New York Beacon
By Don Thomas
Imagine taking a tour through New York City streets on a bus, not just any bus but one fully equipped with three rows of stadium seating allowing every seat the very same access and view?
Now, further imagine that the bus is loaded with high-tech, multimedia equipment akin to those provided at Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Gardens. Three thousand LED lights, 40 video monitors linked to an amazing sound system and an IMAX theater compliment a 13 feet high 45 feet long vehicle enabling overhead view of yellow cabs, bicycles, tri-cycles, pedestrians, sidewalks, pavement and street scenes.
What if the imagination expands to find street performers and actors in synchronized unison with comedic and historic details provided by onboard hosts on that spectacular mobile miracle? Undeniably, that imagination would be on track with a brand new tour experience which rolls into New York this week. It is called “The Ride.”
Unlike those blasé doubledecked bus tours which routinely guide tourists to sights of the city, this unique one-of-a-kind entertainment experience combines a multi-discipline production with real, live actors and performers strategically positioned throughout the scenic Manhattan route.
“The streets of New York are the world’s biggest stage and ‘The Ride’ is your front row seat, Jonathan Danforth, President & CEO said.
“It’s spectacular! It’s unique! I have never experienced anything like this before. I just don’t know how they are able to do it in the middle of all the New York traffic,” a visitor from Kentucky said.
Surprises along the route are unpredictably New York. The hot dog vendor on the corner is likely to sell a few frankfurters on cue. Who could imagine that scenario? On any given ride a couple of ballet dancers could light up Columbus Circle while providing the kind of performance one would have to pay big bucks to enjoy at Lincoln Center.
That light-footed dancers could put on such a show in the round as traffic swirls around them; or that a courier would pause from delivering packages to break dance on a sidewalk; or that the sailor in his glee to celebrate the end of World War II kissed a New Yorker might still be in action these many years later is an inevitable sighting on each excursion.
And while the streets provide plenty to glare at, there is also a skylight to peer up at the view of edifices that make up the skyline of the city. To witness the reaction of resident New Yorkers is nothing short of the stereotypical claim – they are unfazed.
Despite the unusual presentations, pedestrians and commuters appear oblivious to the street antics or the gigantic, moving theater. The marvel though becomes distinctive when tourists take a glimpse of the bus, the antics and the residents who scurry down the subway steps, hurrying home to the outer boroughs.
“The Ride” made its debut and may still be elusive to masses of tourists who visit the mid- town area. A stop on the perimeter of the Marriott Marquis Hotel is where a super-sized, irregular bus awaits passengers eager to ride the stage coach through “The Big Apple.” The year- round Broadway/excursion merger will surely be one of the most sought-after attractions during the holiday season.
“ ‘The Ride’ is about experiencing the fabric of New York through the eyes of talented and funny people who love the city and its history – many of whom have chosen to be life-long residents here,” Michael Counts, company founder stated.
“You cannot help exiting the bus without singing, humming or feeling the lyrics to the city’s anthem ‘I love New York,” a tourist from New Jersey said. Check out the experience by logging ontotheridenyc.com [EDITOR’S NOTE: I had the pleasure of being among the first group of invited media persons and tourists from around the country to experience “The Ride.” Without any reservations what-so-ever, I can gladly state this is one of the most exciting new New York City attractions that should be experienced by the entire family, friends and visiting out- of-towners. — Don Thomas, Entertainment Editor/New York Beacon]