This March The Avenue Magazine ran an article detailing the various wonders of our New York City sim.
As featured in The Avenue Magazine
Written by: Umberto Giano
Photographed by: Brie Wonder
We are the city that never sleeps. We are the fashion capital of SL. We are cultivators, taste makers and collectors of all things cool. We are NEW YORK CITY SL
New York City in SL?? That’s right, the Big Apple is now on the grid, and while it isn’t an exact replica of the real life Gotham, New York City SL more than captures the feel, energy and excitement of its namesake, with tall stately high rises and the never ending traffic of residents and visitors alike, milling about park spaces and sidewalks, shopping elegant stores or just commuting home. New York City SL represents the commercial, entertainment and residential aspects of New York at its very best.
This is a clean, safe New York, brimming with energy and potential, replete with chic commercial builds, hosting glamorous design houses, adorned by elegant ornamental entrances and, of course, sophisticated brownstones, ideally suited for urban living, situated along tree-lined avenues. At night, as the sun sets, the activity only intensifies as the UNDERGROUND SESSIONS crank up at the SoHo Warehouse, where the NEW YORK SOUNDS mix music live and mingle with “the most talented poets, writers, producers, and musicians on the grid” in badass weekly events that make this Second Life metropolis, like its moniker, a city that never sleeps.
Adding authenticity to this virtual borough are landmarks, easily recognizable by real life New Yorkers, such as the Holland Tunnel and the Promenade as well some of New York’s most well-known neighborhoods and thoroughfares: from SoHo and the Upper West Side to Park Avenue and Canal. New York City SL provides the perfect setting for all to “live and thrive,” which are precisely the words at the forefront of New York City SL owner Joi Price’s mind when planning this virtual community.
Drawing from her own experience as a native New Yorker, Price returned to SL from a sabbatical in the spring of 2011 with a “creative itch” to create New York City themed builds for her architecture line “The Apple Architects.” Joi confides, “That idea quickly transformed as I acquired this sim and the nostalgia to recreate my favorite aspects of the real New York City emerged. The idea was to create a lifestyle sim where working, living and playing effortlessly merge together.”
Finding a lack of such places in Second Life, Price became determined to fill this essential void. “Unfortunately, well built sims tend to only be role play and what I wanted to create was the opposite of that,” explains Price. “New York City SL is a ‘Real Play’ sim that encourages visitors from all walks of life to explore and be themselves. I aim for it to be a melting pot. To bring people together, even if they decide just to be commuters. It embodies all aspects of the opportunities that a city can bring, for fun, for experiences, and for commerce.”
Without a formal background in architecture, Price admits it was a challenge at times to arrange all the various elements and meld them together, and adds, “The price of building a fully rendered sim can be taxing on computers without high graphics specs.”
Despite the challenges, the result of Joi’s endeavors speaks for itself. New York City SL is both visually stunning and unparalleled in detail. Each building within this virtual city – each creation – is an amazing piece of art finished with beautiful textures and realistic shading. How did she accomplish it? Price answers, “Inspiration. Life imitates art. I pay particular detail to materials (textures). I’ve photographed limestone, brick and stone textures in real life for usage on the sim and in The Apple Architecture builds.”
A crucial element in the mix is the light and shadows fully rendered throughout the entire sim. Price comments, “The [rendered light] technique can be painstakingly achieved in many ways, but I think it is critical to the realism in second life. Without rendering, the second life platform can only progress to a level of a high quality cartoon.”
She’s right. Every building – every structure – in New York City SL is bathed in rendered light that bursts through through windows, shoots out of skylights and dances across vaulted ceilings, casting shadows across walls and floors. It introduces a realistic depth that shadows resulting from viewers are unable to match in quality.
Price’s vision of a place for people to come together has indeed struck a chord, and the response to New York City SL is incredible. The details and realism draw visitors into New York City SL, who at first gawk and marvel at the builds, but then stay to explore its broad streets and luxurious shops and perhaps eventually live. By the time New York City SL officially opened last November, residential and commercial occupancy had already hit 100% with thirty people on the waiting list. The constant stream of visitors to the various rooftop soirees and raucous block parties that day rocked the sim to its core causing it to crash three times. Since opening, at any time of the day, you’ll find New York City SL full of explorers, commuters, residents, shoppers and club-goers. Their representative green dots on your mini-map merge, separate and converge again in a never-ending ant march of activity.
Of course success for Price comes with a price. Despite the invaluable assistance of ten staffers and interns, which include Executive Administrator Kirkland Moonwall and Executive Real Estate Broker Seth Diabolito, Price has little time for other pursuits. Operating and growing New York City SL is a committed passion for her. “I make love to my work and it’s a monogamous relationship. I’ve made some special bonds with people on SL, but rarely have the time to spend with them,” she confesses. The pay-off; however, is seeing others enjoy her work; living, shopping and socializing in New York City SL. Price says it is “rewarding beyond words,” and adds, “I want the city and each of my builds to be open and inviting. I want them to feel like home.”
New York City SL can be your home now too with newly available studios, duplexes, lofts and brownstones in unfurnished and furnished options, with interior designs provided by the talented and well-known blogger Justice Topaz. Amenities include the social networking website and blog (www.newyorkcitysl.com), a hopping nightlife, beautiful architectural surroundings and , of course, the nearby Fifth Avenue and SoHo shopping districts, which include the design houses of Pdiddle, LoQ, bellballsessentials, Molichinos, Izzies, Shush and Ameliarae Beauparlant among many others. Joi proudly announces, “Our goal is to coin the phrase ‘fashion capital of SL.’“
“With some of the top boutique brands in SL, you would think it would be the shopping, but in fact I think the most entertaining part of the sim is speeding down the roads of SoHo, up the hills of the Upper East Side, and through the Holland Tunnel … [but] I didn’t build the sim for myself. It is a gift to the entire SL community. I’ve discovered that the city has a pace and pulse all its own, bigger than I could have ever created. I simply started the fire, it is each of the visitors, residents and vendors that tend to the flame.”
From a glowing ember in one visionary woman’s mind to a roaring flame, New York City SL is quickly becoming known as a place where discerning SLers choose to shop, live and hang out. Its edgy, cosmopolitan yet inclusive vibe is irresistible to the “taste-makers and collectors of all things cool.” Whether you’re in search of a new home or just want to explore a truly memorable build, don’t miss this opportunity. I urge you to take a bite out of the Big Apple and visit New York City SL.
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