October 13, 2010
Twelve years olds may be one of the toughest markets for entertainers to please. Too old for Disney ‘family’ fare and too young for R-rated movies, they are mercurial and demanding. Yet THE RIDE managed to pass my jaded 12 going on 25 daughter.
This multimedia bus tour and experience a new midtown attraction, is fun for New Yorkers and tourists. The tour stays close to its pick up and drop-off at the Marriott Marquis, roaming from 42nd Street to Central Park, with engaging street theater throughout its 75 minute running time.
Two stand up comics/ride operators keep up a running commentary, while using technology and seemingly chance encounters. The shtick behind this is that we riders see New Yorkers going about their business while casually breaking into dance, song or random acts. While the bus, with its stadium seating, large windows on one side and glass roof moves through midtown, we see a ‘thief’ stealing a fire hydrant, a couple reenacting the VJ Day kiss and a man suddenly ripping his pants off.
Riders are encouraged to get into the act, doing ‘the wave’ and singing along to “New York, New York.’ And most New Yorkers going about their day who see the street actors suddenly breaking into song pass by unfazed, but some join in, dancing along.
The ride operators also tease out some info from the riders, names, or where people are from, and then transmit this information to the next performer, who incorporates this into his routine. My daughter, Nora, kept questioning whether each performer was part of the show, was amazed that the street actors knew names of people on the bus.
The Ride starts at 10am and goes until 9:45pm. If you take an evening ride, you see an illuminated ballerina at Columbus Circle. And if you are touring New York, you see also Grand Central, Carnegie Hall, Bryant Park, the main branch of the Public Library, Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.
The Ride allows kids 10 and up; young teens are strongly encouraged.