Taking NYC tourists for 'The Ride'

On On "Experience: The Ride," a new bus tour of New York City, visitors might spot dancers performing "The Nutcracker" in Columbus Circle. Photo Credit: The Washington Post

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Only in New York would a man undressing in the middle of midtown Manhattan not cause a stir.

As the guy on the sidewalk ripped off his trousers to reveal "I (heart) New York" boxers, two women walking right past him never interrupted their conversation.

Visitors to Manhattan can watch this scene unfold from a bus - one outfitted with 3,000 LED lights and three rows of stadium seats. This is "The Ride," a new theater production in which all of midtown Manhattan is the stage.

UNEXPECTED SHOW

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Part city tour, part improv show, and part street theater, the 41/2-mile, 75-minute ride departs from the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square aboard a bus with a transparent wall.

More than a dozen performers are stationed along the route to sing, dance, juggle or simply act goofy. At 2 p.m. on a recent day, the streets were packed with shoppers and tourists. That's how you want to experience "The Ride," because the actions of everyday New Yorkers are as funny as those of the performers.

On one street, three police officers broke into a dance and waved. In front of the Charmin Restrooms on Broadway, a woman wearing a plastic toilet seat costume started dancing with a man in a puffy purple jacket as he sang a rap song.

At Military Island, at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, a man dressed as a World War II sailor bent over a woman in a nurse's uniform and kissed her, re-creating the famous 1945 Alfred Eisenstaedt photograph. At Columbus Circle, where a ballerina in a pink tutu and her partner danced to music from "The Nutcracker," a group of teenagers broke into a synchronized hip-hop dance that somehow blended with the ballet.

Who was a performer, and who was a spectator? It was hard to tell sometimes, especially in a city where a walking Elmo outside a Times Square store is not such a rarity.

INFO "The Ride" runs daily. Tickets are $59-$65, 866-299-9682, experiencetheride.com.

 

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