All the ghosts were on a tour of the city.
How a couple were transported to the Big Apple on a recent frosty afternoon – just two passengers of the once popular hop-on, hop-off red buses.
“We have plenty of space,” Kevin Ortiz joked, with the 38-year-old walking around with his girlfriend Noomi, amid empty seats amidst an open-air double-decker ride that pans across all-but-abandoned streets of Manhattan and The sights revolved around. Giving them a private view.
The pair did not even have a tour guide to keep them company. Thanks to Pandemic, Bus now now offer headsets for an audio-only option, but the Spanish-speaking duo in the city of Puerto Rico didn’t bother to tune.
Ortiz, who lives outside San Juan, was just happy to live in New York and did not feel like traveling alone.
“It’s fine,” Ortiz said.
Later, a family of four visitors were captured, passing through the Empire State Building and Wall Street and getting an unexpected view of the emptiness in certain neighborhoods.
“It’s like a ghost town, isn’t it?” Said 15-year-old Lorena Ortega of Serena Park, Maryland, saw the bus from nearly a traffic-free Fifth Avenue away. “I like it though. I’m not sure it will be as much fun to come back when it’s crowded again.”
Ortega’s aunt, 44-year-old, Vicky Jenkins, who brought the teenager and two other nephews to the city for just one night, said she had been to New York before that but decided for the moment to travel with the girls.
“They are going to think how New York really is,” Jenkins said with a laugh.
Below, the driver was asked how things were going.
“What do you think?” He grew up, and did not identify in print. “It is believed to be hot here, but it is very cold.”
The number of these ubiquitous buses has shrunk during the COVID crisis.
City site tourism has been temporarily closed, forced to partner with competitors such as Big Bus. But even Big Bus has trouble filling seats – although this suggests that buses are rarely packed in the winter months.
Mark, a Big Bus employee who was waiting for passengers for a final 4:30 am trip around lower Manhattan, threw up his hands when it became clear that no one was coming.
“Come back tomorrow morning,” he said. “We can get something for 9:30.”