22 April, 2021

Big Apple's Core

Big Apple's Core
I'm at a traffic intersection in Times Square, looking up at a giant Coke billboard. If I look left, I’m sure I’ll see the vaudeville visages of the cinemas that line the road down to Greenwich Village. But in my situation, looking left is not a simple act. To look left, I need to play the numbers. I’m looking through an array of cameras that pan constantly across Times Square, taking snapshots every 30 seconds. To look down the road, I’ve to be seeing through the right lens at the right time. It’s as chancy as looking for Elvis.

The view I’m seeing is pretty small, about a third the size of a snapshot, and sometimes I have to wait long for a fresh picture to load. But these pictures are coming to my screen over the Net from a tiny web camera the size of a golf ball halfway around the world. That they reach me at all is pretty magical. On the screen, New Yorkers go about their lives, completely oblivious to my remote surveillance. Schoolchildren climb into a yellow bus. Nuns raise funds, rattling cans of coins. Severely dressed secretaries stroll by,...

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