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Zalman Silber | SightSeeingRides.com Zalman Silber | SightSeeingRides.com

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No New York sight-seeing would be complete without the ultimate tour: The Skyride at the Empire State Building. The brainchild of serial entrepreneur Zalman Silber, it’s so obvious you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it yourself! What it is, is a virtual tour of the city narrated by actor Kevin Bacon in surround-sound as guests lay back in ergonomically designed seats on a special mobile platform featuring kinetic feedback synchronized with the high-definition video. More than thirty locations throughout the Big Apple are explored through aerial fly-bys, from de rigueur visits to the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge to slightly lesser-known sights that help out-of-towners discover the New York of everyday residents. The whole half-hour ride also features two opening programs that outline the history of the Empire State Building itself in addition to surveying all the other things there are to do in the city.

And speaking of the Empire State Building, the Skyride offers special combination tickets that provide holders with special expedited access to the top floor, bypassing many of the lines thanks to the Fast Track Program. Here’s a tip, though: You should go through the Skyride first before proceeding to the observatory deck of the Empire State Building. While it is possible to go to the top first, you won’t be able to get the benefit of the Fast Track Program because you will have to start your journey from the ground floor, instead of from the Skyride!

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So what’s the take-away? Well, it’s very similar to other theme park rides of its kind, but it is also a very New York kind of ride, too, an introduction to New York in itself even outside of its programming due to the ethnic diversity of its staff as well as taking place in one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. This popular attraction is available every single day of the year, with slightly curtailed hours during Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Open for business from eight in the morning until ten at night, the New York Skyride is a multimedia experience suitable for all audiences, including young children. That does not include, however, babies and toddlers, as everyone needs to be properly seated (no sitting on laps allowed, for obvious safety reasons) and so guests must be a minimum of three feet high. Generally speaking, early in the morning and lunchtime is the best, least busy time to visit, though naturally this rule of thumb can vary.