By Bill Canacci
November 7, 20
Lots of New Jersey residents have taken a bus to Port Authority, and there are probably some who have taken a tour with visiting family and friends aboard one of those double-decker buses around Manhattan.
But now there’s a new way to see New York City: The Ride.
The Ride is, well, a bus ride — but with lots of bells and whistles. It is described as a “multimedia, multidiscipline production.” The custom-built, rock-star-size vehicles feature three rows of stadium seating, allowing riders to look out large windows and see all the sights, as well as the various on-street rappers, singers and entertainers who are a part of the show. For instance, ballet dancers gracefully perform as the bus rides around Columbus Circle; Radio City Music Hall ushers try to prove that they are ready for Broadway (since it was raining, they did their skit while holding umbrellas), and, oh yeah, you meet a bald guy.
Part of the fun is seeing tourists and city residents react to the performers. On a recent trip, most were simply ignored, but there’s no doubt that in the future, some will join in.
On board The Ride, perky “ride operatives” Scott and Jackie help pump up the crowd. They also “talk” to The Ride, who talks back in a computerized voice that sounds more like a kindler, gentler (and slightly wry) HAL 9000 than the computer on “Star Trek.” The Ride is full of information about the city and its famous landmarks, and throughout the trip it provides fun facts about everything from Carnegie Hall to Grand Central Terminal. The high-tech Ride features more than 3,000 LED lights, 40 monitors and a sound system that can emulate everything from a subway to a night at Studio 54.
Tickets for The Ride are $65, $59 during nonpeak times. Is the 75-minute ride worth it? That depends. If you’re familiar with the city, probably not. If you want to show your relative from Ohio around, perhaps.
Is it better than a Broadway show? No, unless we’re talking about “Rock of Ages.”
Probably the most annoying thing about the trip is the “Ride Wave.” Think of it as slightly worse than the “wave” seen at every sports event since 1982. It quickly grows tiresome.
The Ride begins and ends in the heart of Times Square, near the Marriott Marquis (one of The Ride’s partners). It is now running four times most weekday evenings, but will offer more rides on weekends beginning Oct. 29. A schedule of rides and more information is available by visiting theridenyc.com