Some of the best views afforded visitors by the Empire State Building can actually be found on its second floor. That's where NY Skyride's virtual skyline tours take place. Guests gather upon a large, moving platform that drifts in sync with footage projected onto an 18-foot high definition screen. The experience brings visitors up close to the highest peaks of architecture the city has to offer. The virtual tour explores three dozen famed landmarks within 30 minutes, while narration by actor Kevin Bacon points out interesting facts about each sight, such as its historical significance or how many degrees away from it he is.
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.
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.
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.
The Scholastic Store meshes storytime and playtime, sneaking play spaces and interactive kiosks in between stacks of popular children's titles. In Clifford the Big Red Dog's comfy doghouse, parents and kids equipped with toys, books, and pretend play items act out classic Clifford tales, such as Clifford Goes to Law School, before skipping off hand in hand with a Clifford audio book ($9.95). Burgeoning bookworms can schedule bookstore visits to coincide with in-store events to take advantage of free author readings and thrice-weekly storytimes.