As you may or may not know, I no longer live in NYC. After 23 years (21 of those in the same apartment), I moved overseas and have been training my Gotham Girl eye on the UK and Europe ever since. But this doesn’t mean I don’t miss my NYC weekends. Sometimes I get a wee bit homesick for long walks through Hudson Park and I miss popping into the Metropolitan Museum of Art simply because I happen to be walking past. Luckily the internet has an answer for that – and I don’t even have to go through airport security to get there
My intention is to visit whenever I can – catch up with friends, see what’s worth seeing at my old haunts. But it’s not the same as being able to just wake up and decide to wander over to see what’s what in the Central Library Rotunda. That said – a darned good placeholder for that feeling is doing a virtual weekend. I skype with friends (time zones mean they are having coffee while I have a quick bite of lunch – sort of like brunch) and then I “wander” over to the Met or the NYPL to see what’s there. And virtual wandering is now more like an actual visit than ever. It’s more than just going to a museum’s website or their “online gallery” space. Now social media savvy institutions have a range of media channels – You Tube, Pintrest, Facedbook, Twitter – in addition to their online home. What this means for the virtual visitor is a more robust, more “just like being there” visit. Of course it’s not JUST like being there but I have to be honest – in some ways, I like it better. No crowds, no worry about whether I can get to the lecture in time.
I’ll still be heading to these places when I get back but I don’t have to miss them quite so much thanks to the links below.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – yes, one of the most famous and most often visited museums in the world. Also just a short walk from home for much of my time in Manhattan. For two years, I was 2 blocks from this iconic spot and even when I moved, I was only 12 blocks or so. I was there constantly and I still am in many ways, thanks to the Met’s array of online outlets. Quite apart from their presence on the social media channels – for the virtual visitor, the wonderful MetMedia section of their website is NOT to be missed.
The New York Public Library not only houses one of the most beautiful reading rooms in the world, they stage some of the best exhibits in the city and do it extraordinarily well. I’ve given their YouTube channel a big thumbs up previously and it’s still awesome. But the truth is that they have made the library, its spaces and its collections accessible across so many channels that I’ve seen and experienced more of the NYPL since I left than I did when I lived in NYC.
The Guggenheim in New York has an impressive array of online communities and channels to keep folks informed about exhibits, to engage in conversations about art in public spaces, demonstrate a bit of what goes on “behind the scenes” – even keep note of changes on their cafe menus. A full list can be found here on their website. I encourage you to check them out. Not only because the Guggenheim is worth a visit, virtual or otherwise – but because it’s great to see a venerable institution go full throttle with robust use of social media . In the meantime, some of the outlets for the main museum are:
The High Line, which I first walked the day after it opened and which I have walked many days since, really owes much of its existence to the social media savvy folks behind it. They shot videos, showed the potential, spread the word and got people excited. People became invested with the idea being presented and updates and progress reports were regularly put up so the folks who were excited stayed that way. Now – with the opening of the last segment, the High Line’s online presence remains strong so while I can’t always be there to wake in the changes and the views in person – I can keep up with what they are doing, who they are hosting and take a “stroll” of my own.
Another of my favorite parks is Hudson River Park. It is, according to its website, at 5 miles the longest waterfront park in the United States – a fact I didn’t know but my feet probably could have told me as I’d walked the length of it several times. It used to be a string of decaying piers, municipal storage areas and parking lots on the west side. Now it is a place to walk, picnic, play, explore, cycle, kayak, run, eat, visit and enjoy. There are has rarely been money SO well spent on a public space.
Even places like the Empire State Building (a regular stop for me whenever showing guests about town), have taken to a bit of online outreach. Bonus? Looking on their facebook page, I now know what the various colors on various nights means. I knew the OBVIOUS ones but sometimes you can’t help wonder.
More to come soon – including more parks, restaurants, and other places one might find me on any given weekend in NYC