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Last night, the dog-walkers and wine-sippers of North Beach's Washington Square Park had a slightly unwelcome visit—from the future. It was a fly-by that left some raising their wine glasses to toast, and others to complain about the intrusion.
A science-fiction looking remote-controlled helicopter, complete with what appeared to be a camera, made several aerial passes over the park last night around dusk. And though it wasn't some nefarious government plot, it did leave some park-goers with an uncomfortable feeling of a violation of personal space. "I felt like this could be the uneasy future where drones fly around all the time without your permission. I felt violated that this machine could interrupt the nice evening that everyone was having," one tipster wrote into us via email.
The flying machine, which appeared similar to GoPro's Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter, took several passes across the park, as well as scattering a crow that had perched at Saints Peter and Paul Church across the street. At one point, according to our tipster, the operate of the craft played with some of the dogs in the park. "The dogs were barking at it, and it would hover just out reach of them," she wrote.
From the pictures we were sent, it seems that some park goers didn't mind the air show. Some of them even are seen toasting it with their glasses. And some of the dogs look like they'd rather be playing with it than chasing yet another stick. But like Google Glass or the tech shuttles before it, it looks like the drone led to divided reactions.
"It was Big Brother, meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind," wrote our source, "meets some tech ass-whip who thinks he's cool because he has a drone."
Maybe it was. But how much would you bet somebody said the same thing about the first car they ever saw?