Windows on the World

I often view webcams on my computer just to see what the rest of the world is doing. Especially welcome are the sunny sites when Delaware’s weather is cold and gloomy.

The available websites have improved over the years as bandwidth has become cheaper, growing from postage-stamp views that update every few minutes to streaming video (continuous, like a movie) that can fill your entire screen.

There are still plenty of the stamp-sized sites, but three of the best current technology I’ve found are:

New York Harbor,

Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale,

Port Canaveral, also in Florida,

(At the bottom left corner of each view is a “full screen” button that appears when your cursor moves near it.)

The Port Everglades and Port Canaveral cameras are supported by the cruse ships and usually show them sitting at the dock.  However, they are in the background and you can watch the seagulls fluttering quite close to the camera and pleasure boats going in and out of the harbor.  When one of the cruse ships arrives or departs, the camera follows them.  Occasionally and unpredictably, the camera will also follow any interesting passing ship.    All three sites operate around the clock, but the fidelity suffers in the night views.

I keep these three addresses in one menu folder that I can open together in three separate tabs with one click.  This is how I usually start my day.  From any of the sites you can set up a small window showing all three views together that sits on your desktop while you do other things.  But if you spot something interesting, it is usually past by the time you open the full view.

The appeal of these cams is the same as visiting any waterway–you never know what you may see.  I am glad they have firm commercial support.  As anyone who has looked up webcams knows, most are shoestring operations of poor quality and many that are listed have already discontinued operation.  Ocean City, for example, had an interesting camera, small but streaming, pointed at the Music Pier (See 4/22/2009 posting, Ocean City Cam,  It only operated during the summer months, but even that discontinued last season.  The people at the information office, shown right in the middle of the webcast, had no idea it was ever there.

The New York harbor camera shows a distant view from the New Jersey side, but can be zoomed in on a passing ship.  My only problem with it is that if we are having gloomy weather in Delaware, their weather is gloomy, too.  Give me the palm trees and seagulls of Florida.

All three cams can be expanded to full-screen with good fidelity.  Each of the sites, operated by the same company, have several cameras that change, so you will see different views at different times.

One other site deserves honorable mention.  It has several cameras mounted on the Statue of Liberty’s torch, at  On this site, you can select the camera, including one that points straight down, giving a vertigo-inducing view reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  It also is streaming and can be viewed full-screen.

I did not mention the granddaddy of them all, the streaming view of Times Square.  You can select from several streaming street views, but the people look miserable and I find the site depressing.  It would be fun to see it on New Year’s Eve, but the site gets overwhelmed on that night and I was never able to connect to it.

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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