Just found out about the “Virtual NYC Tour” website, created with obvious love and attention by Taher Baderkhan. Using Google maps, a GPS and a digital camera, Taher has created a cool way of exploring the Greatest City on Earth via the web.
A Jordanian who came to New York in 1999, Taher has painstakingly documented the main thoroughfares of Manhattan by taking thousands and thousands of pictures:
Every trail consists of multiple points and each point has at least 4 pictures. I used my two years old Casio Exlim camera and my Garmin Etrex GPS device to take and log 4000+ pictures. I would stand in the middle of the street, take four pictures, start running to avoid cars, move another 30 feet and repeat the whole process. It took many hours…
The result is a detailed visual tour of Manhattan, from Ground Zero to Lincoln Center. While on one of the “tours” you can basically click on an intersection and turn left and right to see what’s on either side of the street. A description box gives highlights on what you are looking at, much of the text coming from wikipedia but also allowing you to submit your own comments and information. For example I submitted more detailed background on the United Nations sculpture garden.
Lots of descriptions should be well-known to any New Yorker. But did you know about the memorial to Duke Ellington created by sculptor Robert Graham dedicated in 1997 near Fifth Avenue and 110th Street (i.e. Duke Ellington Circle)? Or that the Hotel Pennsylvania was designed by McKim, Mead and White which also designed the former Penn Station? I didn’t think so.
One of these days, you will just have to point your cell phone at a building and a description of its history, attractions and Zagat rating will pop up on your screen. Until then, there’s “Virtual NYC Tour”. Check it out.