HOHO buses - a local's point of view

Old Jul 13th, 2011, 08:48 AM
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HOHO buses - a local's point of view

I just posted a really good article from the Brooklyn Rail by David Kim on my blog. It gives the good, the bad, and the ugly of the experience from both a visitor and a local's perspective.

Enjoy
http://thestarryeye.typepad.com/expl...t-of-view.html
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 09:04 AM
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From a native'spoint of view I don't get it. Sitting on the top of a bus is he antithesis of the New York experience - which is to use your feet toexplore the actual city. Not just watch the outside of buildings wander by (in heat or rain - or efinitely traffic).

Unless someone has a significant mobiity problem IMHO just a wste of money. (And I got sucked into doing one on my first trip to London - and that's exactly what it was - a waste of time and money.)
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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did you read the article?
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 09:25 AM
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A few weeks ago, friends of mine (one a student of architecture) visited NYC for three days. They grew up in the suburbs, but moved away more than 30 years ago and decided to celebrate a special anniversary in New York. I was less than enthusiastic about their decision to ride the HOHO bus, but figured they could afford the purchase and knew their own interests better than I did.

They purchased 48-hour tickets for the Grayline HOHO bus. They had a great time and felt that all of their guides were wonderful and offered great, interesting information, including NOT to use the HOHO bus as transportation. (According to reports, not every guide is as good as their experience.) They rode full loops of the bus routes with no hopping on and off. When they wanted to actually get somewhere, they rode the subway, sharing a pay-as-you-go MetroCard, and expressed enthusiasm for NYC's comprehensive public transit system.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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Sue, great article, thanks for posting the link!
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 11:13 AM
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The Brooklyn Rail is an aloof periodical. Where else would you find references to Homer and Montaigne in a first person account of the HOHO buses.

He is saying do not be so dismissive of the buses even if you get a terrible guide. But for years I watched these buses pass near where I work and live and have seen the frozen faces of tourist staring down as if they had replaced the riders with Madame Tussauds wax figures. But nor should you blame the tourists for what you could be missing.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Actually I thought it was a positive article. What did I miss?
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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The writer stated that the tour guides ranged from very good to "piss-poor" and that the price is a bit expensive.

Brooklyn Rail is a haughty newspaper that wants to be the arbiter of culture in Brooklyn. That was why I note the writer's reference to Homer and Montaigne.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 12:52 PM
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I rode the equivalent in Savannah yesterday. Actually, I rode Savannah's FREE bus, the DOT bus. I'd taken the HOHO paid versions in the past.

It was an interesting experience. I doubt very seriously that Savannah natives would ever use the bus for transportation options. The route was not created for that purpose.

Yet riding the DOT bus for one continuous loop gives a nice overview of the city and helps a tourist get their bearings. I learned that one can only do one loop and then must get off - but can hop on and off as much as possible throughout the day.

I agree the article was interesting and mostly positive. There are some who have never seen the value in a HOHO bus route and I'm certain who never will. That's fine. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

I think what most natives have forgotten or have never realized is that tourists don't have a holistic view of the city - nor should they. Yet, some natives take a condesending attitude towards tourists for NOT having the prior knowledge that a native has - because they live there

After a certain point it becomes entertaining to read their dismissive, snarky comments. I'm fully convinced they have no idea how ridiculous they sound.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 01:17 PM
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I have been to Atlanta probably more than some posters have been to NY, but I would never presume to know more about the city than the people that lived there. Even if I dog sat. (Insert winky face.)
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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I've actually taken HoHo buses in other cities (not NY, and certainly not San Francisco, but Barcelona, Madrid and one or two others) and I like them for what they are. They give you a chance to get the lay of the land, period. I don't use them for basic transportation, nor do I care at all about the "commentary", which I can read in any tour guide. The one reason I wouldn't take one in NY is the traffic -- I just think you'd get nowhere fast.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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"They give you a chance to get the lay of the land"
I agree.

"The one reason I wouldn't take one in NY is the traffic -- I just think you'd get nowhere fast."
What do you suggest to get the "lay of the land" in NYC - that is immune to the traffic?

"... but I would never presume to know more about the city than the people that lived there"
Nor would I.

But after spending a lot of time on this board I've reached the conclusion that there are NYC locals who give EXCELLENT advice to tourists on a consistent basis - ellenm comes to mind - and there are NYC locals who give exceedingly crappy advice on a consistent basis. There are repeat tourists who give EXCELLENT advice - LowCountryIslander comes to mind - and tourists that give advice that is far different from what I'd be interested in.

That's why this board is so helpful - a wide variety of opinions, points of view and suggestions.

An example of what's ridiculous is when a NYC local starts a new thread to criticize the advice suggested by another NYC local. Virtually every poster who responded to that negative thread agreed with the other poster. Some people just to seem to be territorial with their suggestions. They see those who don't agree or who have other suggestions as the enemy. It's a shame - and ridiculous. But it happens almost every day here.

I rely on a mix when planning trips - certain folks who post on Fodors, and folks who don't post on Fodors including NYC natives and those who travel there on a regular basis. They include friends and family members. It's a good approach. If I had to rely on just ONE person's advice, it would be ellenm (as the local) or LowCountryIslander (as the frequent visitor). There are some posters who provide entertainment, but consistently bad advice.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 05:32 PM
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We did HOHO in Brussels, and it was fun. We'd spent a couple days in Brussels already and pretty much walked our feet off. We wanted to go out to the Atomium, which we could reach by Metro - or take the HOHO bus. We'd never done HOHO before, but the idea of cruising around town in a giant convertible seemed cool and giving our feet a break was good.

We recently did another HOHO trolley thing in Salem, Mass. We had great guides and learned a bunch. Sure you could read all the same stuff in a guidebook, but it was much more entertaining to listen to the guides.

Anyway - I don't think this is an either/or proposition - either take the HOHO or explore the city (any city) in more detail. HOHO is just one of the things that visitors can do when they visit a place.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Yes I red it. I still don't get it. As I mentioned I found is a waste of time and money in London - we abandoned it after having to wait for a bus at the first stop. Much easier just to walk or tube where you want to go. Can't imagine it's any better in NYC.

And yes, I do play tourist here sometimes - when we have family in from out of town. But nothing is ever going to convince me that sitting in a bus in traffic is worthwhile. (If I;m siting in a cab in traffic I can at least answer my emails while I'm sitting.) Can't imagine what tourists do.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 05:43 PM
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"Can't imagine what tourists do."

Look out the window and watch this part of the world go by
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 06:35 PM
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Yes and there are visitors who make a career out of a few visits to NYC as well. No matter the question asked they offer the same advice.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 06:40 PM
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"No matter the question asked they offer the same advice."

Reminds me of a couple of lists that are recycled over and over and over again...
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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Why is it so hard to understand that some people will like the HOHO and some will not? . .

Why is checking email in a Taxi any different from checking email in a bus?
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 08:25 PM
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In case you have not heard, recycling is mandatory in most cities including NY. It is ecological sound and appreciated by those who realize and understand its value.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 08:33 PM
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For all things or just advice that originates in NYC

Logically, recycling would be good in all areas. I know it is here.

"It is ecological sound and appreciated by those who realize and understand its value."

Completely agree.

And good advice is good advice.
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