On the morning of August 24th in the year 79, a sleeping giant awoke on the sunny shores of the Bay of Naples in what's now southern Italy.
Within 24 hours, Mount Vesuvius wiped out 700 years of human history and habitation. I have been all over the place but no places haunt me the way the surviving Roman ruins around the Bay of Naples do.
The Romans who lived in Pompeii were us and there's no escaping that. When you stand in their homes, in their shops or in their baths, Roman us-ness stares you in the face. Uncomfortably. The Romans were the ancient world's super power. They set the tone and led the world in innovation and culture. And they're not here anymore.
Their legacy is alive though. Every time you give somebody a birthday present, or celebrate Christmas in December, or root for a team in the Super Bowl you're living that Roman legacy. Being in a place like Pompeii drives that point home to an uncomfortable degree. Mercifully for us however, the Romans were a prolific lot and their artifacts are as numerous as they are widespread. As of the 4th of March, a new collection of those artifacts is in New York.
Discovery Communications' Discovery Times Square is an exhibit space the brings in immersive, large-scale, limited-run and educational experiences while exploring the world’s defining cultures, art, history and events.
Now through September 5th, 2011, Discover Times Square is exhibiting Pompeii The Exhibit: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius.
If you find yourself in or around New York at any point in the next six months, don't miss this. Discovery Times Square is at 226 West 44th Street. You can learn more about the exhibit and about the facility on their website.