I got a chance to explore briefly the new Virtual Harlem sim last night (teleport link), the latest in a number of New York City recreations in Second Life. The brainchild of Dr. Bryan Carter, an assistant literature professor at Central Missouri State University, Virtual Harlem is a "collaborative learning initiative whose purpose is to study the New
York Harlem Renaissance through the construction of a collaborative
virtual-reality scenario that represents Harlem as it existed in the
1920s and 30s." Still in development, visitors to the sim can see a three-square-block slice of Harlem during its heyday, including the Savoy Ballroom, the Cotton Club, the Apollo Theater, and the Cotton Club.
Certainly seems like a great application of virtual 3D technologies — creating an immersive experience of a historic period complete with period imagery, photos, sounds, music, and architecture. I’d love to see Virtual Harlem incorporate a space to commemorate how lindy hop was invented and developed in Harlem, in parallel to the height of the swing era. How awesome would it be to get Frankie Manning and other period dancers to talk about their experiences in Harlem at an event in the sim?
Virtual Harlem joins a number of other New York locales that have been recreated in SL. Other New York-centric sims (some now gone):
- Gossip Girl’s Upper East Side
- Virtual CSI:NY
- I Am Legend : Survival (post-apocalyptic New York)
- NYC Sim (teleport link)
- New New York (teleport link)
- Rockefeller Center
- Greenwich Village (teleport link)
- Another Greenwich Village (teleport link)
- And a third Greenwich Village (teleport link)
- Versu Richelieu’s Midtown
For more information about Virtual Harlem, IM Bryan Carter’s Second Life counterpart Bryan Mnemonic.