cities

SKYSCRAPERS SWAY AFTER JAPAN EARTHQUAKE

This isn't new, but amazing nonetheless. The 9.0 earthquake that decimated areas of Japan in March 2011 was documented on a scale we've never seen before. With the advent of mobile technology dropping video cameras in everyone's pockets, we're able to get a first-hand account of pretty much anything across the globe with the help of video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

Take a look at this video [01:33] shot from a high-rise directly after the earthquake struck. It creates a whole new concept of motion sickness. And do yourself a favor and play "Where Is My Mind?" by the Pixies in the background as you watch. 

LEANING CITIES

I spend a lot of time researching cities and properties through Google Maps, and I'm always delighted to find areas where Google offers 45˚ views of the landscape. Many of the larger American cities have this feature, which is created by stitching together a series of aerial photos to form a detailed composite that can be viewed from the north, south, east, and west.

Unlike the straightforward top-down view that is shot via satellite, the 45˚ view is a little less forgiving when it comes to perspective. It's pretty cool to come across the occasional inconsistencies of these intricately detailed landscapes, so I've put together a gallery of screenshots from five major American cities that give us a wild look at contorted skylines and mismatched towers.

For a great list of the best 45˚-enabled cities, check out 15 Google Maps with Stunning 45˚ Views at Condé Nast Traveler.

SUPER RARE HD VIDEO OF NYC IN 1999

I just came across this great video from WBNS-TV Columbus shot across Brooklyn and Manhattan on May 20, 1999. This was back before HD cameras were the norm, so WBNS sent a few of their videographers to New York in order to test out their new toy for the first time.

It's so evident that this video was shot in a totally different era. The pre-9/11 America that I grew up in just seems so carefree in retrospect. Of course there were problems, but it was a world of innocence when compared to the world we're a part of today. There were no constant threats, no overwhelming fear, no images of fireballs and unimaginable destruction seared into our minds. Those were the sorts of things you'd read about in books or see in films. We never anticipated it becoming part of our own realities.

I don't expect the world to ever return to this form in my lifetime, but at least we can take a moment to look back at what once was.