David W. Chien is the creator and producer of the Ride of Fame, a series of mobile monuments in NYC honoring public figures and celebrities who have put NYC on the map. Double-decker buses from Gray Line NY/CitySightseeing NY are decked out decals from the celebrities giving visitors and locals in NYC a chance to get close and personal with celebrities, even though it’s simply decals on a bus! We first learned about Ride of Fame through social media, and wanted to learn from the Ride of Fame creator how this program came into place. This interview was by far one of our favorite episodes on the show, and the 1-hour 52-minute episode length is testament to the amazing insights Mr. Chien provided about Ride of Fame and the impact the program has had on NYC.
Film & Entertainment Meets Buses, Celebrities, and Tourism in NYC
This episode is a whirlwind, as we dive into Mr. Chien’s background on the west coast as an aspiring screenwriter to his migration to the east coast working in advertising. Mr. Chien discusses how Ride of Fame was not an immediate hit with upper management, but over time the program flourished and Mr. Chien discusses the social impact this program has for public figures and visitors. 60M visitors are projected to come to NYC this year, and chances are many of them will ride one of the buses Mr. Chien oversees.
We discuss the challenges of driving a double-decker bus through one of the most populated cities in the world, Mr. Chien’s most memorable honorees (Cyndi Lauper, Patrick Stewart, Rachael Ray, LL Cool J), and even the notion of alternate universes! One of the great things about this podcast is we get to explore a plethora of topics beyond travel, and Mr. Chien definitely dives into other issues such as the shootings in Orlando, a game on his phone that has caught his attention, and his favorite song. Enjoy!
Some of the books, movies, and tools mentioned in this episode:
- Air Supply
- Marvel Contest of Champions
- Second Life
- Lenny Kravitz
- John Legend
- 11 Madison Park
- Stranger by Electric Light Orchestra
- Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop
- Public Figures Mentioned
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