Soar Over NYC at RiseNY, Featuring the Northeast’s First Flying Theater

Trust us—this is not just a cheesy tourist attraction

Replica of first Subway in RiseNY

Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel and RiseNY

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160 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036, USA
Phone +1 601-228-2201

As the biggest city in the United States, with more than eight million residents, there's no possible way you can see and do it all on a trip to the Big Apple. Depending on your trip's length (and budget), you might have to miss out on a Broadway show or skip over one of the city's iconic buildings. But, what if you could experience New York in its entirety in a little under an hour? Okay, maybe not its entirety, but there's a way to get pretty close.

Produced by Running Subway, a New York-based entertainment production company, RiseNY combines a mini-museum and a virtual reality-esque ride for those looking to learn more about the city.

The experience opened on March 2, and I jumped at the chance to check it out. The building is situated on 45th Street, in the heart of Times Square, but is only recognizable by the sign protruding from its front. Upon entry, I was hustled upstairs into a little waiting area where I could hear some of the music and audio from inside. Not long after that, an employee opened up a curtain for my group and me to step through, where we entered a recreation of the very first subway station. It was cute and realistic, from the wooden benches we sat on to the tile running up the wall. We were treated to a short film about New York City, where it started and is now, narrated by Jeff Goldblum.

Short film playing on wall in replica of first subway car

Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel and RiseNY

After the film ended, the screen changed to look like a subway tunnel, where an incoming train was approaching the station. It stopped on the wall to our left, and when the subway doors opened, the wall opened up and led into a fake subway car. Beyond that, was the beginning of the museum portion of the attraction.

There are seven themed areas to travel through; finance, skyline, TV and radio, fashion, music, Broadway, and film, highlighting some of New York City's most important contributions to their perspective themes. We were greeted with information about the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street in the finance section. In contrast, the skyline section offers replicas of some of the city's most famous buildings—definitely not to scale, but still impressively big. The TV and radio section shows off some of the city's most notorious shows and radio personalities—there was an entire wall of vintage radios and a recreation of the black and white "Honeymooners" kitchen.

Black and white "The Honeymooners" set in RiseNY

Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel and RiseNY

We got a tour of New York City fashion through the ages in the fashion section and saw some notable city natives in the music section, where there's a beautiful mural of Notorious B.I.G. on the wall, a Cardi B bodysuit, and Bob Dylan's guitar on display. The Broadway section is home to some of the most iconic on-stage costumes, such as the genie suit from "Aladdin." The film section offers highlight reels of some of the best New York City movies.

Mural of The Notorious B.I.G in RiseNY

Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel and RiseNY

It took me fewer than 45 minutes to walk through the entire museum. While it was engaging and produced some excellent photo opportunities, I already knew a lot of the information I read as someone pretty familiar with the city.

As we came to the end of the museum, we were ushered into a room and had a host welcome us to New Year's Eve in Times Square. We were led to an "elevator" and let out in a "control" room, where we watched a five-minute countdown before finally being escorted to our ride.

Feet dangling in the flying theater in RiseNY

Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel and RiseNY

The 46-seat flying theater is a first for the northeast, and a truly breathtaking experience, whether you're a New Yorker or just a tourist. The state-of-the-art, multi-sensory ride took us up about 30 feet and had us flying above the Big Apple, getting splashed by boats on the Hudson River, and crashing through skyscraper windows. The 180-degree, 40-foot projection dome displays 8K aerial footage that makes it feel like you're actually in the air, not to mention some of the other special effects that come into play, such as wind, water, and the motion of the moving seats.

"RiseNY will help remind New Yorkers why they love New York and will, hopefully, delight and inspire all visitors as they journey through some of the city's most iconic sites and moments," said James Sanna, president and CEO of Running Subway—and I'm inclined to agree. Even if museums aren't your thing, or you feel like you're a New York City expert, this attraction is worth checking out.

RiseNY is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays (excluding Tuesdays) and Sundays and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. You can purchase your tickets, which start at $21 for adults, on the RiseNY website. Anyone interested in the ride must be taller than 40 inches. The ride is not recommended for anyone who struggles with sensory experiences or anyone pregnant.

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Soar Over NYC at RiseNY, Featuring the Northeast’s First Flying Theater