April 23rd marks an important birthday for Vespa, who can enjoy her last sixties. Sixty-nine years ago aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio presented to the world the most iconic Italian scooter, that according to industrialist Enrico Piaggio looked like a wasp (now you know what Vespa means in Italian), and is now part of the permanent collection at MoMA.
From 1946 to today (almost seventy years later), Vespa is the utmost glamour scooter model, made legendary by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn riding it through the Italian capital, in ‘Roman Holiday.’ Have you ever thought of evoking that magic in the Big Apple? Well, apparently someone in Central Park did! The NYC Vespa tours transform a normal tour into a scenic adventure with your experienced and skilled vespa tour guide driver. You can pick half-hour tours or one hour tours and you will cover the City’s most famous landmarks in and out of the park. These include the Carousel, the Dairy, the Balto statue, Summerstage, Strawberry Fields, the Dakota building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Rockefeller Center, Times Square and Lincoln Center.
But if you want to pick your own itinerary and be the one driving the scooter be aware of certain precautions. Be sure to find a spot that is away from people’s blind spots and road hazards, one that gives you the maximum ability to accelerate, decelerate and change directions as needed. Traffic in New York can become over hectic, but don’t be intimidated. A good way to get a car to give you space behind you is to sway the scooter under you. Also try to wear the best safety gear, we know you want to look glam like Princess Ann and reporter Joe Bradley on that Vespa, but you’ll be more appealing if you make it all in one piece. Better safe than sorry, right? So using a pack protector in the City is a good idea. If you wear something or do something to the Vespa that will catch people’s attention it’s going to make it less likely for them to hit you. Perhaps also a colorful helmet could help. We all know the rules have changed since the 50s: helmets are obligatory when riding today.
Finally and most importantly have fun, look all over the place and take in all the beauties New York has to offer...don’t forget to watch also the traffic lights! You, the Vespa and your amore, are sure to have the time of your life experiencing the “Manhattan Holiday.”