Hey, New Yorkers - not neurotically self-conscious enough these days? Well, congratulations: you're next contestant on Bust Ass In Front Of The Google Street View Car.
As if you didn't have enough trouble getting stoned and magically appearing in front of the Waffles and Dinges mobile apparatus, avoiding the Mitzvah Tank, finding your Mudd Coffee Truck, beating off crowds at any number of Mr. Softee Mobile, getting on Cash Cab - hell, getting an actual cab - or not getting hit by cars jaywalking in any part of the city, now you have to concern yourself with not being humiliated in perpetuity by the Google Street View Sandcruiser, back in town for a second tour of duty in all five boroughs.
We've all seen the serendipitous results. Schadenfreude by the rest of the country (and naturally, all of New York) is in full effect. We can't wait for Google to lovingly re-document your teary breakup in front of the Astor Place cube, your rainy curbside soaking outside the 2nd Avenue F-Train stop, Michael Musto biking up Avenue A, some skaters falling on their face in Union Square, Park Slope baby stroller traffic jams, the sheer joy that will be Every. Square. Block of Williamsburg and Murray Hill, and all the wonderfully drunk, insane shit we love about this city. NYU kids puking, that bum jacking off in Madison Square Park. All of it.
The New York Times even got in on the fun: they wanted to ride shotgun in the Google Street View whip to get the full experience of magically awakening and provoking some of the weirdest split-second snapshots of humanity. And Google shot them down. Twice.
Google officials are eager to preserve the car's mystery status. They would not divulge the car's route, but they did say that the car was in New York City for about a month, photographing streets in all five boroughs.
A Google spokeswoman, Elaine Filadelfo, would not say whether there was one car in New York or several. She denied a request for a ride in the car, saying the company did not want to risk exposing the "proprietary technology" used by the cameras...A reporter for The New York Times spotted the car last Tuesday at a stoplight on West 15th Street near the West Side Highway and asked to ride along. The driver declined.
If by "proprietary technology" they mean "black magic," sure. There's nothing not to like about this story, as the Times even used Vanishing New York blogger Jeremiah Moss's man-on-the-street pictures (seen here) from his blog. And sourced them properly, too! Also, "spying" on the Google Street View car: meta. It's like finding a white stag!
Unfortunately, those who don't feel like being in the spotlight can't really do much to fight back against Google. Sure, there's a place you can file a complaint, and faces from Street View are now "blurred out." But what's the fun in that? New Yorkers should simply embrace the fact that these humiliation-spell-casting camera monsters are roaming the streets, and be resilient: put your best clothing on for them, and try to smile as that rickshaw biker near Central Park runs smack into you while staring at one.
Photo from Swerz photostream.
Put on Your Best Clothes Before Going Out: Google's Camera Car May Cross Your Path [New York Times]