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I'd ask my friends to come and see
May 18, 2011 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Abbey Road has a webcam, you normally don't have to wait long to see someone taking a version of that photo. (previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (72 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yup--just now!
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:42 AM on May 18, 2011


Ha! I just saw it as well. This is fun, great post. :)
posted by sveskemus at 5:42 AM on May 18, 2011


And again!
(this is good)
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:43 AM on May 18, 2011


What's with the wobbly lane markings?
posted by octothorpe at 5:50 AM on May 18, 2011


octothorpe: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_070339 - no parking.
posted by edd at 5:54 AM on May 18, 2011


How odd that quite a few people (including the man crossing all by himself just as I clicked the link) seem to favour the arms-outstretched pastiche-of-walking pose. A particularly unnatural variant here.
posted by robself at 5:57 AM on May 18, 2011


I'd swear this has been posted before, but can't find the post now.
posted by ardgedee at 6:00 AM on May 18, 2011


Wow, three people kissing it. This is great. Is there signage ("WARNING, Adults Playing in Street") around that crossing?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:05 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


But who is pretending to be this guy?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:09 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good lord, it's constant, and hilarious.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:24 AM on May 18, 2011


ardgedee - I definitely saw a post featuring shots of people recreating the pic, but I think this is the first time I've seen a link to the webcam.
posted by Decani at 6:24 AM on May 18, 2011


Funny, I lived near London for 18 months, and it never occurred to me to see that spot. I was regularly excited though, when seeing the Battesea power station.
posted by Goofyy at 6:24 AM on May 18, 2011


You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.
posted by RedEmma at 6:25 AM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


"iconic image of the zebra crossing outside the studios on the front cover."

If you read this in American, it leads you to expect much more unusual cover art.

Even when you know what the cover art is. And a zebra crossing is. You still picture a zebra walking around London, you can't help it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:28 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is really interesting to watch people's variations on it. Some of it look like they'd make the perfect replication in photo form. Others look like robots.

I really liked watching one group down in the lower corner of the screen very obviously planning their perfect approach, and then when they were midway through the street a motorcycle blasted through and entirely ruined it. I laughed. But that guy was still an ass.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:28 AM on May 18, 2011


"John, Ah don't want to cross abbey Road barefoot."

"Come on, Paul, it'll drive the fans nuts."

"Well all right, let's give it a go."
posted by bwg at 6:30 AM on May 18, 2011


You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.

You can tell the Americans because they call a zebra crossing a crosswalk ;-)
posted by i_cola at 6:35 AM on May 18, 2011


When I was living in Hampstead, a nice summertime afternoon activity would be to cycle over to St. John's Wood and watch the people coming to see the famous road crossing. People would get all excited "there it is" and then run over and assemble themselves for photos. With the traffic and all it was quite amusing.

It's less fun over the internet I have to say.

You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.

That crosswalk, not any crosswalk. In Britain, drivers must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk only if the crosswalk is marked with Belisha beacons (those round amber lamps which you can plainly see in the photos of Abbey Road crossing).
posted by three blind mice at 6:36 AM on May 18, 2011


I quite like this photo of moments before abbey road.
posted by lrobertjones at 6:38 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


But is it still the Beatles' Zebra Crossing?
posted by Legomancer at 6:40 AM on May 18, 2011


Reminds me very much of living in DC, where folks from out of town stop their cars in the middle of major thoroughfares to take pictures, or spend 5 minutes blocking the sidewalk while they compose their group shots. On the sidewalk, you get exactly 5 seconds before I walk through your shot. On the road, there is no grace period.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:40 AM on May 18, 2011


LOOK AT ME I'M A BEATLE!!!
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:46 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That crossing drives me nuts. I cycle down there every day and you're taking your life in your hands, the road may look clear but a group of over excited Japanese tourists can leap out at any moment.
posted by ciderwoman at 6:51 AM on May 18, 2011


You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.

Well you wouldn't have lived long enough to have made it to London if you didn't have that attitude. I walk a lot and even with those little stand-up signs in the middle of the road saying "State Law: stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk" drivers still try to run me over, flip me off, yell at me or swerve around me at high speed.
posted by octothorpe at 6:53 AM on May 18, 2011


You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.


They must not be San Francisco Americans. My English friends who live here tell me that when they visit home they have to constantly remind themselves not to blithely step into crosswalks expecting cars to stop.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:01 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I walk a lot and even with those little stand-up signs in the middle of the road saying "State Law: stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk"

They tried one of those at a busy intersection near me--someone ran over it on its first day in service, I kid you not.
posted by sexymofo at 7:02 AM on May 18, 2011


Well you wouldn't have lived long enough to have made it to London if you didn't have that attitude. I walk a lot and even with those little stand-up signs in the middle of the road saying "State Law: stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk" drivers still try to run me over, flip me off, yell at me or swerve around me at high speed.

Are you in the suburbs or the city? Usually city people are pretty reasonable about pedestrians, though i guess it depends on the city.
posted by empath at 7:07 AM on May 18, 2011


I just saw a dude punch a car! Better than advertised!
posted by troublewithwolves at 7:10 AM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Pretty much nonstop action at this moment, one group after another. The number of near-misses per minute is astounding.

And, the cars are all driving on the wrong side of the road....
posted by beagle at 7:11 AM on May 18, 2011


What surprised me most the couple times I've been there is the number of drivers going by with an expression on their face that says "What the...What the hell are these people doing in the middle of the road!!"

It seems once you decide to drive down Abbey Road you have to have been living in a cultural vacuum to not know whats going on.
posted by vacapinta at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am still getting over the fact that y'all drive on the other side of the street. As advertised, within minutes I saw two re-enactments.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:23 AM on May 18, 2011


Personally, I'm holding out for a John Cleese/Ministry of Silly Walks impersonation.
posted by dry white toast at 7:27 AM on May 18, 2011


I'm from the US and we made our way up there when we visited London. It was fun since the studio is a bit away from the rest of the sightseeing, which filters down the foot traffic to the Beatles fans that are making a pilgrimage.

We had a nice chat with a group from Germany and ended up taking each others pictures on the crosswalk. I'm partial to the pictures we have of the graffiti and lyrics written on the wall outside the studio, but the crosswalk is still something you have to do when you go.

Also, kudos to the people that have to drive by there on a regular basis for being super nice about the fools in the road!
posted by hankscorpio83 at 7:28 AM on May 18, 2011


Especially entertaining when it's just one person doing the arms out thing as she crosses three times in a row.
posted by marginaliana at 7:30 AM on May 18, 2011


What surprised me most the couple times I've been there is the number of drivers going by with an expression on their face that says "What the...What the hell are these people doing in the middle of the road!!"

That jives with my only visit to Britain. I entered the country via the Eurostar, and the gentleman seated next to me on the train was chatting on his cell phone. He seemed genuinely shocked that his call was dropped after we entered the Chunnel.
posted by dry white toast at 7:31 AM on May 18, 2011


Oh, that one was just like the original, only if The Beatles had been one guy and instead of walking across the street he was just standing there flexing his muscles.

Thanks for this, fearfulsymmetry. Quite fun.
posted by davidjmcgee at 7:43 AM on May 18, 2011


In Britain, drivers must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk only if the crosswalk is marked with Belisha beacons (those round amber lamps which you can plainly see in the photos of Abbey Road crossing).

According to the regulations, it's not a zebra crossing without them!
posted by pharm at 7:48 AM on May 18, 2011


edd: "octothorpe: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_070339 - no parking."

Thus the lack of white VW Beetles in the background of any new pictures.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 AM on May 18, 2011


I love this photo of The Beatles prepping for the Abbey Road shot. Note Paul's sandals.
posted by zamboni at 8:03 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just saw a guy in an electric wheelchair doing the arms out thing, then his wheelchair stopped about 5 feet from the curve causing traffic to backup and honk and swerve around him for a while, then a cop walked over and had to manually push the chair onto the sidewalk. I guess it broke down.
posted by stbalbach at 8:04 AM on May 18, 2011


Any London-based MeFiers want to run over there and hold up a big HELLO METAFILTER sign?
posted by Legomancer at 8:04 AM on May 18, 2011


I hope you guys don't have Segway tours over there. That's just tragedy waiting to happen.

Lost Tourist + Unsure New Technology + Unaware Schoolchildren = Hilarity

There must be a Tourist Bowling League between the Segway tour guides around the Freedom Trail here in Boston, I see so many kids go down.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:10 AM on May 18, 2011


I've got a thank a friend for clueing me into this... I've become sort of obsessed with it the last few days, even checking it out at 11pm the other night there was still a couple taking that photo
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:12 AM on May 18, 2011


Woo! Handstand + Wheelchair!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:16 AM on May 18, 2011


Wow, I'd never thought about what the street looked like from the other end. I'm pretty shocked that it's such a busy intersection, too. Looks pretty idyllic in the album cover.

This has sort of blown my mind.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:17 AM on May 18, 2011


Ha, also, loud tour guide is loud.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:18 AM on May 18, 2011


It's interesting watching people's gait change as they cross. Even if they are by themselves or clearly not a tourist, their steps get a bit farther apart and their arms start to swing.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:21 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just watched 'planking' there. Nicely done, the car definitely had no idea what you were doing, but seems to have stopped safely.
posted by HLD at 8:22 AM on May 18, 2011


i just saw a guy planking on the crosswalk.
posted by triceryclops at 8:23 AM on May 18, 2011


I thought I was about to watch the newest planking death, but alas...
posted by klausman at 8:23 AM on May 18, 2011


This is terrific. Some smart-ass just did the planking thing in the middle of the crossing then ran across the street and turned around and did it again. Then apparently got bored and left when nobody ran his ass over. (On preview, I guess I saw the same dude that triceryclops and HLD did.)
posted by blucevalo at 8:24 AM on May 18, 2011


I'm actually going to be in London on Memorial Day weekend; one of my best friends has told me I have to go see Abbey Road and do this photo or she will be very put out. ...since it's just me, I wasn't sure how I was able to achieve this, but maybe if I direct her to the webcam and we synchronize watches or something...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on May 18, 2011


You need to sort out the way you walk across Abbey Road, you ridiculous people!
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:42 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


The weirdest thing for me about this is that obviously I know they are fans, and fans make pilgramaes (and I've done the same myself - only a bit more obscure) but if you had asked me to guess before how many times someone gets there photo take their, I'd have said something like - few times a day? couple of times an hour when it's busy... sort of not nearly every minute.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:53 AM on May 18, 2011


I;'ve been watching it and we've hit rush hour now - no, wait, we got one.

It's confusing as the pedestrian crossings in France look like zebra crossings, and my boyfriend had to keep holding me back as I kept forgetting and trying to cross thinking the cars would stop.

I work near to Piccadilly Circus and sometimes pop down to Boots on the way home, and I'm always amazed at the number of tourists taking pictures there. For me, now, it's just the stop near the big Boots and I forget it's a tourist attraction.
posted by mippy at 9:06 AM on May 18, 2011


ardgedee ... you probably saw it at monkeyfilter...it was posted there a few days ago.. Those guys are always more cutting edge than we are!
posted by tomswift at 9:43 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back in 1993 Mr. Adams won a trip to England as a prize. Prize included a tour of Abbey Road studios for our small group (including a midnight snack served to us in the studio's basement cafeteria) - what a great experience! But at the end, my husband and three other men in the group had to have their photo taken crossing Abbey Road. It was December and freezing but the one guy still went barefoot.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:44 AM on May 18, 2011


RedEmma: “You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.”

oneirodynia: “They must not be San Francisco Americans. My English friends who live here tell me that when they visit home they have to constantly remind themselves not to blithely step into crosswalks expecting cars to stop.”

In the West, people generally drive a bit more rationally, I've found, unless you're in a big city in Texas.

Nothing was more eye-opening to me than moving to Boston, however. What impressed and sort of amused me most was the habit many pedestrians seem to have in Boston – that of walking into a crosswalk and demanding that drivers allow them to cross. They'll step out into the road and start pointing at the stripes in broad motions, all the while snarling at the drivers of oncoming cars – as if to say: "listen, you bastards, I have the goddamned right of way here." And I'd see this of little old ladies sometimes. Maybe they do that in New York, too; I don't know.

All I know is that it always seemed somewhat funny and more than a little weirdly courageous – like a dare: "Do you really have the guts to run me over? Really, go ahead and try. I'll bet you won't do it."
posted by koeselitz at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is a technique to legal and illegal street crossing, practiced by most Italians: barely glance at incoming traffic before stepping off the curb, keep your eyes across the street, walk with an attitude, not too fast and not too slow, since that speed lets the vespa riders and the fiat drivers nicely judge how to best avoid you and the incoming traffic and buzz by one inch from you, and smirk at or flip off the drivers only after reaching the safety of the other side.

I have used this technique in other countries, and it seems to work everywhere, with reactions ranging from a bemused expression to loud vulgar cussing followed by rude hand gestures. If terror and fear are insurmountable, closely (less than a foot) following a local jaywalker is an alternative option.
posted by francesca too at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, this made me wistful for my adventuring days abroad. Moreso as I realized my favorite stomping grounds of course have a camera. Its coffee break and raining here in Northern California: a third of the way around the planet people head home from a day at work and nobody seems to be touristing it up. I'm sure most of the commuters at that hour are thankful that the drizzle and keeps them away (though, damn, looks nice in Oxford right now...)
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:48 AM on May 18, 2011



All I know is that it always seemed somewhat funny and more than a little weirdly courageous – like a dare: "Do you really have the guts to run me over? Really, go ahead and try. I'll bet you won't do it."


This ethos sums up how people navigate Los Angeles in any fashion. Whether it's the third car making that left when the light turns (come on! LA already gives you two), pedestrians deciding all of a sudden they want to be over there and running across Hollywood, or a bicyclist swerving in and out of their lane while they sing along to their iPod obliviously, the general attitude always seems to boil down to "Come on. What are you going to do, hit me?"

Sometimes they hit you.
posted by joechip at 10:58 AM on May 18, 2011


There is a technique to legal and illegal street crossing, practiced by most Italians

Also practiced by Shaft.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:04 AM on May 18, 2011


Holy crap, I just saw someone 'plank' in the middle of the street and nearly get run over my a motorcycle.
posted by Windigo at 11:50 AM on May 18, 2011


BY a motorcycle. The guy jumped up like his ass was on fire when the cycle came tearing towards him.
posted by Windigo at 11:51 AM on May 18, 2011


This just makes me wonder whether anything will be that famous ever again.
posted by herbplarfegan at 11:55 AM on May 18, 2011


You can tell the Americans because they don't believe that by merely stepping into the crosswalk, drivers will actually stop.

"You can tell the Americans because they call a zebra crossing a crosswalk ;-)"

You can.. tell the Americans because it takes 3 tries until they know what "You can tell the Americans" means.
posted by herbplarfegan at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2011


Ha! I was amazed that it's late in the day and only a few people are walking around but then ...bam! (Beatles photo).
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:26 PM on May 18, 2011


...since it's just me, I wasn't sure how I was able to achieve this

Meetup on the crossing?
posted by ersatz at 6:12 PM on May 18, 2011


I saved this thread until right now (I'm on PDT) so it's peak hours right now. It does not disappoint! Just saw a trio of mums & strollers doing the walk.

It's kind of amusing how some drivers will just plow through, while others will wait knowingly. Then after the group hesitates too long, you can sense them shouting "just do it already!!"
posted by ShutterBun at 3:15 AM on May 19, 2011


I'm enjoying this way too much. Favorite part: the little "stick-figure warm-up" routine that groups all seem to do on the sidewalk before taking the plunge.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:21 AM on May 19, 2011


I could watch this all day. My favourite thing is when their picture gets ruined at the perfect window of opportunity; someone walks behind them or a bike goes by. I also love the people who are trying to act like they are above it, and not at all a tourist: they'll sort of look around and hesitate and then just casually walk across like they're a local just using the crosswalk, but then they linger on the other side and come back for a second run.
It bothers me how many people walk in the wrong direction.

The Pisa comparison is so true, it's such a "thing you do at a specific location." My favourite of the pictures I took when we drove through Pisa were when I framed the crowds of people holding up their hands but no leaning tower in the shot. So odd and surreal.
But then I'm sure that's a completely unoriginal picture too.
posted by chococat at 9:06 AM on May 19, 2011


Almost every day, I either bike or take the 139 bus through that crosswalk past the studios on my way to work and it's still bemusing to me how drawn the tourists are (I love the album, Abbey Road, but the crosswalk phemonenon? They also tend to cause traffic to back up during rush hour which is slightly less fun. Also, the graffiti on the walls at the sidewalk is pretty grim.)
posted by Jon-A-Thon at 4:16 AM on May 21, 2011


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