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Machine Hallucination at Artechouse
Photograph: Courtesy Artechouse/Refik Anadol Machine Hallucination at Artechouse

Experience VR, AR and digital art in NYC

These mind-blowing high-tech activities might just change the way you look at New York City

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It’s easier than ever to lose yourself in a virtual world. But do all of those experiences have to be through a video game played from your couch? No! These of-the-moment VR, AR, digital-art activities, which span from Brooklyn to Central Park, will get you out of the house and exploring NYC.—Dan Morgridge

VR, AR and digital-art experiences in NYC

Machine Hallucination at Artechouse
Photograph: Courtesy Artechouse/Refik Anadol

Take an architectural tour—on a quantum level

Tucked away in an industrial basement under Chelsea Market, Turkish artist Refik Anadol’s large-format installation Machine Hallucination transforms more than 300 million open-source images of New York City’s past and present into a powerful algorithm. At its most basic, this marvel at Artechouse uncovers the buried connections between the city’s contemporary and historical architecture; at its most extreme, it uses our iconic skyline and landmarks to create new, shifting worlds that defy recognition. The result is a forward-thinking retrospective that renders a 16K-resolution, 150-megapixel version of NYC.

Chelsea (artechouse.com/nyc). $24.

Art Has No Limits on the High Line
Photograph: Courtesy Richard Humann/Augmented Reality

Peruse virtual works of art

The High Line is getting high tech, people. That’s thanks to Art Has No Limits, which features a guided augmented-reality tour through Richard Humann’s and Shuli Sadé’s impressive virtual works that are scattered throughout the famed elevated park. The pieces were curated by AERY, an AR app for fine art that creates experiences for galleries.

Chelsea (highlinenine.com); free.

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Hubneo
Photograph: Courtesy Hubneo VR Lab

Pilot a plane through the sky

Hubneo has some pretty impressive technology
on deck: The MSI VR One backpack boasts VR sans the cumbersome cord, plus oodles of thrills: The homemade flight simulator can pitch and roll up to 27 degrees. But its most intriguing offer may be the most mundane: The Virtual Reality Driving School delivers a stronger dose of adrenaline than maneuvering a tank or manning a spaceship: steering a car through Manhattan during rush hour.

Lower East Side (hubneo.com). One hour $50.

[AR]T Walk
Photograph: Courtesy Apple

See poetry float through the air above Central Park

Want Nick Cave, Cao Fei, Carsten Höller, Pipilotti Rist, Nathalie Djurberg, Hans Berg or the late John Giorno to talk you through the city’s most beloved green space? Enter [AR]T Walk, a collaboration between the New Museum and Apple that offers curated tours of New York’s backyard. Read musings as they crawl past you in the sky or switch paths to follow musical beings who are being drawn upward by a King Kong–esque beast atop a skyscraper.

Central Park. Sign up at apple.com. Free.

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“T. rex: The Ultimate Predator” at the American Museum of Natural History
Photograph: Courtesy AMNH/D. Finnin

Teleport to an archaeological dig

Preteen you and current you agree: T. rexes are awesome. The American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator” is an immersive ode to the king of dinosaurs, complete with a virtual twist that will make your childhood dreams come true. Guests can don a VR headset, virtually assemble the bones of a T. rex and—in a marked improvement on reality—watch it come to life and strut about in imagined Mesozoic environs. You can even get hands-on with bones and fossilized dino droppings.

Upper West Side (amnh.org). $28 (includes general admission). Through Aug.

Aerobanquets RMX
Photograph: Courtesy Aerobanquets/Mattia Casalegno Studio

Dig into a surrealist feast

The James Beard Foundation has partnered VR artist Mattia Casalegno with Adda Indian Canteen chefs Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya to whip up a mesmerizing meal in which audiovisual elements bring new meaning to the phrase playing with your food. At Aerobanquets RMX, courses of real (and fake) grub become so strange, you’ll feel like Alice taking tea in Wonderland—one bite, and the room fills with milky waves.

Chelsea (jamesbeard.org). $125. Through Dec 29. 

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VR World
Photograph: Courtesy VR WORLD NYC

Live out all your Ready Player One gaming fantasies

Claiming to be the largest VR destination in North America, VR World boasts 15,000 square feet that comprise a dizzying array of games for solo exploration and team madness. Dodgeball with homing missiles? Sure. Want to understand the history of film from behind the camera? Here, you can zoom through it in 10 minutes. There’s some local flavor, too, like a trippy ode to mac and cheese via Bushwick rapper Kassa Overall’s virtual music video.

Midtown (vrworldnyc.com). One day $64.

ZeroSpace
Photograph: Courtesy ZeroSpace/Inna Shnayder

Visit a digital underground

You don’t need virtual reality to blur your perceptions. Like a haunted house hoping to inspire awe instead of fear, ZeroSpace fuses actors, special effects and digital-art installations to craft for each guest a world to get lost inside.

Midtown (zerospace.co). $50. Through Dec 29.

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Museum of Future Experiences
Photograph: Courtesy MOFE NYC

Enter a gallery tailored to your brain

“We believe VR can be used for so much more than just shooting zombies,” says David Askaryan, founder of the Museum of Future Experiences. Trained facilitators will use individual analysis to take you through a mix of immersive theater and “virtual-reality dreams prescribed” just for them. The next exhibit should debut in winter 2020, but check the institution’s website for updates and details.

Various locations (themofe.com)

vrbar
Photograph: Ali Garber

Jet to Paris (without leaving Dumbo)

For the series “Brooklyn Falls for France,” VRBAR is hosting a festival of French-produced experiences that use virtual reality as their medium of choice. Trip out and feel your heart swell during screenings of the cute zombie love story “Gloomy Eyes” or the touching and illuminating “Notes on Blindness,” among other thrilling titles.

Dumbo (vrbar.nyc). VR for one person $56/hour. Through Jan.

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