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New York City's Skyscrapers Blast Off to Mars

A far-out music video, using actual NASA footage, imagines New York's architecture taking a journey through space.

Now that I've seen this spaced-out music video by Joshua Frankel, I do see a similarity between the Empire State Building and a Titan rocket. Are we sure that deep within the building's basement, there aren't hulking thrusters waiting to blow this taco stand in a fiery takeoff?

Composed of collages, live-action footage and extraterrestrial NASA photos from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Frankel's "Plan of the Cities" imagines a scenario where all of New York's famed architecture makes a mass evacuation to Mars. Why would city planners ever want that? No clue, but if it gets rid of the bedbugs I'm all for it. The animation is synced to pop along with "Change," a composition by Judd Greenstein of the modern-classical group NOW Ensemble (whose members make cameos in the piece).

"Plan" debuted last year at West Village's Le Poisson Rouge, and Frankel and Greenstein have since taken their collaborative star exodus on the road. If you're in Massachusetts next week, they'll be appearing at their alma mater, Williams College, on Tuesday. Bring your astronaut ice cream and space blankets and enjoy the journey. (H/t to Polis.)

PLAN OF THE CITY from Joshua Frankel on Vimeo.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.