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Look out New York City!

Performance theatre meets sightseeing in an entertaining NYC visitor experience

Photo: The Ride LLC.
Photo: The Ride LLC.

The streets of New York City (NYC) are never boring. No matter the season or time of day, there’s always something happening. Not surprisingly, they’re also the stage for a unique visitor experience called The Ride. It is a moving theatre aboard a bus with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and stadium-style side-facing seats offering panoramic views. The bus is equipped with 40 LCD TV screens, 3,000 LED lights and surround sound.

During the 75-minute show, the bus drives through Midtown Manhattan and past Times Square. Five-seven performers, who blend in with the street life, pop up to become part of the show. The incredible street performances are set against the backdrop of iconic landmarks like Times Square, Columbus Circle, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall and Bryant Park. It becomes hard to tell where the streets of NYC end and the show begins.

A person you think is walking home from work will begin dancing, a rapper will appear from nowhere and start an impromptu rap, and a singer and musician will perform, all on the streets, while you watch from the bus. Between performances, the two comedic hosts improvize and entertain guests with trivia, karaoke and fun facts.

When I went on The Ride, a performer dressed as a reveller recreated the magic of being at Times Square during New Year’s Eve celebrations. All of us on the bus felt we were there, enjoying the countdown to midnight. Then, as we drove past the Bank of America building, a person who seemed to be walking home from work did a ballet presentation. And, a deliveryman in a FedEx uniform performed a hip hop dance.

As we drove past Bryant Park and the Chrysler Building, the hosts told us about the history of both places. Outside a Shake Shack outlet, a freestyle rapper began an impromptu performance with two back-up dancers. The journey continued past Grand Central, Columbus Circle and Central Park to Carnegie Hall, where a singer and a trumpeter performed for us. The singer ended her performance with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State Of Mind, which had the whole bus singing along.

And the best part? I learnt that The Ride’s performances are unique for every show.

Ticket to ride

Tickets cost $74 (about 5,000) and can be purchased online on The Ride has a Holiday Edition variation from mid-November to the first week of January.

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