On Christmas Eve, my family and I ventured into NYC for a day of holiday sight-seeing. We started at the tree at Rockefeller Center, went by department windows at Sax Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, went shopping at Bryant Park market and idled in the fantastic lobby at the Algonquin Hotel.
The Ride NYC
But we had one thing on our mind: our 4pm reservation on THE RIDE NYC. I had a feeling it would be inclusive of everything I love most in life.
For example, NYC is my oasis. I’ve lived here for years but never tire of the buzz this city radiates. I also love theater and I had a feeling THE RIDE would relish in its role in Times Square life. I love street life. I enjoy karaoke, comedy and everything interactive.
Believe it or not, I know it’s hard to imagine, but THE RIDE encompasses all of this. It takes place on a fancy bus with stadium-like seating with video screens and LED lights set along the sides of the bus. It’s a 75-minute ride that goes about four miles through Times Square from 42nd Street to Columbus Circle and back, rather slowly (with the speed of midtown traffic). There are two hosts on each side, each one trying to be funnier than the other. As the bus crouches through Times Square, the people on the streets are somehow part of the show, both willingly and unwillingly. Each night a crew of more than 60 technical people, street performers and tour-guide actors with improv-comedy experience provide entertainment, and all of a sudden, one of the people being spoken to from the bus breaks out in performance. We were entertained by a rapper, a ballet dancer, a saxophonist and soulful singer, a hip hop dancer and most certainly, our two hosts who were pretty hilarious.
The tour includes bits of NYC history, which as a New Yorker, I found very compelling. At one point, whilst discussing the city’s subway system, the bus somehow turned into an actual subway, speeding down a few blocks, shaking just like an actual train that cruises underground.
The bus that is THE RIDE is no joke. Each vehicle costs upwards of a million dollars and includes 49 seats, transparent windows (so the people on the street actually see you), 3K LED lights which flash in various colors all through the ride and video screens.
The ticket prices verge on the high side, but based on what I’ve described, I fully endorse THE RIDE. It’s literally a portable theater riding through the streets of NYC, showing you the city’s best. Several passengers had purchased their tickets on GroupOn but I don’t think that anyone who pays full price should or would be disappointed.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review and others but all opinions are my own.