Over the last 16 months of quarantine, Corey William Schneider, CEO and Founder of NY Adventure Club, has made it possible for curious lifelong learners to visit treasured spaces such as gilded age mansions, the abandoned hospital on Ellis Island, and the secret passageways of Grand Central Station, all without leaving our homes.
Corey created NY Adventure Club as a way to offer inside access to the city’s best kept secrets, with unique, intimate live tours of places we would have never been able to experience on our own. When Covid closed everything down, Corey pivoted to offering equally captivating virtual experiences and tours, and our SEENYER audience has been extremely appreciative. This week, SEENYER got to spend some time with Corey, and of course, our first question was how he came to create all these one-of-a kind experiences.
“Well, I moved to New York in 2011 and immediately fell into the ‘Manhattan Bubble,’ a world that revolved around my corporate job, bars and weekend brunches,” Corey told us. “But I realized I was living in the greatest city in the world and knew nothing about it, so I decided I would spend every weekend exploring different places. For a year and a half I kept that up, searching for all the hidden gems around NYC and beyond, and trying to learn all the unknown stories.”
At what point, we asked, did others get involved and join him? “At first it was difficult to get my friends to even come out to Flushing,” Corey recalled, “but early in 2014, I took it one step further and booked a few tours, and did all the advance work in hopes my friends would show up. But it wasn’t until I wrote about some of the offerings for the Untapped Cities blog that suddenly there were all these curious, interested people wanting to engage and join in.”
So once this unexpected rush of fellow travelers appeared and NY Adventure Club was born, what were some of the live in-person events that turned out to be the most popular? Corey explains, “Our audience has a wonderfully eclectic mix of interests, from history, to nostalgia and culture. A big draw was The Art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony with Urasenke Tea Masters, which we will be offering virtually later in May, the 1916 Chimney Estate on Long Island’s Gold Coast, a tour of the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, and a behind the scenes at the Staten Island Zoo.”
We imagine how daunting it must have been when the pandemic shut the city down. “I had to figure it out,” Corey shared, “and reach out to venues and educators where we knew the experiences could still be viable and interesting, not just a live walk through of a place we couldn’t attend. We focused on that and it’s been incredible. We can still offer intriguing events and tours to an audience so hungry for it. From Edward Hopper, to the secret tunnels of Grand Central, and if you can believe it, we even offered up the Staten Island Zoo virtually and people responded.”
Now that the city is starting to open up, NY Adventure Club has started to add back some in-person events, and one or two have already sold out. “There are new tours up on our site, “Corey added, “including exploring Roosevelt Island abandoned ruins to the seaside village of City Island.”
If visiting places from the comfort of your sofa is still what you’re looking for, rest assured — virtual webinars will continue. Corey notes, “The intellectual curiosity is very much alive, and we’re learning new ways to take it all in. Moving forward we will have both virtual and in-person events, so our NY Adventure Club community will be able to choose how and when they want to experience it all.”
We’re particularly looking forward to ‘NYC’s Public Pools: A History of Gotham’s Local Summer Escape’ Webinar on May 6th and ‘New York’s Club Row: The Private Social Clubs of 44th Street’ Webinar on May 25, but you’ll find many more virtual (and in-person events) on the NY Adventure Club website.
For some of us deep-rooted New Yorkers, we want to personally thank Corey for showing us parts of the city we never knew existed.