Double-decker tour buses have in the past decade become a standard part of the average tourist's trip to the Big Apple. You see them everywhere in Manhattan and in the past few years they've even made it out to the wilds of Brooklyn. Sometimes when you're standing on a corner you can catch a snippet of the what a tour guide is telling their innocent charges, but other than that the average New Yorker has little to no idea what is actually getting said about our fair city to our thousands of visitors. So it was interesting for us to see in the today's Daily News an exposé on the validity of the average double-decker bus tour.
Some of the fun inaccuracies that the News found include the guides who thought Harrison Ford lived in the Dakota (he lives in the Trump World Tower), the guide who claimed that adults aren't allowed into the Central Park Zoo unless accompanies by a child (uhm, no, but that does remind us of the little girl who really thought that the McDonalds Arch Deluxe was only for adults), and the guide who thought that Gotham got its name from its Gothic architecture (actually the name, first used by Washington Irving in 1807, has nothing to do with architecture).
The list goes on and is funny, but to be fair the News doesn't quite take into account just how difficult it can be to jabber on for three hours and not make a mistake or two nor do they think on how much the average tourist on those busses just doesn't care about the facts (they spent their $49 and what they want is to see the city without, uh, walking). But we might be a bit biased as we have friends who work for the two bigger bus companies (Grey Line and City Sights NY). The News does, however, point out that all you have to do to be a tour guide is get over 65% on a 150-question, multiple choice exam about Manhattan (run by the Department of Consumer Affairs) and then apply to one of the companies. They're generally hiring, and the pay is not bad at all.
Have you heard any great tour guide inaccuracies? Share 'em.