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travelXculture: NYC & Company Launch ‘Virtual NYC’ To Encourage Digital Exploration of New York City

Screenshot 2020-04-01 at 6.26.15 PM

New York City– NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for the five boroughs of New York City—in partnership with, Department of Cultural Affairs and Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment—is highlighting ways to experience the City’s iconic cultural scene virtually, for those who may be seeking an escape in light of the current global Covid-19 situation. All information will be available via, which will be updated on a regular basis during this time. 

 “During this unprecedented time, New York City’s world-class tourism community is offering a wide-ranging virtual taste of the destination’s renowned cultural experiences. We encourage New Yorkers and would-be travelers alike to show support and embrace escapism through the currently available, online offerings of the City’s attractions, museums, performing arts venues and beyond,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon.

“New York City is home to the world’s most talented, committed, and diverse arts and entertainment community who continue to find ways to inspire us even in the most difficult times,” said Anne del Castillo, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “We’re proud to connect everyone to the best the creative capital has to offer and bring all of us together, even when we’re apart.”

“New York City is home to one of the greatest cultural communities on earth, and this community’s response to the unprecedented challenges we’re facing has been exactly what we need,” said Acting Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kathleen Hughes. “From streamed opera performances to arts education courses for youth, our city’s cultural community has moved their remarkable programming into the virtual realm, and continues to serve residents and engage audiences.”

From educational programs to critically-acclaimed independent films; soaring orchestral arrangements to inspired choreography; innovative theater to engaging visual arts; and digitized museum exhibitions to virtual neighborhood tours, there’s something for everyone interested in experiencing NYC from the comfort of their home. Examples include:

Image Credit: New York Public Library

Educational Programming

92Y @ Home

The iconic cultural and community center will continue to connect with audiences through archival and live-streamed performances, family-friendly activities and a virtual reading series. Further, diverse online crash-courses, talks and workshops (ranging from a blues guitar intro to a PhD-taught course on emotional intelligence), will keep the homebound-mind occupied. 

American Museum of Natural History 

By visiting the museum’s Explore page, children and children-at-heart can view educational videos and enjoy interactive activities that intend to foster investment in and passion for the natural world. 

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The museum is sharing “CMOM at Home,” interactive STEM activities for kids and families to enjoy through videos, sing-a-longs, games and more. Activities will be tweeted from @cmomNYC or parents can sign up here.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

On the new “Experience Intrepid Anywhere” section of the website, families can take a virtual tour of this World War II aircraft carrier, browse images of the artifacts on-board, watch interviews with former crewmembers and take advantage of educational resources.

Museum of the City of New York

With more than 200,000 items in the museum’s online collection, videos of dozens of recent programs available on its YouTube channel and more, the museum is continuing to spotlight the history of New York City.

The Museum of Illustration

The Society of Illustrators will continue to promote its mission with exhibits, panels, podcasts and children’s activities all hosted at the SI At Your Service section of its official website.

The New Victory Theater 

The theater is offering “New Victory Arts Break,” a weekly series of performing arts activities for children and parents to do together at home. Percussion and Just Move! have launched to-date.

New York Hall of Science

Families can continue to discover the world of STEM through a selection of free, NYSCI digital resources including online tutorials, interactive apps, web-based graphic novels, hands-on activities and instructional booklets.

New York Public Library

In addition to expanding the number of free e-books available on the e-reader app SimplyE, the library is expanding virtual offers with off-site access to popular research databases such as the New York Times, 1851-2016; Wall Street Journal, 1889-present; and more. Staff are also available Monday-Saturday (during normal business hours) to perform virtual consultations.

Photo Credit: Ken Brown


Colombian Film Festival New York

In response to its postponement, the director has arranged for three film screenings per week with English subtitles. Updates are posted on the Facebook page and links are available via streaming service Boonet.

Film Forum Presents Virtual Cinema

The venerable cinema has partnered with distributors Kino Lorber, Zeitgeist Films and Film Movement to present recent releases, an Oscar nominee for Best International Film and more.

ReelAbilities Film Festival

The ReelAbilities Film Festival, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. ReelAbilities will take place online from 31st March to 6th April. Virtual tickets, available free or low cost ($6), include a link to the film as well as interactive Q+As with filmmakers. 

Tribeca Film Festival 

Movie lovers can stay entertained by watching short-films from Tribeca Film Festival alumni posted to the website daily. Viewers can expect fan favorites from previous festivals, curated works and even some world premieres.

Women Make Movies

A virtual film festival commemorating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month highlights feminist films from across the globe. Initially launched for March, the organizers are seeking to extend its run.

Met Opera’s La Boheme. Photo Credit: Marty Sohl

Performing Arts

Ailey All Access

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is offering an online streaming series featuring full length performances, Ailey Extension dance classes and original short films created by the Ailey dancers, along with other specially created content.

All Arts
Available online or on TV in the tri-state area only, All Arts offers programming across dance, film, music, theater and additional visual arts. Launched in the summer of 2018 by NYC’s WNET (New York Public Media) there’s no better time to take advantage of its free and engaging art programming.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) 

For eight weeks, at 12:30 pm daily, CMS will release chamber music concerts from its 50-year archive on the ‘Watch & Listen’ section of the website, with a new theme each week. Web visitors can also enjoy concerts, lectures, master classes, ‘Meet the Music’ and the CMS National Radio Series.


This Downtown Brooklyn-based arts incubator, a staple in the community for 40+ years, is going virtual. Visitors to the website can now stream past performances from BRIC House and the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival for free. Donations to the Bric Creative Future Relief Fund are welcome.

The Joyce Theater
Considered the international leader in dance presentation, the foundation continues to advocate for the art form and support artists thanks to their podcast ‘Still Spinning”. Hosted on the non-profit organization’s website, episodes help listeners get closer to artistic directors of dance companies, choreographers and dancers as they navigate topics from inclusion, to processing grief and talking climate change, all through the power of dance.

The Metropolitan Opera

For the duration of its closure, the Met Opera will stream a different encore presentation of a top operatic performance nightly, with each video posted to the website at 7:30 pm and left up for 20 hours. 

New York City Ballet

City Ballet The Podcast features in-depth conversations with dancers, choreographers, orchestra members and more. Also worth tuning-in for, @tilerpeck (a Principal NYCB Dancer for over ten years), is helping aspiring dancers pass the time with free ballet classes on Instagram at 1 pm daily.

New York Philharmonic

#NYPhilPlaysOn will show past performances of the world-renowned symphony orchestra posted to Facebook every Thursday at 7:30 pm EST. The next rebroadcast will spotlight Act 1 of Wagner’s Die Walküre on April 2. 

Met Opera’s Lucia. Photo Credit: Ken Howard


The Actors Fund
Benefits for New York City’s beloved theatrical community are underway.

Stars in the House is being produced daily by SiriusXM’s Seth Rudetsky and his husband James Wesley. Mini-shows featuring Broadway stars stream live at, Playbill and at 2 pm and 8 pm, traditional showtimes. Stars announced include: Laura Benanti, Wayne Brady, Kristin Chenoweth, Gavin Creel, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara and many more beloved luminaries of the screen and stage.

Separately, the 25-Time Emmy Award® Winning “THE ROSIE O’DONNEL SHOW” returned for one night only, with appearances by celebrities like: Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, Gloria Estefan, Morgan Freeman, Neil Patrick Harris, Barry Manilow and others. The extravaganza now lives on and viewers can still donate funds.

The Amazing Max

The Amazing Max  

While this family-friendly, Off-Broadway magic show is on pause for now, fans can book 30-minute virtual magic lessons from the comfort of their homes. No special props required.

Broadway HD
This streaming platform helps locals and travelers access The Great White Way from afar. It is offering 7-day free trials to entertain and inspire theater lovers while stages are dark in New York City. A few of the productions in its library of hundreds include: Cats, Broadway’s dearly departed Kinky Boots, Lincoln Center Theater’s recent production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I and Sweeney Todd starring Angela Lansbury. 

Joe’s Pub Live! at The Public Theater
A free series of live-streamed and archived performances titled ‘Joe’s Pub Live!’ will helps theater enthusiasts maintain a connection to the Off-Broadway community. Optional donations can be made directly to featured artists, to help sustain theatrical innovators in this uncertain time.

Living Room Concerts

Broadway World’s e-newsletters and website are hosting daily, surprise performances by Broadway’s top talent. Cast members of Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Jagged Little Pill and more have already belted showtunes from the living room. Upcoming performers include: Telly Leung, Lesli Margherita, Renee Rapp, Erika Hennigsen, Stephanie J. Block and more.

National Yiddish Theater

The longest continuously producing Yiddish theater company (at Museum of Jewish Heritage) is streaming an online celebration of Yiddish culture on its website and Facebook page. Titled Folksbiene LIVE!, expect musical reviews, family story time, theatrical performance, talks and more events.

Queens Theatre

“Digital Story Circle” is a new, virtual opportunity for constituents to connect. The first conversation was facilitated by the director of community engagement. Twitter is a good source for updates on future Zoom chats. 

Alice Austen House. Photo Credit: Floto and Warner

Visual Arts

Alice Austen House 

This Staten Island museum, once home to a prominent, early female American photographer, showcases much of its collection online, including photographs and text describing the trailblazer’s life, activism and work. An intersectional new exhibition is currently being installed and will be viewable online in the coming weeks. “Powerful and Dangerous” will center on the writing and images of the black, lesbian, feminist activist Audre Lorde.

Brooklyn Museum

Each day, Brooklyn’s preeminent art museum will be sharing “Art for the Socially Distanced” on their Tumblr, spotlighting a piece from the collection and explaining why it was chosen. A daily #museummomentofzen at its best. 

The Frick Collection

With virtual tours, an art history library, video lectures and more available online and via the museum’s app, art buffs from around the world can continue to engage with the museum’s storied collection of more than 1,400 works of European sculpture and decorative arts.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The largest art museum in the United States has launched a digital digest bringing together catalogues from past exhibits, video series, digital archives of lectures, talks, performances and more. Highlights include: The Artist Project—a series of discussions reflecting on the Met’s collection of more than 470,000 works—MetCollects, a digital highlight of recent acquisitions, and Met 360, offering virtual tours. On social, interact using #MetAnywhere.

El Museo del Barrio

The “El Museo en Tu Casa” initiative across the cultural organization’s social platforms presents a selection of content including past performances, artist interviews, highlights from the museum’s Permanent Collection and more.

Museum of Modern Art

MoMA is inspiring art enthusiasts to #MuseumFromHome via a diverse array of inspiring and culturally relevant content across its social channels. Further, its digital publication Magazine will continue to be published and its 30+ episode BBC podcast titled “The Way I See It” remains accessible. Additionally, the museum offers a free online course “What Is Contemporary Art? that teaches participants about 70 pieces from their collection.

Neue Galerie

German and Austrian art will now be showcased online, such as in the current Madame D’Ora exhibition, curator interviews, audio guides and more

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 

Visitors to the museum’s Collection Online can browse more than 1,700 works by over 625 artists, while this recently-curated YouTube playlist dives into the multi-faceted process of creating an exhibition. Although the physical store is closed, the online shop boasts art-inspired puzzles, books and toys.

Whitney Museum of American Art

The contemporary art destination is encouraging patrons to #WhitneyFromHome. Its online collection offers an overview of more than 25,000 works from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries while Artport is an online portal to internet art. The exhibition archive offers digital access to past Whitney Biennials and even the recently-opened Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945 exhibit.

Whitney Building

More Ways To Engage

Arthur Avenue

Locals and visitors can enjoy a taste of the cultural destination that is The Bronx’s Little Italy thanks to famous pasta sauces now available for purchase online. Staple businesses in the community have also shared recipes of classic dishes for foodies to recreate at home, accessible here.

Empire State Building 

While its observatories are temporarily closed, the iconic skyscraper’s social media is current and its Earth Cam broadcasts views and signature lightings. 

New York Botanical Garden 

On the new NYBG at Home section of the website, visitors can view recent installations, browse horticulture lecture videos, join virtual events and more.


007XSPYSCAPE, the attraction’s new James Bond exhibition, can now be explored online, allowing franchise fans to experience original sketches, gadgets used in the film, new perspectives of classic scenes and more.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
The historic destination—emblematic of New York City’s rich history of welcoming immigrants from around the world—is inviting locals and visitors to embark on a genealogy journey. The online database of 65 million passenger records makes virtual passenger search a reality.

Turnstile Tours

Each day at 11 am, Turnstile Tours’ guides will host virtual versions of their expansive lineup of citywide tours. Virtual tours to-date have included “How It Works: The Brooklyn Army Terminal Atrium” which was accessible March 21 and “Hidden Treasures of Prospect Park” which debuted virtually March 22.

Organizers interested in being featured in NYC & Company’s online resource can submit details about their virtual event at


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