Review: RiseNY A Soaring Journey Through New York

By Gianna Abruzzo, Creator, Our Play Patches January 24, 2023

At the end of the RiseNY experience, visitors buckle up for a super fun roller-coaster-style ride flying above, around, and through a virtually-enhanced tour of New York City’s most iconic sites.  Our family was thrilled with this ride, and we were also happy to find that leading up to this finale was an informative exploration of New York City's history.

We experienced RiseNY in three parts. We first entered a replica of City Hall train station, sat on the familiar wooden benches in the station, and watched a brief introductory movie about the growth and “rise” of New York City through history. The historical photos and film clips kept our interest, and we learned many interesting facts, including the history of Times Square and the New Year’s Eve ball drop. The RiseNY experience is in the heart of Times Square, making the film particularly relevant. At the end of the film, as the train rumbles into Times Square, a pizza rat is spotted on the platform slinking away.

The main section of the experience is a series of seven galleries that explore New York City history through lenses of finance, the skyline, fashion, entertainment, and more. Galleries are co-sponsored by City cultural institutions, such as the Museum of American Finance and the Museum at FIT. There are many placards to read, and there are many QR codes that provide audio descriptions, as well. Selfie opportunities include replicas of a late-night talk show host desk, a DJ’s record-spinning station, and more. We spotted a few real historical artifacts like a collection of original radios, one of Madonna’s leather jackets, and Bob Dylan’s hand-written song lyrics. We took a break to watch a video about the history of New York City fashion from the time of sweatshop sewing factories to current designer influences and trends. And while we waited to enter the final experience, we enjoyed watching a montage of New York City scenes from movies throughout history.

The final ride is an immersive experience that brings visitors to the New Year’s Eve ball drop at Times Square. A group is ushered into a “freight elevator” (as part of the show), to a waiting room where the story of the New Year’s Eve countdown continues on screen, and then onto the ride. Visitors strap into the seats and hover in the air over a huge IMAX-like screen. In the flight-simulator experience, the ride tilts and rotates, water sprays and wind blows. Anyone who is claustrophobic, afraid of heights, or easily gets motion sickness may want to skip the ride. (Also note, children must be 40 inches to ride).  But our family had a blast, and it reminded us of all the amazing sites that we are lucky enough to live among in our daily lives.    

We recommend this attraction to both New York City residents and tourists alike. Some visitors may rush through to take a few selfies on the way to the ride, but we found that taking our time and learning more about our city made the experience worthwhile.

RiseNY is open daily except Tuesdays. Tickets are $30 children, $34 adults (ages 13+). 


Gianna Abruzzo is a Brooklyn-born mom of three daughters living in Lower Manhattan. You can find her family downtown and around town, exploring new playgrounds, treat spots, and NYC’s diverse arts and culture. Follow her on Instagram.