I never make a big deal out of my birthday. This year, after dealing with three kids all day and never having time for myself, I thought I would try something new – and celebrate it properly! As if on cue, I received an invitation for the new Downtown Experience, powered by The Ride. As a lover of all things Manhattan, and The Ride – since my first tour in 2012 – it was the perfect fit!
This brand new historical 90-minute adventure not only offered a comprehensive, theatrical, interactive tour around lower Manhattan, but it was the premier of their new 360 degree Virtual Reality component using TimeLooper. And let me tell you, it was Ahhh-mazing!
Together The Ride really painted a picture of the evolution of Manhattan like none other. Did I mention all of this happened while riding in a stadium-style seating bus redone with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, LCD TV screens, 3,000 LED lights, and surround sound? Yep!
Similar to The Ride in Times Square, the The Downtown Experience, powered by The Ride was the perfect marriage of guided and on screen touring with live cast members on the street (who looked like normal New Yorkers going about their day) woven together. My favorite part of both tours was how these cast members seamless entered our world and then disappeared into the pulse of the city like they were never there.
Between our wonderfully knowledgeable and animated tour guide and the Virtual Reality headsets, we witnessed President George Washington’s swearing in at Federal Hall in 1789, time traveled to see urban planning, attended a ticker tape parade, and observed the different cultures who have flocked to the downtown area for centuries – to name a few.
Having worked in a building at the corner of Water and Wall Street over a decade ago, I spent a great deal of time in lower Manhattan. But since I was always walking around at street level, trying not to bump in to someone, I never looked up. Thanks to The Ride’s glass topped bus I saw the beautiful, decorative tops of building I used to pass daily in a completely new light!
The route was perfectly planned to teach as the city evolved in front of us. I still don’t know if some of the things were part of the show or just another wonderful random occurrence that could only happen in Manhattan.
Photo Credit: Alexis Qualls
Another favorite part was the looks we got in our crazy cool bus driving around the tight streets of downtown. Everyone wanted to wave to us – even the other tour buses! We were like celebrities since the look is so unique… And only one person flipped us the bird.
If you’re looking for a fun, new, and different experience for a special occasion – or just something new to do – check out The Ride. This is the perfect fit for both locals and tourists.
Here’s some proof that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s cool – on June 15th, at 7pm, The Ride celebrates its 15,000th performance in Times Square!
Photo Credit: Alexis Qualls
The Downtown Experience, powered by The Ride begins at 200 Water Street overlooking the New York Harbor in front of the historic blocks of South Street Seaport. What consistently amazes me about Manhattan tours, after living and working in the city for thirteen years, is that I always learn something new! But I don’t want to spoil the fun and give away everything – you’ll have to learn the rest for yourself!
And I can help!
The Ride has generously offered to give away a pair of tickets to The Downtown Experience, powered by The Ride to two lucky readers of The Mint Chip Mama!
To enter, please:
- Like my Facebook page (if you haven’t yet): The Mint Chip Mama
- Share this blog post on your Facebook page
- Comment below (on the blog’s page) why downtown Manhattan is special to you!
Winner chosen Saturday, June 17th, 2017 at 5pm EST.