Rise New York

Have you ever been on the Disney ride “Soarin'”? It started out as “Soarin’ over California” at Disneyland’s California Adventure Park, and then a duplicate was installed at Disney World in Florida. You sit in a large device that simulates the experience of hang gliding while watching a large-format screen, originally showing scenes of different places in California, synching the visuals, movement, and even scents to create a sensory experience that I quite enjoy. (The visuals have been changed to fit the concept of soaring over the world, and now the ride in both American parks simulates flying over the Taj Mahal, an island in Fiji, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great Wall of China, etc. There are also different versions of the ride now in Disney Parks in Tokyo and Shanghai which I have not yet experienced, but I digress . . .) Why am I discussing this Disney ride on a blog primarily about NYC? The answer is because there is a new venue in the Times Square area that culminates in what I can only accurately describe as “Soarin’ over New York City.” Well, of course I had to try it, and here is what I experienced.

Rise NY is located at 160 W 45th St, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, and is open every day beginning at 10 AM, until 8PM on most nights but until 9PM on Fridays and Saturdays. There are timed tickets available in advance, and walk-up tickets subject to availability. Although I went primarily for the ride, I was interested in the walk through history of New York, with a focus on Times Square, that was more extensive than I had guessed in advance.

After a simulated subway ride with introductory video, you walk through the initial history of the city and then through exhibits related to specific themes.

I hadn’t fully appreciated the importance of the development of the elevator brake to the development of Manhattan as we now know it, with skyscrapers, but it makes a lot of sense!

After an interesting display about the skyline, the next exhibit related to the entertainment industry, specifically television.

Given my own special interest in Broadway, I really enjoyed seeing the room devoted to its importance to NYC, with costumes and videos.

There were also areas devoted to the iconic Beatles performance at the Ed Sullivan show, the music scene including the Village People, and NYC in the movies (all video so I didn’t take photos).

After all these displays, the set-up for “Soarin’ over NYC” (OK, not its actual name but I can’t seem to think of it as anything else!). You go back in time to see the ball drop in Times Square in 1958 (although the ball has been dropped there since 1907, these were the early days of it being televised nationally).

Entering “Sky Studio,” we find ourselves in the same kind of simulator used for “Soarin'” with our items stowed – so once I had done that, I had no more photos of the experience.

Basically in the film accompanying the simulation, we are first watching the ball drop in the past. But a storm is coming! Lightning hits our perch and – wait for it – we travel forward in time and soar among the skyscrapers and icons of New York City. It’s fun, no doubt about it, if over in only a few minutes.

Is it worth going if you live here? I say yes but then again, I do everything! I learned a few things in the exhibit, and truly enjoyed the ride portion even if it is short. The price for this varies depending on the date, time, and whether you get VIP tickets (really just a “jump the line” pass), but count on about $30 for an adult with no discounts in 2022. This would be a fun thing to take visitors to when they come to NYC – you can do it all in about an hour, and it’s near Broadway theaters so you could fit it in before or after taking your guests to a show. And if you aren’t a New Yorker, I think this would be an enjoyable addition to a trip to NYC (just don’t forget to check out one of the observatories in the city, like Summit at One Vanderbilt, or the Edge at Hudson Yards). And if you are consumed with wondering what it would be like to hang glide over New York City, I am confident that this is a much more enjoyable – and safer! – alternative.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s