If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase, “Only in New York!” during the inaugural take-off of “The Ride,” I’d be a very rich writer. This amazing full body, interactive adventure is a combination love letter to New York, and proof that “Only in New York” could you experience such a “movable feast.”
Ok, so I have you wondering, “What the heck is she talking about?”
Let me explain. With its simple title, “The Ride,” is actually an amazing and unsimple bus ride featuring the artwork of 3D pop artist Charles Fazzino, shrink-wrapped on what proved to be the most ginormous bus ever. Unlike most typical tour busses with windows on either side, this specially-designed version has three rows of stadium-like seats facing one way. Multi-color lights and TV screens inside the bus are dazzling, but it’s the entertainment OUTSIDE the bus that is the delight, although the banter between Stuart and Laurie, our hosts for this ride was cute and adorable and all family-friendly.
What The Ride is meant to do is celebrate New York, and specifically the mid-town Times Square area. With music pumping and lights a flashin’, the bus is quite the attraction as it meanders along the city streets at the typical slow-poke pace that defines city traffic. But, it’s okay. The bus riders are thrilled to watch the passersby of the city, as they look up at us and wonder “who the heck are these bus people waving like lunatics.” And sure enough, a smile grows on their face, and they are waving back at us just as nutty. Kids, grownups, teenagers, even the grumpiest of New Yorkers can’t watch us go by without either a look of awe, or a jubilant reaction. And, time after time, we remarked aloud, “Only in New York.” We put smiles on the likes of police officers, Con Ed workers, Jamba Juice workers, hotel doormen, and the list goes on and on.
So, we’re touring the Times Square area, and from this vantage point, we’re reminded why this is the greatest city in the world. With windows all around us, even above us, we see the famous tall buildings that make up the city’s famous skyline, and from Stuart and Laurie, we heard fun factoids about these remarkable landmarks. We played New York trivia, we learned a new dance, called “The Ride Dance.” We learned about the gargoyles on the Chrysler building (didn’t know about them, did you?) and why there is always scaffolding around the buildings, like all the time. And are there really Duane Reades on almost every corner in the city? Then we found ourselves on eye level with Broadway show marquees—Ghost, Mary Poppins, The Lion King—each show title was a reminder of how much talent can be found in just this small amount of real estate.
But there’s more. We played “Tourist or New Yorker.” This was fun. Stuart or Laurie would choose random people making their way up the street, and ask if we could identify if they were just a visitor (if they were happy go lucky and smiling), or a New Yorker (looking at their watch and walking very fast!) We also were treated to performances by street entertainers at select spots along the ride, and I don’t want to be a spoiler, but these folks went as OVER THE TOP as you can, eliciting more, “Only in New York” phrases. And, I’ll just leave it at that.
Whether you’re visiting New York for a short stay, or have been here your whole life, take a ride on “The Ride.” It’s the newest, silliest, fun-filled adventure that celebrates all the wonderfulness of the city we love so dear. You’ll also be humming, “New York, New York” for days afterwards. And that’s okay.
The Ride is only rolling from May 3 until September 3, 2012. Tickets for specific ride times can be purchased at Experience The Ride or call 212-244-2551. Tickets $69.