Aboard the motor coach, Anderson Cooper sank lower in his seat, grinning and pulling his hat over his eyes as a friendly rapper called him out by name. But this rapper wasn't on-board the coach. Instead, he was spitting his rhymes from the sidewalk outside, performing for an audience on one of The Ride's interactive New York City tours. Though unique, Mr. Cooper's experience has been shared by hundreds of other famous personalities, tourists, and locals. Floor-to-ceiling windows cover the entire right side and roof of each of The Ride's custom built-motor coaches, breaking the fourth wall as they ensure that not only can passengers view the city, but the city can look back in. Due to their popularity, The Ride's tours have been chronicled by media outlets such as
New York Live, Good Morning America, and The Today Show.
As each motor coach embarks on its tour through 4.2 miles of Midtown, guides encourage group participation with song, dance, and question-and-answer sessions, much like any good meeting with a tax accountant. With the aid of 40 plasma monitors displaying images and historical information, they also divulge facts about landmarks such as Central Park, 42nd Street, and Grand Central Station. As the bus travels alongside famous buildings and city sidewalks, passengers encounter a range of characters. Some are regular New Yorkers, but others are company performers in disguise. Rappers, dancers, singers, and actors leap from the crowd to entertain their mobile audiences with impromptu live routines, and sometimes pull audience members into the show. Surround-sound stereo, wireless microphones, and external speakers allow audiences to hear the performances from their seats, unlike pedestrians outside, who have to hop on a neighbor's shoulders to get a better view.
Cuisine Type: 6 Tastings
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Most popular offering: Katz's pastrami
Pro Tip: Eash tour involves tastings and learning about the culture and history of each neighborhood visited.
Q&A with Joshua Kraushar, Tour Guide
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
As a native New Yorker who was a former history teacher and an avid foodie, I really enjoy taking people to out of the way places that they would generally never get to see. I also love turning people on to unique places and tastes that they could only find here in New York.
What?s the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?
The best compliments are generally, "this was the best day I ever spent in New York."
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
I have traveled all over the world but still love my hometown the best and aim to show you why.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Our tastings are varied from Polish pirogies, Jewish rugelach, and Italian cannolis to Chinese dumplings.
Once boarding one of these red double-decker buses, guests can hop on and off explore sites at their own pace, then rejoin the guided excursion whenever they’re ready. The Uptown and Harlem tour includes stops at the Time Warner Center and the Dakota apartment building, and also includes a free Bronx Tour.
CitySights NY lets visitors and residents alike see the city from a thousand different angles. There are boat tours, on yachts and clippers alike, which might be include a leisurely dinner as the sun sets or a lap around the Statue of Liberty. Helicopter tours buzz around the famous statue as well, or over Manhattan. For those looking to experience the city from inside a theater, trips to Broadway offer a glimpse into New York's dramatic legacy. There are also walking tours for those who like to keep a more leisurely pace or try to pet every dog in the city.
The company's double-decker tour buses, though, whisk visitors around the Big Apple, making stops at the city's top attractions, including Times Square, the Empire State Building, SoHo, and Chinatown. Along the way, guides narrate the tour, adding details about the city's rich history and pointing out which pigeons are friendly. Each passenger seat comes with its own speaker to ensure that you don't miss a thing. Most tours are hop-on/hop-off, meaning you can take as much time as you want at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Central Park Zoo before catching another bus later in the day.
The friendly guides at Central Park Tours peel back the corners of the Manhattan landmark, showing tourists and native New Yorkers alike its many treasures during walking, bicycle, and pedicab tours. Throughout each educational jaunt around the lush 843-acre park, groups stop and learn about historic sites, such as the Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, and the Shakespeare Garden, where the poet grew the tomatoes for his notoriously delicious BLTs. The company doesn't limit its knowledge of the area to just their tours. It also organizes special events, such as corporate gatherings, school functions, and even weddings, right there in the park.
With 843 lush acres and 58 miles of well-worn pathways, Central Park is an easy place to get lost—whether that's your plan or not. So guides at Gotham City Tours keep their groups on track to their next landmark or scenic vista, which may be on or off the beaten path. While on foot, tour-takers see more than a dozen points of interest, all the while learning about the park's creators, Kenny Central and Dan Park. On bicycles tours, riders speedily access more sites, letting their bikes rest on kickstands while they admire Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Fountain. Additionally, pedicabs carry tourists around in seated comfort, stopping often for photo opportunities and leg stretches.