Our City Since

Where They Stood: The Twin Towers and Augmented Reality

Wire frame of the towers from Mr. August's Greenpoint rooftop.

For many of us, the Manhattan skyline is marked as much by absence as presence. Hanging out on his rooftop on Hope Street in Greenpoint, Brian August was trying to explain to a friend the void left behind, both in the mind and to the eye, by the loss of the Twin Towers.

There was some copper tubing lying around from an art project and Mr. August mocked up a simple sculpture to show a friend how the towers had appeared from that rooftop nine summers earlier. The finished product, a stark outline of the towers scaled to fit the skyline, struck Mr. August with a deep emotion.

“This really started ten years ago,” said Mr. August, a lifelong New Yorker. “I started thinking to to myself, how many people go about their routines in New York, and they get to a certain place where they always used to stop and look at the towers. What if you could give everyone this experience, and a way to share it with others.”

The result is 110 Stories, a mobile app Mr. August created for iPhone, and soon Android. Its purpose is simple, said Mr. August: orient, augment, comment. Read More

App for That

American Express Launches ‘I Will Volunteer,’ a 9/11 Facebook App

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Non-profit organizations like HandsOn Network and MyGoodDeed are leading a “Day of Service and Remembrace” for the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11. In support, American Express launched a Facebook application today called “I Will Volunteer” to reach out to its more than 2 million Facebook fans. (A credit card company has a couple million fans? Somebody’s working their social media strat right.)

HandsOn Network is powering the app, which lets users access a searchable 9/11 Day database to sign up for nearby volunteering activities and share it with friends to encourage more people to volunteer. According to The Next Web, current opportunities include revitalizing schools on the Lower East Side as well as programs around the country, such as turning an abandoned airport hanger in L.A. into a community center. Read More

Creativity

How Computer Science Solved the Puzzle of the 9/11 Memorial

Sept11 Memorial

One of the more arcane challenges for the foundation creating the 9/11 memorial downtown was how to arrange the names of the more than three thousand victims of the tragedy.

It was complicated enough to fit them all within a taxonomy of their location at the time of the attacks, but grew more complex with hundreds of requests for certain names to be placed adjacent to loved ones.

So the foundation turned to computer science, hoping an algorithm could help them sort the problem. Read More