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JULY 01 - JULY 09, 2014

If You Hate to Wait, Just Say No To Glynn's Maid of the Mist!

By Mike Hudson

July 01, 2014

Long lines and hour-plus waits in the hot sun are in store for those who want to take the 15 minute Maid of most boat ride. It is far quicker to go to Canada where you can buy a timed ticket and avoid any wait whatsoever. That’s what we call class.

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and comparing photos taken last week of people waiting to get on the Maid of the Mist boat ride in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and their counterparts across the river at the Hornblower Yachts dock in Niagara Falls, Ont., is worth a couple of thousand at least.

Packed like sweaty sardines between railings and broiling under a hot sun, hundreds of prospective passengers often stand in line for an hour or more in order to board one of the ancient scows sailed by Jimmy Glynn under the Maid of the Mist flag. Once they enter the queue there's no turning back, as the hundreds of sweating bodies packed in behind them make retreat impossible; the looks on their faces tell the sad story.

This photo of Hornblower’s docks was taken at the same time as the photo above of Maid of the Mist lines, Saturday, June 21. Note there is no wait. People bought tickets for a set time and that’s when they get on the boat.

Every summer, ambulance calls respond to the scene as some elderly person or child passes out from the heat and exhaustion. The torturous ordeal imposed by Glynn certainly doesn't belong in the 21st century or even the 20th, but rather is reminiscent of the slave ships sailing from Africa to the New World, the comfort of their human cargo of no concern to the shipmasters.

By contrast, over at the Hornblower Cruises dock, there are no lines at all. That's because Hornblower employs a computerized timed departure system, where a tourist who wants to set sail at 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon merely has to say so when the ticket is purchased. Passengers breeze through an air conditioned terminal to the dock, where their boat awaits them as scheduled.

Because of safety concerns associated with the free for all, first-come, first-served approach employed by the rapacious Glynn and his Maid of the Mist, the Canadian government specified in its bidding documents that whoever got the tour boat concession on that side of the river must employ a timed departure system.

In New York, of course, no bidding ever took place. The multimillion dollar, 40-year contract, was handed over to the politically connected Glynn as elected officials from Mayor Paul Dyster to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Sen. Charles Schumer assured taxpayers that keeping Glynn afloat was vital to the future of the city of Niagara Falls.





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