Photographed by Robert Otter circa 1962

The bus/train tour of Greenwich Village

Never one to miss a public relations opportunity, Brody turned the need to select an itinerary for the tour into a public contest:

$25 For Best ‘Loconik’ Route

The Albert French Restaurant, 12 E.11th St., is offering a prize of $25 to the person suggesting the best route through the Village for the free sightseeing train, the “loconik” created by Salvador Dalí. The “loconik” pulls two coaches (designed [unlike Dalí’s locomotive] by Russell Patterson and Dean Cornwell) on daily tours, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. It sports a fantastic array of ten black umbrellas, two huge blue eyes, a pair of red lips, two butterflies, two small clocks and an anthracite body. The contest deadline is Saturday, August 15. Entries should be addressed to Joe Brody, Albert French Restaurant, 42 E. 11th St. The tours must leave from, and return to, the restaurant.

In July of the same year, columnist Dorothy Kilgallen wrote:

Summer visitors to Gotham are fascinated by the most amusing free attraction in Greenwich Village – the motorized train designed by Salvador Dali and run by the Albert French Restaurant as a promotion gimmick. Lines form every day to board the sightseeing car.

The tours were noticed in articles and guidebooks about the Village:

Then take the tiny sightseeing bus which leaves from Albert’s French Restaurant at 11th Street and University Place, for a free tour of the village.

If you want to see Greenwich Village without walking, take the tour sponsored by Albert French Restaurant, 42 East Eleventh Street. It’s fun and you’ll see everything from Washington Arch to the coffee houses.

New York - (UPI) - Free tours of Greenwich Village, the colorful bohemian district which has spawned many artists and literary figures since the turn of the century, are offered to guests by the Albert French Restaurant. Buses leave regularly daily from the restaurant, one of the oldest landmarks in the Village.

Consumer Reports did not find the service entirely reliable:

… for instance, I know from personal experience that the Greenwich Village tour conducted by the Albert French restaurant and listed in the book runs or does not run according to the momentary whim of the restaurant’s proprietor.

A detailed description of the tour’s itinerary appeared in a 1963 article in the New Pittsburgh Courier about the annual Washing Square art exhibit in Greenwich Village:

Free Sightseeing

For those who would add a wider view of the colorful – and cultural – pageant, the Village offers free sightseeing on board the famous red touring bus which departs hourly from 42 East 11 Street.

This unique bus ride plays “dean of liberal education” to a vast student body of intrigued New Yorkers and out-of-towners, showing guests a little of everything there is to be seen.

At a leisurely pace, the big red bus reviews majestic Washington Arch . . . sidewalk book stalls always attended by dreamers, and collectors stalking rare editions . . . multi-windowed coffee shops with 19th century charm intact . . . converted mews where the wealthy once stabled carriage horses.

Intricate as old-world lace, the pattern of streets confuses. You get the impression you're involved in some exotic fable – that what you see now might never be found on a return trip.


With a carefully executed turn of the wheel, the necker-chiefed driver in his Frenchy beret introduces you to the off-Broadway theaters, picturesque little restaurants dishing up cuisine of every nation, antiques and statuary and costume shops. But perhaps the Village is most fascinating as a shrine to the artists it once housed.

Theodore Dreiser lived here, Tony Sarg and Mark Twain too. Franklin P. Adams called the Village "home" – as did O. Henry Sinclair Lewis, Washington Irving, Emily Post, Willa Cather, S. J. Perelman, Maurice Evans and Albert Pinkham Ryder. Several of Ryder's murals, painted in the oldest Village landmark, The Albert French Restaurant, can still be seen there today.

Like a modern magic carpet, the touring bus covers all this hallowed ground. And as it goes its rounds, not only riders but “outsiders” get a cultural treat.

Prize Paintings

Riding royally inside 14-karat gold frames on the outsides of the Greenwich Village bus are prize paintings from former Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibits!

The chance to have their prize work seen a thousand times a day all year long on this mobile art gallery is just one of the many rewards sought by struggling artists of the Village.