Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in New York

There's no other time like the Holidays in New York. The Big Apple is decked out in festive decorations that signal the start of the season.

City Hall puts up their Christmas Tree the earliest, a few days before Thanksgiving.

Lincoln Center puts on a performance for the eyes with its Christmas tree with blue lights.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree signals the official start of the holiday season.

The Waldorf Astoria Hotel welcomes holiday guests with its elegant ornament wreaths and garland.

Even though it may be upstaged by the giant flashing billboards around it the Times Square Christmas Tree adds the city's Christmas Tree collection .

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Bronx in SimCity

A close up of a side street in the south Bronx. Old tenements juxtapose with high-rise public housing units across the street.

More next time.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

SimCity Central Park-79th Street Traverse in

One last look at fall before Winter sets sets in and the beautiful colors of the trees from their mid season display on the 79th Street Traverse.

More next time.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sim New York: Inaugural Excursion to Washington DC Preview

With the end of a historical week comes the beginning of another project gearing up for the presidential inauguration in Washington DC.

I've been working on and off on DC for a couple years now. Only the areas around Capitol Hill and downtown have been laid out. Here's a an overview of my current progress so far.

A Metro Police car is on special assignment patrolling the west parking lot of the White House for president elect Obama's visit.

The Jefferson Monument at night.

Be on the lookout for my special inaugural update in January. More Sim New York coming up next time.

Making of SimCity New York: Harlem

We'll head up to Harlem today to check out how things are progressing with the area.

Here's a map of the area shown.

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The square of plaza tiles is a placeholder for the Apollo Theater, soon to be BATed. 125th Street runs along the right side of the picture and is the most developed part of the area since this is the main throughfare of the Harlem.

More next time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cities XL Videos

I'm gearing up for the release of the upcoming city simulation game Cities XL with planning a New York recreation in Cities XL (more on that in a later update)

Here's some of the latest videos from the Cities XL team

Cities XL Walkthrough

Curved Roads (Finally)

More coming up later.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

NYC Taxiology 101 Preview

Here's a preview of my upcoming post of the different looks of those famous yellow cars and how they've changed since the 1970's.

How the hacks car has changed in 10 years:

Central Park West and the 65th Street Traverse-1997

65th St and Madison Avenue-2007

We'll take that trip through time next time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

Today marks the seventh anniversary of 9/11. SimNew York is paying tribute to that day by offering the World Trade Center for download. You can get it in the downloads section.

More next time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

YouCity Map of Lower Manhattan in Action

Here's a look at the fully 3d map of Lower Manhattan created by new mapping startup YouCity. Very stunning and well done.

You City: Sample Map of Manhattan from digitalurban on Vimeo.

I spoke with the president of YouCity last monthago and he informed me most of Manhattan is already done and told me all of the buildings are fully modeled in 3d by a team of modeler's.

It will be interesting to see how the mapping device evolves over the next few years.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

SimNew York Turns Five!

The project turned five a month or two ago but I have not had time to make an update until now.

I'm celebrating by giving two 3D gift's to all the BATer's out there and taking a look back at the history of New York being created in SimCity and showing what's around the curve for Sim New York as well as a few other projects I'm working on.

Next month I'll be releasing The Globe from the World Trade Center to pay tribute to 9/11 as well as the long awaited Park Avenue Tower.

We'll also take a look a the different looks of various New York's taxis cruising around the streets of New York since they were painted the iconic yellow in the 1970's and we'll head to the Queens for a second installment of my neighborhood spotlight series.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Brooklyn Bontantical Gardens and Park Slope

More from Brooklyn for today.

This time a look of progress so far with Park Slope. There's still a lot to due but things are coming along slowly. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are in the upper part of the picture.

A closer look of the botanical gardens. Not an exact replica due to the clam shell fountain but close.

More next time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Neighborhood Spotlight: Ditmas Park and Kingston Brooklyn

Today a new section of the blog is born, neighborhood spotlights. This section will feature certain areas around the city to help you gain better insight into the areas of the recreation and of the actual area itself. After all interesting neighborhoods make the city.

We'll kick it off with out very first showcase, Ditmas Park and Kensington Brooklyn. The historical areas of Ditmas Park and Kingston are not only one of the most suburban areas of Brooklyn, but one of the most historical. We'll take a tour of these area today in 3D.

First we head to Ditmas Park with its tree lined streets and historical victorian homes. Ditmas Park is an area of Flatbush bounded by Flatbush Avenue on the east, Church Avenue to the north, Coney Island Avenue to the west and goes south until about Brooklyn College.

Here's a version of the area in SimCity.

The real Ditmas Park in Google Streetview

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Middle class and upper middle class families live along these tree lined streets in homes that cost anywhere from $400,000-$650,000. Though, I've seen homes on going for more than $1 million in this area.

Looking above the area around Beverly Road

Next we'll head off to neighboring Kensington, just west of Borough Park. There's some dispute amongst real estate agents and residents over the official borders of Kensington but the borders are tentatively McDonald Avenue to the west, Canton Avenue on the north, Rugby Road to the west and Ditmas Avenue to the south.

Kensington has a bit more affordable housing than Ditmas Park and offers more types of housing such as walk up and multi-story apartments buildings. The area is diverse and is home to many immigrants.

A suburbanesque street in sim Kensington.

The real thing in Google Streetview.

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More next time.

NYC Google Streetview Easter Eggs- Nightview

Cruising around the streets of New York in Google Streeview I came across two Easter Egg of a nighttime captures of a drive over the Brooklyn Bridge and of Times Square.

Brooklyn Bridge at night in Google Streetview

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Times Square at night in Streetview

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More coming up next time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ferrara Bakery and Cafe Review

In addition to mashup maps that help you get around I’m adding a new section to the blog, restaurant reviews. A 3D recreation can also be practical and helpful as well as entertaining ;)

Since it’s the middle of summer we’ll see where the Best Gelato in New York is.

There’s a lot of great places to get some great gelato but Ferrara Bakery and Café In Little Italy has some of the best gelato in New York (or at least Manhattan). Even though it can be a little touristy and sometimes pricey ($6 for a iced mocha) it’s still worth it for the gelato, tiramisu and cannoli’s.

You can check out photos of Ferrara at Yelp.

Ferrara Bakery & Café
195 Grand St (between Mott St & Mulberry St)
Average tab- $10-20

Ferrara Bakery SimCity stlye

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

The fireworks will be going off over Manhattan tonight. Be sure to catch the Macy's Fireworks starting at 9pm EST on the East River. If you're planning on seeing the fireworks watch out for street closures and the closure of the FDR Drive.

Also, it get's extremely crowded even hours before the event starts so be sure to leave with enough time to claim a spot. Have a happy and safe 4th!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New York Waterfalls Exhibit

Olafur Eliasson's public art installation entitled "Waterfalls" opened to the city back in June. Man made waterfalls were constructed at various points on the East River including under the Brooklyn Bridge, Pier 35 just north of the Manhattan Bridge, Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn and one at the northern tip of Governor's Island.

This is the largest public art installation since Jeanne-Claude's “The Gates” in 2005.

Rendering of the project

Photo: Vincent Laforet of The New York Times

Waterfall at Pier 4 in Brooklyn photo: nydiscovery

Brooklyn Bridge waterfall at night photo: Rick Elkins

The exhibit lasts untill Oct 13.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New York Google Maps Mashups

Being a SimCity player I’m always interested in checking out the data layer of maps in game and seeing how the traffic is flowing on my roads or where crimes are happening in my simulated creation.

Google Maps mashups are similar to data overlays in SimCity only mashups can be used for finding and mapping any real information that exists in the anywhere in the world. Even as it occurs in real time.

Here’s a collection of my favorite and most helpful Google Maps mashups for New York.

-New York Hotels Map

A handy little map of hotels in Manhattan from Trip Advisor.

-Real Estate Mashup Maps maps Craigslist housing listings on a map of New York. Listings are plotted on the map and allows you to easily and quickly find an apartment. Red placemarkers indicate the listing doesn’t have pictures.

Also, head over to for more New York real estate mashup maps. There are some listings for rentals but most of the listing are for roommates wanted or sublets if you’re looking to split rent with someone else.

New York Zip Code Mashup Map

This handy map lists all the zip codes in the five boroughs.

-Real Times News Map

Gothamist has produced a nifty map of breaking news around New York. Map plots news in real time.


New York on Tap is a site listing bars around New York City and their proximity to subway stations. Just be sure to check them out on Yelp before you go.

Dissident Design is a mashup site that has a growing map of restaurants in New York. Also, double check restaurants them with Yelp reviews.

New York is known for it’s great Pizza. Serious has created a New York Pizzeria mashup map with a separate map for each borough.
Williamsburg Restaurants has a map listing restaurants in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Place markers are color coded based on restaurant reviews.

NYC Bakeries and Sweets Map-

Looking for a sweet spot in New York? Look no further than Find all the places in Manhattan to get sweet treats.

NYC Coffee Map

Find a good place to grab a cup of coffee with the New York coffee map.

NYC Farmer’s Market Map

The Union Square Farmer’s Market isn’t the only farmer’s market in the Big Apple. Find others with the New York Farmer’s Market Map.

Parking almost anywhere in New York is a driver’s nightmare. That’s why best has made a helpful map of places to park in New York.

Real Time Traffic Map of NYC

Google Traffic Maps has a great real time map of New York traffic conditions around the metro area. Be sure to check out traffic conditions from live traffic cams around the New York.

New York Subway Navigation Map

See how to get around on the New York Subway system to your destination this handy map from Also, be sure to check out's nifty subway map.

Zip Car Map of New York

Locating a Zip Car rental in New York is much easier with zip's very own Zip Car mashup map of New York.

NYC Bike Path and Lane Map

Find bike paths in New York.

Fun and Entertainment-

NYC Movie Locations. Find out where scenes from your favorite New York based movie were filmed.

NYC Celebrity Sighting Map

Head over to Gawker to see where the celebrity spots and sighting are.


Public Restroom Map of NYC

A great mashup map of public restrooms in New York.

Be sure to checkout The site has all kinds of useful information listed by each neighborhood such as crime statistics, breaking news, restaurant inspection results, real estate listings and more.

More next time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sim New York in the Making: At Night

Here's some development shots at night of the recreation. Automata (vehicles) are turned off in these shots so that's why the streets look eerily empty. Also, the areas shown are in development and still have large empty spaces. More detailed, completed night shots will be posted for another update.

Washington Square Park at night with the Washington Monument lit up.

St. Mark's in the Bowery Church in the East Village

Midtown at night.

An area of Midtown north of 42nd Street showing the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Rockefeller Center and the Bear Sterns Building.The Lever House at night

More coming up next time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge Turns 125 Years Old

A very belated post about the 125th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge. From Time Magazine:

"It was so singular a marvel, so ambitious a feat, that its opening drew the president and a crowd of thousands. A leading national magazine said it stood poised to become 'our most durable monument.'

Some 125 years later, the Brooklyn Bridge remains a powerful symbol of engineering might and imagination, and
a revered fixture in the landscape of the nation's largest city. And it can still draw a crowd. Thousands of people are expected at the bridge's 125th birthday blowout Thursday, with fireworks, a Navy flyover, a colorful new lighting scheme and the debut of a tribute song scheduled to honor the storied span."

Click here for more pictures of the celebration.

Photo by Spencer Platt

Monday, June 16, 2008

3D Manhattan Map

Today I ran across another 3D map of Manhattan and it's one of the most detailed I've seen yet. It's produced by a recent startup company called You City. So far they have about 1/3 of Manhattan completed.

It seems the buildings are modeled in fully in 3D (some of the building's textures remind me of SC3000). You can check it out a demo at

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

3D New York Video

After a little time away behind the scenes tweaking the site design I'm back.

It's always interesting to finding expansive or nearly complete 3d models of New York (among other cities). Though, it's even better to see them streaming in real time. Here's another video clip of an amazing 3D model of Manhattan created by Screampoint.

More coming up next time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

3D Cars Bring Life to Streets of SimNYC

The 2D cars on the sim streets are being replaced with 3d cars. I've been collecting 3d cars for the past couple of years from various 3d websites such as the 3D Mesh Research Database. Here's a recent example the 3D transition:
Before 3D cars
I'm also working on 3D car props which can be placed on lots as static props.

These should roll out into the download section soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New York in the Making: BAT's in Progress

Here's a sneak peak of some New York BAT's in the making.

The Citigroup Center in Manhattan. Some of you may remember I made announcement about my BATing the Citigroup Center last spring. Work stopped for a while but I have resumed work on it now. I have finished the main section of the building and am moving on to nitelighting.

Sony Tower located a couple of blocks from the Citigroup Center in real life.

This BAT is nearer completion than the Citigroup Center, all that is left to do is tweak the night lighting and render it.

Be on the look out for these in the downloads section sometime this summer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Google Earth New York Update

Work on my other project Google Earth New York has slowed down in recent months but it hasn't stopped. There's still a way to go but it will be interesting to see which one (if any) I finish first. Here's a look at the latest developments of the project.

19 Rector Street in the Financial District

Battery Park City progress

The Triborough Bridge

Newly constructed Seven World Trade Center

520 Madison Avenue in Midtown

More next time.

NYCJ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I download your city/region?

Unfortunately it can‘t be downloaded for technical and logistical reasons. It would be a nightmare to download my region for a number of reasons:

1. There are supporting files, BAT, mods, textures and other creations made by other users that would have to be downloaded from various websites. These supporting files are called dependencies and if a dependency is missing when the game is running a large brown box will appear.

2. There are currently hundreds of these supporting files. It would be hard to compile a list of all the supporting files that I’ve collected throughout the years as some websites I’ve downloaded the file have be taken down or the file is no longer available for download.

3. These supporting files are located in my plugins folder which is currently over 1GB in size. The region is also a large file size and downloading a file that is 2GB would be difficult for most.

As much as I would like to put my region up for download it would be more efficient to make your own New York region. You can download creations I have made for the game and a very accurate map of the New York region in the download section. Here’s how to install regions in SC4. Maybe you can make a better recreation.

Where can I get those buildings?

You can get all the buildings I made in the downloads section.

Where did you get those cars?

Most of the cars in the screenshots are 3ds max renders which have been photoshopped into the screenshots to add more realism than the original automata provides. I’m trying to figure a way to mod these 3d models into the game as automata. In the meantime, I will make them available as static props that can be placed on lots.

Where can I get those subway trains?

Those are also photoshopped models of subway cars. I’ll make them available as props in the future.

What program did you use to create this?

I used SimCity 4. You can buy it through Amazon or at your local game retailer.

Can you make _____ building?

I normally don’t take requests and I’m very busy at the moment. Although, my 3d skills are available for clients J

I’m traveling to New York and found your site helpful about “lesser known” attraction. Do you plan on making it more practical for tourists?

Yes, in the future I plan on making reviews of restaurants, neighborhood profiles and other guides that can assist individuals looking for practical information about New York.

Are you recreating any other cities?

Yes, I’m currently making Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.

Are you planning on doing any international cities in the future?

Maybe; if I have time.

Can you make my house?
... No.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Around Town

After a bit of a break I'm back. Today we'll take a look at some sights around town. First stop Washington Square Park.

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Next up the Guggenheim Museum.

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Finally, we take a trip to see a taping at the Late Show with David Letterman.

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More next time.