Mike Bodge, NSKYC Creator, Talks New York City Weather, Food and Crushes


Yesterday we let you know about a neat new website called NSKYC that tells you what the average color of the sky in New York is every five minutes. The site, which launched on the solstice Tuesday, was created by Mike Bodge, the creative director at Lolz LLC, whose work includes a number of New York City-inspired web projects. Trying to find that person you fell in love with on the subway? Bodge has you covered. Same goes if you’re looking or a place to eat in Williamsburg. We chatted with Bodge this morning about his creations.

How did you get the idea for NSKYC?

Our office is at the corner of Bleecker and Crosby, and my desk is pointing straight out the window. I just stare at the view all day every day. It’s kind of crazy, you see how the sky changes, you see how the city line kind of adapts to that, with all the colors and everything. I’ve done a couple of projects where I have done timelapses and all that stuff. There are like a million timelapses of New York out there, but I wanted to distill that down to that one thing: the color that changes in the sky. I’m a designer so all day I deal with colors and Photoshop and all that stuff. I thought it would be interesting to sample the sky and see exactly what the color is every five minutes.

How does it read the color? How does the website capture the color?

I wrote this program that hooks up to a webcam. It takes a photo out the window every five minutes, and it will upload that to a server. The server then reads the sky portion of the photo, and it goes pixel by pixel. What it does is it takes all those values, the RGB values, and it averages them. So what you are seeing is not the dominant color in the sky it’s actually just the average color.

What do you hope people go to the website for other than just sheer amusement?

I consider it sort of an art piece. You go there and you look at it and you go, “that’s pretty interesting,” you kind of take a look of how the day changes. There’s that time right before dusk where the colors get a little bit crazy and then all of a sudden it just becomes black. It just shows how interesting the sky changes over the last 24 hours. As far as expanding it, I’d love to put a webcam in every major city across the world and kind of plot the colors of the sky across the world on a map. I think that would be really cool. As far as extensions I was thinking about that, and also maybe posters that have the mosaic for a day of the year. So you could buy a poster that the mosaic colors of your birthday, lets say.

When did it launch?

Two days ago.

It hasn’t really seen a lot of blue, then.

It’s just been gray. Today’s been really foggy so the colors are very very light. I was running it last week as a test, when it was better weather, and it looks much nicer when there are a lot more blues. Right now it just kind of looks pretty bleak.

Can you tell me about some of your other New York projects like Subway Crush, Williamsburg Eats and then Fuck You York? What made you work on them?

I didn’t realize that I did that until I did this project. I looked at all the things I’ve been working on over the last two or three years, and I’m just like, why are all of these things so New York centric? I guess the only way I can really answer that is being in New York your surroundings just inspire you to work on certain things or inspire you to do certain things. When you live here every day you start noticing the problems that need to fix or the things that would be cool to do.

With the Subway Crush thing, we just thought it would be cool. There are so many missed connections people have on Craigslist, and that’s such a horrible place to put that stuff so we thought that subway crush would be kind of a fun way to make that happen for people. Williamsburg Eats, I live in Williamsburg, I love food and people are always asking me every day, “oh I’m coming to Williamsburg, where should I eat?” and I desperately don’t want them to eat at SEA, so I created that site thinking that would be a great way for people to explore the neighborhood. Fuck You York was just kind of a fun thing. New York is the greatest place on the entire planet, it’s also the worst place on the entire planet. It’s just horrible. There’s that love-hate relationship. There’s no place I’d rather live than here. It’s kind of a site that’s tongue-in-cheek, all the things that you hate about New York that everyone has a gripe for. I just threw that site together.

I’m also working on another New York project. I don’t really want to get into it but it has something to do with taxicabs. It’s always New York, it’s always transportation, I’ve got all these obsessions, I guess.