This Video of NYC Without People Looks Eerily Like Actual Pre-Sandy Footage

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The Empty America time-lapse video series uses special effects to remove all signs of life from major cities, wiping tourists and moving cars from the streets of San Francisco and Seattle. Produced by Ross Ching for Thrash Lab, the series is a spooky thought experiment -- a leap of the imagination that feels jarring because it's like nothing you've ever seen. The latest episode featuring New York City, however, came out the day Sandy made landfall and looks all too familiar after the disaster. The shot of an empty Times Square looks rather like this real photograph, taken just before the storm hit. The video's empty sidewalks and intersections look rather anticlimactic to anyone who's seen this surreal image of a completely empty Grand Central, and nothing tops this photograph of the New York City skyline gone dark

Still, Empty America is a fascinating perspective on urban life with an implicit critique of our dependence on cars (which began with Ching's Running on Empty, a similar  video about Los Angeles). The director demonstrates how he removes people and cars from his footage in a video here

For more work by Ross Ching, visit http://rossching.com/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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