9 Virtual Tours to Experience NYC From Home

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday July 20, 2020

Whether one lives in or near New York City, or might be planning a trip to the sprawling metropolis, these days, it is a challenge to get out and enjoy all the city has to offer.

From museums that celebrate a myriad of heritage and cultural traditions, to landmarks of history, art and entertainment; from educating us on all that NYC's various boroughs have to offers, to natural settings located within this large urban space, a wealth of the city's attractions are all available at our fingertips. Until the pandemic is over, NYC Virtual Field Trips offer much to discover and explore online.

Here are nine of EDGE's favorite picks:

New York Botanical Garden
In addition to Appreciation Week, from July 21-26, and the Public Opening on July 28 (with a face-covering requirement), the garden offers through its NYBG at Home for Kids & Families program, a three-day Summer Mini-Camp, July 28-30, for school age kids in grades 3-5, offering education on plants, nature and cooking. Registration is $110 for non-members, and $100 for members.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Presented by the Smithsonian Learning Lab, LGBTQ+ Histories in Jewelry Design is an informative and educational exhibit on influential designers such as Art Smith and Aric Verrastro, and features models such as Sasha Velour and Billy Porter.

The Jewish Museum
Offering virtual and mobile tours, an online collection and at-home art projects for families, the website is packed with content. Virtual tours are available to groups of Pre-K—12 educators, with the intent of providing support for teaching and curriculum development. Educators may also take their classes on a virtual tour (25 participants or fewer is recommended, at $100 per group), which includes a discussion and activities with materials students likely already have at home.

Levy's Unique New York!
Where is the best pizza in Brooklyn? How about museums and cultural institutions? Specifically designed for educators and those who lead student tour groups, this guide provides information and fun facts about Brooklyn, the most populous boroughs in New York City, and as Levy's website states, "one of the most diverse, historic and influential places in the world."

[READ MORE: NYC Launches Curator Collection]

Top of the Rock
That expansive, vast NYC skyline is unlike any other in the US. Top of the Rock offers a virtual observation deck tour of the city, with 360-degree views — from Central Park and through Midtown and down across the water toward New Jersey. Top of the Rock is another venue in this list that provides virtual education resources for both teachers and students.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Missing the thrill of seeing live dance performances in the theater? On its website, through Ailey All Access, this legendary dance company is offering video performances, as well as a series called "The Show Must Go On," where dancers from the company are finding ways to remain active and creative. The site also includes a guide for educators, with suggestions for classroom activities, additional resources and more.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum In lieu of visiting the emotionally moving physical site, this virtual museum offers a history of the attacks on NYC, the lingering impact, as well as a history of the World Trade Center itself. The 9/11 Museum also offers interactive lesson plans for grades 3-11.

National Museum of the American Indian
A rich history of North America's native people, this museum educates and provides perspectives on diverse indigenous cultures. The museum's Native Knowledge 360° also offers educational materials and online lessons.

Louis Armstrong House Museum
An icon of popular music culture, Louis Armstrong was a trailblazing, pre-eminent jazz trumpeter and vocalist. Also known as "Satchmo," "Satch" and "Pops," Armstrong is the recognizable voice of hits such as "What a Wonderful World" and his version of "Hello, Dolly!" from the musical of the same name. In his vast and rich catalogue, he recorded two landmark albums with fellow jazz icon, Ella Fitzgerald. This museum offers much in the way of digital collections, virtual exhibits and more. A great place to learn more about this American treasure.

For more information on these and other tours, visit NYC Virtual Field Trips.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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