I think “we all” (i.e. blogs like mine, EV Grieve, Vanishng New York, Bowery Boogie, etc.) wrote about this when it came out ten years ago, but it seems to have dropped right off the radar since. Actually, I believe I neglected to post about it, being that I was either still working at MTV News Online at the time, or had just been freshly laid off from same, and thus did not want to further sully my blog with any needless invocations of the place.
But I was talking with a friend about it recently and decided to see if I could exhume any evidence of it. Sure enough, see the video below.
Ten years on, MTV’s “vLES” (short for “Virtual Lower East Side”) only seems that much more surreal, although I suppose I appreciate the attempt at architctural detail. If you missed the boat, the first time around, here’s the official description:
MTV's vLES was a virtual recreation of the Lower East Side of New York City, developed in collaboration with VICE. Through vLES, users could meet new people, hang out with friends and discover new music together. With vLES Kickstart they could even get their own band in vLES to play at the virtual downtown venues on through to the real life ones, with a chance to get on MTV. As a music fan, their input helped decide which bands rose up in Kickstart and got the recognition they deserved.
I don’t recall the specifics, but I’m reasonably certain it didn’t exactly take off. I’m sure a lot of creative work went into this, so I’ll keep my smart-alecky remarks to myself. Find out more here.
In 2017, the actual Lower East Side doesn't owe much to the digital dimension represented in 'vLes.' Ludlow Street certainly no longer owes much to the hipster hotbed you'd find here. As such, take a strange stroll back
…. to the virtual Lower East Side.