Last week my son and I ventured downtown to experience THE RIDE. We had admittedly been lucky enough to experience it before, only this time it would be the virtual reality version. I chose it because my son is a techno geek, and I figured it would be something new and interesting for both of us. I also love NYC with all heart, so I’m always open to different ways to experience and learn more about the city.
One thing I have to say that I love about THE RIDE in general is the tour guides. Like on our last tour, we had a fun, excited guide take us on our 90-minute tour. She told us story after story which complimented our virtual reality tour of Lower Manhattan’s diverse history, from the George Washington era to the stock market crash in 1929 to soaring (literally almost!) above the One World Observatory. We also had a guitarist join our tour, a solemn serenade from a man on the street singing a song in honor of 9/11 as we drove by the memorial, and other interactive entertainment. Our guide would tell us a story or two, and then we would be transported into another world when we put the VR glasses on. Note: Don’t do this if you are prone to carsickness.
As a long-time New Yorker, the tour appealed to me, though I must admit I may have been the sole New Yorker on the bus, haling from Westchester, but considering myself a true New Yorker after living through 9/11. Everyone else was from out of town. I liked learning the history of lower Manhattan, as well as facts I didn’t know.
The Downtown Experience is a luxury bus, with floor-to-ceiling windows. The seating is stadium style, and there are no bad seats. The views are tremendous and you truly see everything. We saw the Statue of Liberty, always a sobering experience for me, and certainly one that is very symbolic now. Adding to the overall experience, the buses are equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video technology to enhance the journey.
I was impressed, as was my son, who isn’t always easy to please, and we decided we’ll be tourists in NYC anytime.
Rides leave from 200 Water St. downtown. For reservations, visit experiencetheride.com.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.