My Visit to RiseNY by Robin Gorman Newman


Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

As a native New Yorker, I have long enjoyed what the city has to offer, so when I heard of RiseNY and was invited to visit, I seized the opportunity.

RiseNY, a new attraction in NYC that opened last month, is an immersive love letter to the Big Apple that pays tribute to the beloved city through exhibit, film and ultimately a ride that lifts you off your feet, literally.

Located at 160 West 45th Street – between 6th and 7th Avenues, it is well situated in the Times Square/Theatre District area, to conveniently catch the eye of both tourists and ardent New Yorkers.

The visit begins when you take the elevator up, and you find yourself in a re-creation of the city’s first subway station where you watch a brief film about NYC’s global impact by award-winning documentarians Ric Burns and James Sanders, and narrated by actor Jeff Goldblum. As the film ends, a present-day simulated subway car transports you to the galleries that showcase the pop-culture evolution of NYC and its worldwide impact.

Each of the seven themed galleries – Finance, Skyline, TV/Radio, Fashion, Music, Broadway and Film – highlight historical events, inventions, and people that helped those industries “rise” along with the global prominence of New York City. The galleries also feature audio guides recorded by experts from each of the respective cultural partners, as well as NYC flyover maps that illustrate places of note to visit in the city.

Some of the cool gallery items include Madonna’s hand-painted Keith Haring jacket, Bruce Springsteen’s guitar used to write “Born to Run,” Ringo Starr’s Beatles’ 1964 U.S. Tour drumhead, and Bob Dylan’s guitar gifted by John Lennon. Also on display are the Notorious B.I.G.’s worn tracksuit, Cardi B’s bodysuit, The Village People full costumes, Public Enemy’s “M.P.E” handwritten lyrics and Chuck D’s fitted “Pirates” cap.

Visitors can have fun on a black and white re-creation of “The Honeymooners” kitchen and pretend interview friends and family from behind the desk on a late night talk show set. Also on display are costumes from popular TV shows set in NY, including “Seinfeld,” “Sex and the City” and a talking Oscar the Grouch puppet (courtesy of Sesame Street). Additional highlights include a collection of classic radios through the years along with audio of the most key moments in NYC radio history, as well as wall-to-wall reels of iconic New York City movies.

Also taking center stage are Beyonce’s Bill Blass-designed gown and costumes from Broadway musicals “Hamilton,” “Aladdin,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King.” Among other highlights are an Alexander Hamilton statue commissioned by his son and a Hamilton signed check, a replica of the New York Stock Exchange Bell to ring, models of NYC’s most famous skyscrapers, and a catwalk of dresses that chronicle NYC fashion from the 1880s through the present day.

After making your way thru the exhibits on two floors, you find yourself on a line for the most memorable part of the visit. RiseNY’s  multi-sensory flying theater that takes riders on a sky-high tour of the Big Apple.  Once on board and lifted 30 feet into the air, you hang suspended, feet dangling, while inside a 180-degree, 40-foot projection dome featuring footage that simulates the sensation of flight.  NYC and the northeast’s first-ever flying theater features a 46-seat ride with full motion seats dip, while wind, mist and scents contribute to the (around six minute) experience. A soundtrack featuring Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” and Frank Sinatra’s “Theme From New York” plays, as you turn and soar and journey over and through the skyline, landmarks and notable events.

Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

RiseNY is created and produced by Running Subway – a New York-based entertainment production company – in partnership with cultural institutions, Broadway shows and individuals that serve as co-curators of their respective exhibit galleries. They include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Museum of American Finance, Museum of Broadcast Communications & Radio Hall of Fame, The Museum at FIT, Skyscraper Museum, Tribeca Festival, and David Bushman, former head curator at The Paley Center. RiseNY donates a portion of proceeds from ticket sales to each of the partner institutions.

RiseNY is made possible with the continued collaboration and support of the partner cultural institutions as well as flying theater manufacturer Brogent Technologies, Ric Burns’ Steeplechase Films, real estate developer Bow Tie Partners, event ticketing partner ShowClix, JRM Construction Management, and Gotta Have It Collectibles.

It is open daily except Tuesdays. Hours are from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Last tickets are sold 60 minutes prior to closing.

Tickets start at $24.00. Special prices are also available for children (under 12 years of age), seniors (65+), students (with student ID) and veterans and acting members of the military.  Special savings for groups of 10 or more with advanced reservations.  There is a VIP ticket which helps get you onto shorter lines, both to enter the attraction and get on the ride.  If for any reason you want to skip the ride, that may be arranged.

There is also a small gift shop with RiseNY logo-themed items.

The visit takes about 1 – 1.5 hours, and it can get crowded.  When I was there, a large group of students came in, and despite having a designated time slot, it was still quite busy.

As with any new attraction, they have some kinks to work out…particularly in terms of having more staff around to answer questions and let VIP pass holders know there is a VIP line for the ride.  And, to also advise that when you suddenly find yourself on a line after visiting the exhibits, it’s for the ride.  This was not evident, and I didn’t love being in a crowd, particularly given that mask wearing is optional at this time.

Ultimately, it was a unique experience, and I appreciated the upbeat vibe of presenting New York and how it’s persevered and grown over the decades.  This was particularly telling in light of the Pandemic and how the city has suffered in the last couple of years. NYC will indeed “rise” above, as it always does.

For more information, visit www.riseny.co.

 

Note: I was offered press passes, but all opinions are my own.

 

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