New York City is one city full of personalities. As my unpopular opinion goes, I did not enjoy NYC for the first 2 days. A city full of sky scrappers, heavy people traffic and never a second of silence – NYC can make you feel small. However, as my friend who lives there said to me “If you embrace this city with an open mind, the city will deliver so much more in return”, and deliver it did. NYC is now one of my favourite cities in the world. I loved walking around Manhattan and there were so many corners which surprised me. NYC is also the city where I was able to tick 2 things off my bucket list which were to attend all 4 Grand Slams (US Open being the last!) and to watch a Broadway Show (highly recommend “Mean Girls”!).
My husband and I share a passion in photography and this is a small guide to my favourite locations to photograph in NYC.
At a cost of $36 + Tax a head, visiting the observatory deck of the Rockefeller Centre is well worth the price tag for this spectacular 360 degree view of NYC’s skyline. I don’t think I truly appreciated NYC and how amazing this concrete jungle was.
**Photo tips: Arrive early! We arrived at 8:30am after overshooting the subway stop by 3 stops because we were too busy chatting about whatever we were chatting about! There were no queue to purchase tickets however, once we got to the top deck, there were already quite a few visitors around. We had to wait around a little bit to take these photos and I have been told that from midday to late afternoon, the observatory gets really crowded. Note that the popular view to photograph is the side with the Empire State Building, however, don’t forget the other side where you have a birds eye view of Central Park!**
Aka the location of The Daily Bugle in the original Spider Man trilogy! Located at 175 Fifth Avenue and one of the taller skyscrapers in Manhattan, the building is distinct for its triangular features.
**Photo tips: Come here to photograph during golden hour where the sun casts a glow on one side of the building. My favourite framing of the Flatiron has to be with the Fifth Avenue Building Clock and if you’re lucky, you may catch a Yellow Cab parked on the side of the road to also capture in the frame. There are however, so many side walks you can safely stand to photograph this iconic building so go for a wander around!**
What can I say about Central Park besides the fact that it is HUGE and you can easily spend an entire day strolling and exploring this area itself. Fun fact: there are 31 bridges and arches in Central Park! One of my favourite areas of Central Park is Bethesda Terrace which features 2 grand staircases, a lower and upper terrace and a fountain.
**Photo tips: To photograph this lower passage featuring the beautiful Minton Tile Ceilings, like every other location in NYC, get there early! We arrive at 10am and we caught a few seconds lucky break where we manage to snap photos without anybody. Alternatively, consider shooting on the side passages given that many visitors only walk through the passage.**
DUMBO (aka Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) has got to be one of my favourite areas to chill. Flanked by an incredible view of the Manhattan Skyline, this area is perfect for either sunrise or sunset photography. My favourite locations to photograph around this area includes:
Most instragrammable spot in DUMBO! **Photo tip: Arrive early! We arrived at 7:30am and there were already budding photographers and instagrammers there and no one lines up for their turn (this is not Britain!) so just jump in and do your stuff!**
A carved, 48 horse carousel that was built in 1922 for the Idora Park Amusement Park in Youngstown Ohio and now resides in Brooklyn Bridge Park after the closure of the Amusement Park. My one regret is not having the chance to photograph at this carousel during blue hour where the lights of the carousel lights up!
**Photo Tip: Be creative! Sure, it is most popular to shoot in the middle of the bridge but to the side is where you see the Manhattan Skyline!**
Instagrammable Cafes, Shops and Murals!
Who doesn’t love a pink cafe?! There is a sign outside the cafe which asks for $1 donation to Breast Cancer research for photos taken there. Why not?!
A seasonal mural painted on top of a trash can. Does it smell? Well, of course, but it’s so pretty! #doitforthegram Note that there is one trash can without a lid and you would need to photoshop it so you won’t see the exposed bin in your photo…
The smell of the NYC subway may be questionable and as a tourist, you cannot avoid it. However, one station worth visiting is the 28th Street Subway Station on the Lexington Avenue 4 and 6 line which is covered in beautiful glass mosaic mural with vibrant rose buds, hellebores, witch hazel, magnolias, daffodils, hydrangeas and camellia plants.
Love it or hate it, you cannot give Times Square a miss. Besides, what is NYC without Times Square?
**Photo Tips: For me, it’s worth visiting Times Square during the day and also during the night. Unless you get there very early or super late, you will never get an empty shot of Times Square. Besides, Times Square would look so weird without people in it! My advise is to find an elevation and photograph from there. That way, you would also capture the billboards and the skyscrapers!**
A relatively new part of NYC, Hudson’s Yard features “The Vessel” which is architecturally intriguing and best of all, it’s free to visit! Following your visit to the Vessel, go for a walk along the High Line (a former rail track now converted to an elevated linear park) where you enjoy various street arts and vantage points of many street views – great for those who love street photography like my husband! Check out some of his instagram page here.
**Photo tips: Although I did not have time to come here to shoot at sunset, there are various photos floating around Instagram of the sunset over the Hudson River.**
Other travel tips:
For those who know me, we travel mostly on a small budget. My favourite cheap eats around Manhattan are:
- Shake Shack: What can I say besides UTTERLY DELICIOUS! Try the Innovation Kitchen at West Village for your chance to make your own burger
- Joe’s Shanghai: Chinatown is full of restaurants and we wish we had more time to explore (This is by far the biggest Chinatown I’ve ever been to). The XiaoLongBao although oddly large was beyond delicious and one of the best I’ve ever had!
- BB.Q Olive Chicken: A no fuss eatery with delicious KFC (Korean Fried Chicken is where it’s at!) with various choices of marinades. Koreatown is a 10 minute walk from the Flatiron so it’s a great option for cheap eats in Central Manhattan
This is both my husband and my first time to NYC and we cannot wait for our impending return!
Until next time!