Double-decker tour buses went through the streets of Lower Manhattan on Monday, but some are questioning whether it is too soon after Sandy to give tourists scenic rides of the area. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
My Monday tour of Lower Manhattan on board a City Sights New York Double Decker bus started out in a thoughtful way, with the guide making a pledge over scratchy earphones.
"I’m dedicating my tours over these next few days, including the tips I receive, to those people who are trying to survive the effects of the storm," said the guide.
On the first leg of the hop-on, hop-off tour, she pointed out a Salvation Army, something I’m guessing wasn't a highlight pre-Sandy.
Along the way, our bus shared the road with recovery vehicles, giving us a window seat to a city on the rebound. It also begged the question, are we simply getting in the way?
As the narrow streets of Manhattan converged below Wall Street, that’s when the focus became clear. This was turning into what some might call a "disaster tour," with a congested convoy of buses giving tourists an eyeful.
On Water Street, the view from the city sightseeing bus was the dumpsters that are collecting debris from Sandy.
Later in the day, on my second loop around, things came to a complete standstill. I could count four double-decker buses in this same corridor and we are just not going anywhere.
"Too many traffic," a City Sights Ticket Agent told me.
When I asked the agent if it was smart to have all the buses in a neighborhood where relief work was going on, he said, "I have no answer."
For better or worse, for visitors, taking a sightseeing bus can be a way to cover a lot of territory.
"We’re just seeing now what the storm left. And it’s really sad," said a tourist.
I reached out to the operators of the double-decker buses but received no comment about the resumption of service in Lower Manhattan.