Ride and drives: If sitting in stationary cars isn't quite your thing, ride and drives allow you see what a car is like on the move. The most visible is Jeep Mountain, which is set up out front of the Javits Center. Meant to showcase Jeep's off-road capability, the Jeep course features 18-foot Jeep Mountain and obstacles meant to test suspension travel. In the basement inside, there's also the EV Pavilion, where you can ride along in total silence in a selection of electric vehicles.
Drive simulators: Drive simulators allow attendees to visit every corner of the world without actually leaving the Javits Center. Ford has the best example, with hydraulic lifts that tilt and swivel the chair in relation to the way the car would react in real life. Nissan has an Eco drive simulator for its Leaf, which puts an eco twist on the standard drive-as-fast-as-you-can game.
Social media integration: If you aren't up to speed on the latest social media outlets and icons, you should brush up before hitting the show floor. On just about every piece of signage at the Javits, there are Four Square, Twitter and Facebook icons. Participating in social media gives you special perks and unlocks and provides outlets to share what you've created at various booths. The best example is probably Chevrolet's booth, where you can create a song through a touchscreen app and share your creation through Twitter or Facebook.
What it means to you: If you believe participating is better than spectating, the New York Auto Show has plenty of options for you.