We need to thank the French for giving Lady Liberty to us.   Enjoy the tour. 
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Comments

steve_julie
steve_julie on

Awesome city, ain't it?

Maureen Preston on

Thank you for sharing these Tom, they are amazing

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