Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour is a new success

Irene Schultz

When in New York City, whether a tourist or local, everyone should check out one of the many bus tours hosted by On Location Tours NYC. Recently, The Pace Press took a trip on the Holiday Lights & Movie Sights bus tour. This one-of-a-kind sightseeing experience launched on November 29th and gives passengers a true experience of Christmas in New York. This new NYC holiday bus tour visits sites where famous holiday movie tours were filmed while also making stops at the famous NYC locations during this festive season.
The lovely tour guide, Lu, is a local NYC actress who led the way to the countless memorable scenes. The tour guide was very friendly and, wearing her bright Santa hat, exuded holiday spirit and spread holiday cheer all the way to the back of the bus. The tour was even a mini criminal justice class in New York, as tour guide Lu informed passengers on many NY laws.

The Holiday Lights & Movie Sights tour travels to locations from classic holiday movies including Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2, Elf, and many more. As the tour visited famous NYC landmarks and locations where classic holiday movies were filmed, the most well known clips from the films were played on the built in TV screens included in the comfy warm coach bus.   One of the most significant spots was Central Park, the most filmed spot in NYC. Movies like Home Alone 2 were filmed at the Central Park ice rink and the Queensboro Bridge, where main character Kevin first meets the pigeon lady in the classic movie.

Although it was difficult for passengers to see all of the spots out the windows because it was dark outside, it made for a more prominent light display than if it took place during daylight. The tour also included frequent but optional 5-10 minute stops in order to get off the bus at important landmarks for photo-opts. Lu had safety in mind always and made sure to do a head count upon returning to the bus each time.   Arguably the most spectacular window display in NYC was viewed at the department store Bloomingdales. Each separate window was themed in a different country, and the display provided a unique trip around the world.

The windows at Barney’s were designed by Jay Z and featured a more modern Santa Clause holiday display. The Bergdorf Goodman displays were completely mind boggling to say the least. “All of 5th Ave is decked out for the holidays,” the tour guide exclaimed.   Another famous holiday movie explored was Eloise at Christmas Time. The bus drove past the famous Plaza Hotel, covered in Christmas wreaths, where the movie was filmed   Of course a holiday lights tour wouldn’t be complete without a view of the enormously spectacular Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Although the bus did not stop for passengers to explore the tree up close, it drove by as slowly as it could so that everyone could get a good look and picture.

Since the tour is quite new, there were unfortunately some minor technical problems with the way to movie clips were arranged in order. The guide had to reconfigure several clips in order to match the locations. This was rather distracting and wasted some time but it was understandable and didn’t hinder the effect of the total experience.

In fact, the lovely tour guide Lu handled conflict very well. When interrupted and/or argued by different passengers throughout the trip, she responded with patience and politeness and harbors an ability to make humor out of any awkward situation that may arise during a “live” event like this one.

The bus tour covered over 25 hot spots of the city, including FAO Schwarz, Lincoln Center, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Ave, Serendipity, and the Unicef Snowflake. Film clips and locations in the city that were explored include Mr. Poppers Penguins, Family Man, Scrooged and many more. Even New York natives will learn something new about their home city.
When asked what her favorite part of the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour is, Lu said she is “Fascinated by how people respond to the windows.” She also adds how the different age groups of passengers that she encounters from day to day is interesting, as riders range from young children to senior citizens. Of course, the 5th Ave stretch is what amazes her the most.

The tour departs from Columbus Circle, a prime location that was easy to find. The Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour will run through January 4. Be sure to bring your sweet teeth because complimentary yummy gingerbread man cookies are provided! Also check out On Location Tours’ other NYC bus tours including Sex and the City Hotspots, Gossip Girl Sites and Sopranos Sites, to name a few.