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  • Writer's pictureBlue Trunk

Explore New York: A Virtual and Accessible Tour

Welcome to the first in our series of virtual tourism blogs. We are excited to embark on this adventure with you and to make it a bit easier to travel around the world from the comfort of your own couch. A quick note before we dive in: we are new to this and are trying to make sure the content we suggest is accessible in different ways, but if you find barriers please reach out to us at and let us know so that we can improve!

Visit the Museums and Sites

New York is home to a plethora of museums, galleries, and historic sites. Curbed New York compiled a great list of museums (as well as other destinations, such as parks and libraries) providing virtual experiences. Two museums that stood out with features that were particularly accessible were the Whitney and their Whitney Access series of videos featuring American Sign Language, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) with their playlist of visual descriptions of select artwork. If you want to head outside, Central Park is a quintessential New York experience. They offer a virtual tour, which also has an ADA version.

Enjoy New York Performances

One of the highlights of a visit to New York is seeing a live show. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming a show nightly at 7:30pm EDT for free, each performance will be available for 23 hours. Subtitles are available for these streams. You can also watch these operas through on-demand streaming services, they note: “The streams are also available through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV. To access them without logging in, click “Browse and Preview” in the apps for connected TV, and “Explore the App” on tablets and mobile devices.”

If you’re more interested in dance, The New York City Ballet has taken their spring season online. Each week they are streaming two ballets for free, released Tuesday and Friday at 8pm EDT. Each ballet will be available for viewing for 72 hours on YouTube, Facebook, and the New York City Ballet homepage. Captions are available for the introduction, but there is no dialogue during the ballet. Combining the arts of music and dance is the world-famous Broadway. Although not free, Broadway enthusiasts can enjoy a streaming service called BroadwayHD, which does have a 7-day free trial to access content. According to their help section closed captioning is available for select shows, but not all. Some of the shows with captions include classics such as Kiss Me Kate, Kinky Boots, Cats, and An American in Paris.

Tune in to Shows About New York

There are numerous shows and movies about New York, and the ones we list here will just scratch the surface. For a dive into the culinary scene of New York City we recommend Somebody Feed Phil: New York, available on Netflix. It is the last episode of the second season. This show has both captions and audio description available. If you are more interested in the history of New York, American Experience: New York, an 8-part series that covers the city’s history from 1609-2003, is available to Amazon Prime customers. This series has captions, but no audio description. PBS offers Treasures of New York, “a documentary series exploring New York City's premier cultural establishments.” This PBS series is available online for free. The videos have captions, but not audio description.

Get Lost in New York Books

New York has been the setting for many classic books, from the Catcher in the Rye, to The Great Gatsby, to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Penguin Random House compiled a list of 31 must-read New York City books. Of these all but one are available on Kindle, and 27 of the 31 are available on Audible. One of the books on the list, Invisible Man, is on Rupa’s shortlist of books to read. The Penguin House list includes both fiction and nonfiction titles, if you are more interested in nonfiction only this list from Bustle recommends 11 titles. Of these all but one are available on Kindle, and two are available on Audible. Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers caught Claire’s eye because of her love of maps and social science. [find which ones are audible and kindle]

Bring New York to Your Kitchen

If you’re craving some New York classic meals why not bring them to your own kitchen? For a classic pizza dough recipe check out this New York Times recipe, adapted from Roberta’s. For gluten free options, check out this recipe from Carla’s Gluten Free Recipe Box or this recipe from King Arthur Flour. New York cheesecake is rich, dense, and creamy. To try your hand at making a cheesecake at home check out Simply Recipes’ recipe, and for allergen sensitive versions try out The Spruce Eats’ recipes for gluten-free cheesecake and dairy-free cheesecake.

Where to Next?

Thanks for wandering New York with us virtually! Join us next time as we explore London, including theater at Shakespeare’s Globe and a tour of the Tower of London.


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