8 Wild Google Street View Images of New York City
Google is always watching.
New York City is one in a million and nothing highlights the city’s eccentricities better than Google Street View. Launched in 2007, the mapping platform has had its nine-eyed cars trained on the city for a decade now. While the company has focused on mapping every inch of the street and improving app user’s ability to get around, along the way, its rovers have accidentally captured a lot of crazier images, too.
8. This Shocked Passenger
In 2014, for example, this unlucky woman was blind-sighted by the Google Street View car while barefoot in a bus near Times Square. Other Street View images reveal the vehicle is owned by tour company The Ride. Odds are Google’s nine-eyes probably caught this lady during some downtime between round-the-clock tours of New York City landmarks.
7. These Very Obvious Drug Dealers
In 2010, police were able to identify three drug dealers in this Google Street View images from outside an East Williamsburg bodega. As the New York Post reported at the time, officers were able to use the Street View images and supplementary security camera footage from inside the bodega to lead a successful sting operation that nabbed seven alleged heroin dealers, including three of the men in this image. “They were catering to the hipster crowd, among other customers,” an anonymous source told the Post at the time.
6. This Frigid Buttocks
But some people still didn’t really get the memo that Google is always watching. Google Street View World, a website dedicated to catching people in various states of indecency on Google Maps, shared this photo from January 2013, titled “Moon over New York.”
5. This Portal to Hell
Sometimes, its not the people who are the problem — it’s the technology. An entire town in upstate New York was improperly mapped by Google. For a time, the internet was convinced that New Baltimore, New York was the portal to hell thanks to these terrifying, melty snapshots. Google has since removed the wonky maps (though it still exists in screenshots and videos) and graciously remapped the portal so that it now at least appears nice and normal.
4. The Great Grand Central Disappearance
It may not be the entrance to the underworld, but this image, generated by Google Street View inside New York City’s Grand Central Station, is spooky nonetheless. Someone has been entirely erased by the camera. The only thing left is the invisible man’s sleek Nikes, which, lets be honest, aren’t the worst thing to be remembered for.
See also: Art’s Next Frontier is Google Street View
3. This Fire Hydrant Tradition
In this rather adorable image, captured outside P.S. 28 Mt. Hope School in the Bronx, three kids engage in an ancient New York City summer past time: Busting open a fire hydrant and dancing in its cold, powerful blast. Except, only the girl in green seems to be enjoying herself. The other kiddos, meanwhile, are trying to pose innocent as the conspicuous camera car rolls by.
2. This Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
In addition to capturing crazy moments, Google Street View has captured the city’s insane change. On October 22, 2012 superstorm Sandy ripped through New York City, destroying whole neighborhoods. By the time the hurricane was done, these two homes had been turned to one house and a heaping scrap pile.
Many New Yorkers weren’t happy with Google’s decision to send their Street View cars through the wreckage, but the company persisted, arguing the damage from the hurricane needed to be documented.
See also: 10 Insane Things on Google Street View in Japan
1. The Aftermath of Hipsters
Hurricane Sandy isn’t the only storm to hit the city. Williamsburg, also known as the center of the hipster universe, has changed dramatically in the past decade as mustachioed men and their speciality coffee shops have reshaped the neighborhood. Just look at what a difference nine years makes in one of the city’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.
See also: This Google Map Says a Lot About How Germans Value Privacy