New York Daily News
By Joe Dziemianowicz
October 14, 2010
There’s a show on every corner in New York, and that fact has been woven ingeniously into “The Ride,” a new sightseeing bus tour wheeling around midtown.
Compared to familiar open-air tour buses, “The Ride” rolls on vehicles pimped out in razzle-dazzle. There are high-tech light and sound systems, and stadium seats face sideways so passengers have clear views as the bus crawls through traffic.
Even if you know the city and passed by the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal and other icons before, you haven’t seen it from this panoramic view. There’s a feeling like watching a movie unfold live as you move slowly along. It lets you see the city with fresh eyes, beginning in Times Square, then along 42nd St., past Radio City and up to Columbus Circle, back to where you started.
Along for the ride are a couple cute and wisecracking tour guides who direct your attention to the video screens that are used to point out fun facts about local landmarks, restaurants and remarkable apartments. The scripted commentary (John Bobey is credited as writer, Daniel Goldstein as director) is easygoing and friendly, though sometimes the guides’ chirpy banter feels a little forced.
When it does, it’s best to ignore them and keep your eyes focused on the city. What makes “The Ride” unique are street performers positioned strategically along the bus route who get in on the action. They include a tap-happy dancer living out a scene from “42nd Street” and uniformed ushers near Radio City who burst into a peppy audition number as you motor by. The moments are surprisingly charming.
The tour runs in all sorts of weather. At Christmastime, it’s not hard to imagine snow, decorations and colored lights along Sixth Avenue adding to the experience. Even in a downpour, the city is spectacular. On Monday night, two graceful dancers pirouetted during a lightning-laced rainstorm around the Columbus Circle fountains. It was as surreal as it was delightful – and scary.
“Was anyone else scared that they’d get electrocuted?” asked one of the perky guides. Yes. But not to worry. The couple was unharmed — another happy ending to another only-in-New York story.
“The Ride” departs from the Marriott Marquis at 1535 Broadway, and lasts 75 minutes. Depending on departure time, it costs $59 to $65, which makes it a pretty pricey entertainment. But it’s an enjoyable way to see the sights and the city – for the first time or again. Tickets are at experiencetheride.com or (866) 299-9682.