Tony the Tour Guy's Blog

A not very regular series of posts on New York City history, historic preservation, genealogy and related themes.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The MTA's $2 Sightseeing Tour

From time to time the Transit Authority has tried various projects geared towards history buffs and tourists. I am not referring to those. Instead, I am suggesting a great way to learn more about our neighborhoods and architecture for a mere two bucks- just by taking a local bus.

The height of a city bus gives one the chance to see the upper portions of many buildings which are difficult to see from the street. The best views are usually found from the same side of the bus as the driver's seat. Since traffic moves to the right, this allows you some distance from the buildings on the other side of the street upon which you're riding - great for viewing above storefronts.

I hopped the Q32 bus today - a line which runs from Jackson Heights, Queens to Penn Station via 60th Street and 5th Ave. It's amazing to see what's above the ground level of so many buildings. For one thing, I noted how many buildings that hold stores were originally brownstones. There is also all manner of terra cotta and other architectural detail that you just can't see from the sidewalk.

Try it sometime.