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10 Addictive Urban Web Cams

In a sign of the times, the Statue of Liberty celebrated her 125th birthday by having five streaming web cams installed in her torch.

Earthcam Inc., which manages webcams around the world, donated the cameras to the National Park Service to capture a panoramic view of New York City's harbor, shots of Ellis Island and a glimpse of the torch itself.

What other unusual urban surveillance is available online? Check out some of our favorite streaming city views:

  • NEW YORK & TOKYO: It's King Kong v. Godzilla with competing views of New York and Tokyo. This webcam offers a view of Manhattan's elevated High Line, along with nifty time lapse video of the park's construction. Compare that with this corner in Tokyo's Akihabara Electric Town district.
  • SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco's children's science museum, the Expolaratorium, mounted a camera on its roof that web viewers can control themselves for one minute at a time. You get views of the surrounding Marina neighborhood and Golden Gate bridge along with a peek at where other people are pointing the camera when it's their turn. Preset views automatically train the camera on famous sites.
  • WASHINGTON, D.C.: This camera updates every hour with a new 60-second clip from the roof of the United States Capitol building.

  • KANSAS: Larry Wilson, treasurer of Shawnee County, Kansas, offers a less glamorous view of government with this webcam stream showing the line down the hallway by his office. After the county closed its second treasury office, the wait to renew vehicle registrations grew. In April, the camera began rolling to help people pick the best time to come. It streams every business day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • NEW YORK: Back in the big city, the World Trade Center construction cam shows how the building project is progressing.
  • ST. PETERSBURG: Keeping an eye on the Russians used to just be for the government. Now you can see St. Petersburg 24 hours a day.
  • LAS VEGAS: Check out who's getting hitched at the Gazebo, the Doo Wop Diner or the Garden Chapel in Las Vegas. This site allows anyone to watch as long as there's a wedding going on. When the chapel is empty, a foxy Elvis impersonator invites you to check back later.

Amy Biegelsen is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. All posts »

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