In August, a ridiculously overpriced pop-up ferris wheel briefly took up residency in Times Square, offering New Yorkers the "once in a lifetime experience" of seeing pixelated billboards advertising Real Housewives spinoffs from 110 feet in the sky. If that wasn't quite your cup of tea but you're still looking for a completely random reason to visit Midtown, you're in luck, because there's a brand new Times Square attraction that will only send you 30 feet into the air.
RiseNY is the museum-slash-theme-park-style-ride of your dreams, if your dream is to explore the sights of NYC while in a random room in Midtown. The centerpiece of this attraction is the city's first-ever flight simulation ride, a 46 seat "flying theater" which lifts visitors 30 feet into the air so their feet can dangle while "they glide over NYC’s iconic skyline and landmarks while inside a 180-degree, 40-foot projection dome featuring 8K aerial footage that creates the sensation of flight."
So instead of visiting those NYC landmarks in person, you can instead choose to be bombarded with "wind, mist and scents" while your ears are forced to ingest a soundtrack headlined by Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” and Frank Sinatra’s “Theme From New York,” which the company says in a press release "will further evoke the quintessential spirit of NYC."
And since the "quintessential spirit" of Times Square is one of Disneyfication, this totally checks out — “I was inspired after riding ‘Soarin’ Over California’ in Disneyland with my son, and always thought, wouldn’t it be amazing to fly over and around NYC?” said James Sanna, President and CEO of NY-based entertainment company Running Subway, which created and produced the ride. “And, now, over a decade later, we’ve been able to tap into the latest technology and advancements to create an experience unique to the city I love.”
Before you get to soar through a digital recreation of places that are just outside the little room, places that you could literally walk to if you wanted, you first watch a film on NYC history narrated by Jeff Goldblum and directed by documentarians Ric Burns and James Sanders.
It starts in a recreation of the city’s first subway station at City Hall circa 1904, which to their credit is not somewhere people could visit in real life, and ends in a present-day subway car, which is a place people can visit—and use!—in real life. Then there are a series of seven galleries–with themes like "Finance, Skyline, TV/Radio, Fashion, Music, Broadway and Film"–that include some historic artifacts and memorabilia, like Madonna’s custom Keith Haring jacket, Bruce Springsteen’s original guitar that he used to write “Born To Run,” and a statue of Alexander Hamilton commissioned by his son.
RiseNY, located at 160 West 45th Street, opens on December 15th, and will be open every day except Tuesdays. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets for RiseNY cost $24, which is the equivalent of 12 hot dogs from street carts, eight subway rides, or a large pizza pie from many of the city's finest pizzerias. You can get more ticketing info here.