I try to accentuate the positive on my blog. I try to look at the bright side of things even if I don’t have the best time doing something. I do this because there is way too much negativity and criticism in the world… so much so that much of it becoming meaningless, just background noise as everyone moans and bellyaches about every little thing they perceive has slighted them.

However, given that one role of this blog is travel and travel costs a lot of money, I must every now and then use my powers for the collective good of humanity and warn people away from certain locations and businesses that have made a practice of taking money and providing services that are mediocre at best… and if I were to use the term “mediocre” to describe Top View NYC, I would be extremely charitable. Top View NYC is probably the worst-run business I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with, employing the absolute worst possible people available, and providing the only experience you could get from such a toxic combination.

If you were to google Top View NYC, the first thing that you will notice it has a fairly reputable rating of a 4.1 out of 5. This looks great until you actually look at the suspicious number of reviewers who have written exactly one review… that happens to be of Top View NYC. I’m not saying that this company is creating false accounts to inflate their own Google reviews, but the only other explanation is that people are joining Google reviews just to review this company and that is a must more ridiculous scenario. Besides, Trip Advisor has them at a 3 and Yelp has them at a pitiful 1 out of 5. Something’s fishy with that Google score!

When you’re in New York, especially a tourist-heavy place like Times Square, you will be accosted by representatives from Top View and a couple of other busing companies that I don’t have any experience with and won’t mention here. They’re aggressive, they promise you a number of things, they’ll cut you a great deal — or what sounds like a great deal. The truth is, these hustlers are just out to get your money because, as Top View loves to point out… there are no refunds. Forget that you are straight up lied to, this company follows The First Rule of Acquisition: Once you have their money, you never give it back. Truly, they would make good Feringi, but this is not Star Trek… it’s reality.

Once you have your non-refundable ticket you’re ushered into a line. Hopefully, it’s the line you wanted because, after waiting an hour as bus after bus came by and left filled up with the other tourists who were unfortunate to buy tickets, we found out that we had been placed in the wrong line. I told this to the representative who placed us in the line (after, of course, we told her where we wanted to go) and she quickly and apologetically put us on the next bus immediately… or, at least, that is what would have happened if this company was not complete ostrich poo.

Nope, we were told to go get at the end of the line and wait another hour to get on a bus. No apology, not even a half-hearted apology… just matter of fact statement like we were barely qualified to be cattle: “Well, go get in that line!” and then a quick and dismissive thumb to where we were supposed to have been placed by them in the first place.

Once you’re on the bus, it’s crowded and hot — both things we expected given that it’s New York and the Summer so we made due. This particular tour is prerecorded because, of course, that takes the absolute least amount of effort. I really hope that you also enjoy the same three or four songs on a loop because that… is all… you will hear. This is interrupted periodically by factiods about certain places in New York, but you never know where these places are because they play either a block ahead or a block behind. I’m not sure what technology they’re using for this narration, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

Aside from the stiflingly boring narration that you’re exposed to, Top View NYC has absolutely no desire to manage crowds. The scenes you’re exposed to when boarding some buses looks like it came from a Mad Max movie as lines turn into mobs as the drivers sit on their wide behinds and do nothing to try and even pretend to control the chaos. As I was traveling with a large number of children, it was everything I could do to keep them together and keep the line-cutters from separating us. Eventually I had to start strong arming people to keep them at bay. The bus driver? Texting… Freaking texting.

The rancid cherry on top of the Top View NYC dung sundae had to be the liberty cruise to the Statue of Liberty. We had full knowledge that we would not be landing on Liberty Island as we knew that tickets to the island sell out weeks in advance and our trip was a last-minute deal, but it was obvious when we got there that this was information that had not been relayed to other ticket holders. They had been lied to by the street hustlers and Top View had no intention of correcting the error or refunding money.

I haven’t even gotten to the best part.

We arrived at the pier an hour and a half early, our prior knowledge of how Top View doesn’t give a solid damn about managing crowds, so we could get a good seat on the boat. There was only one small group of people ahead of us and hundreds behind us. As we sat there waiting as the boat was predictably late, we watched in horror as the manager in charge directed a group of people who appeared literally an hour after we did, into the line before us. Of course, this perturbed us. The small group ahead of us raised an objection and were told by the manager that if they didn’t like it, they could leave.

He actually said those words.

They left.

He yelled something after them I couldn’t make out, but I knew it wasn’t nice. This man must have learned customer service from a wolf pack… a very rude wolf pack

So, we watched the seats on the boat that we had waited in line for an hour and a half fill up without us. Finally, the good seats long gone, we boarded the bus. As I passed the manager, I glanced at his name tag.

And that’s when the fun began.

This Chad Kroger looking little toad chased me down yelling, “Hey, big man! Big man! Hey!” He shoved his badge into my face and said, “Take a picture. There’s my badge. Is that what you wanted?”

I shrugged and took a picture. “Sure, thanks.”

“You just tell them the truth. This was a prepaid group and I had to get them on the boat.”

“We were a prepaid group,” I said, “This is a shifty way to treat customers.”

“Well, don’t be a shitty customer and you won’t get shitty service!” Then the guy who thought that his hair was way cooler than what he thought it was took his Troll-doll looking frame and waddled away like a penguin keeping a rock between its cheeks.

Did I mention my kids were with me? Yep, I was verbally assaulted and degraded by a senior representative of the company because I dared glanced at his name badge.

I filled out a feedback form online, included the time, place, and even the picture that the insecure little high school dropout insisted I take, but Top View NYC wanted a proof of purchase… on a receipt that they gave me three days prior. I didn’t have it and informed them that they had more than enough information to look into the incident… it’s been five weeks and I’ve heard squat back from them.

And that’s the story… I wish I had a more satisfying ending, but as a famous environmentalist once said, reality is often disappointing.

This company is a cancer. It’s excrement. It does not deserve your patronage or your money and, if I can keep one or two people from actually handing their money over to this company, I’ll be doing God’s work.

Truly, Top View NYC is a festering worm in the Big Apple.

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Written by Jason Gaston

Father, teacher, writer, photographer, artist, actor, male model, and inventor of the semicolon.

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