Fotolia’s local guides to world cities have taken us to Paris, London, and Berlin – all remarkable in their own ways. But New York is the iconic metropolis, a global titan renowned for skyscrapers and as ‘the city that never sleeps’ – making it one of the most exciting locations to visit and photograph.
As always, we spoke to the Fotolia team in New York, and asked for their local tips to capture some awesome snaps, whether for the holiday album or to sell on Fotolia.
Fotolia: Where would you recommend going to view the city from a distance?
New York: You can go horizontal or you can go vertical, depending on what kind of shot you’re looking for.
If you’re going vertical then try The Empire State Building Observatory Deck. Reaching a ridiculous 1,250ft above the skyline this world-famous location has to be visited. Open until 2am, you can get great photos by day and by night. Or, if you’re after romance, visit on Thursday nights when a saxophonist serenades visitors live on the 86th floor.
Anyone who’s driven from one of the city airports into Manhattan knows how captivating it is when the city skyline comes into view. To really put it into perspective a trip to New Jersey, across the Hudson River is necessary. Liberty State Park features spectacular sweeping views of the Westside of Manhattan and is only a short ferry trip away.
If you’re on a budget, but still looking to take in the awe of the city then a trip on the Staten Island Ferry, a water-taxi predominantly for tourists is a cheeky tip. It’s a free service from Battery Park that provides breathtaking views of the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty.
Combining a winning view and outdoor activity is a bonus, so renting a small boat in the Lake in Central Park, weather permitting, allows you to recover from the hustle and bustle of the city whilst getting some fantastic shots. But be prepared to use some muscle power – or bring someone along to help with the oars!
If you’re looking to find a fantastic view overlooking Central Park then the place to go is the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can enjoy a martini there whilst gazing at the vista.
Fo: Where is best place to go in the city to feel creatively inspired?
NY: New York is often regarded as a trendsetter when it comes to art and design. Numerous well-known and highly regarded artists and photographers have taken inspiration in the city from its nightlife, architecture, inhabitants, and street life.
New York’s ethnic diversity is evident in most of its neighborhoods, and is distinct in areas such as Little Venice, Sheepshead Bay, South Williamsburg, Astoria, Chinatown, and Curry Hill. A visit to each is highly recommended in order to taste their global cuisines.
SoHo, Greenwich, and the West Village are hotspots for trendy yet sophisticated shops, bars, and people.
New York’s museums are some of the best in the world, and there’s one for every taste and interest.
MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) is widely regarded as the best museum in the world for contemporary art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds internationally famous artworks by Michelangelo, da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Gris.
Visit at midday, when the light is perfect to shoot indoors, particularly in the famed Egyptian collection. The light is filtered through the glass and provides beautiful shadows across the 26,000 objects of prime historical and artistic importance. The Met allows photography in all its exhibitions, which is unusual for such a big museum housing such pieces of international acclaim.
Across the river is NYC’s creative hub: Brooklyn, where it’s clear why this is the area for those looking for artistic inspiration from the graffiti and murals featured on so many of the buildings. It is worth keeping an eye out for the many cultural events that take place, from pop-up galleries to visual aerial art displays.
You’ll also get an exquisite view of Manhattan South from the Brooklyn Bridge; in itself a defining example of New York architecture. Further south, you’ll reach Brooklyn Heights, and from there get a stunning view of Southern Manhattan, Governor Island, and the Statue of Liberty.
NY: As with any city, it’s worth visiting the tourist attractions – they’re popular for a reason: the Rockefeller Centre, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Times Square are all impressive examples. However once you’ve ticked those boxes it’s time to discover some of New York’s hidden gems that add to its grand charm and magnificence.
A trip to Coney Island, a playground for the rich developed in 1900, gives a marvelous sense of New York in days-gone-by. Previously left to decline, it has since seen major investment to preserve its cultural significance, and this is highlighted in the many art exhibitions, burlesque shows, museums and circus shows that now take place there.
The Coney Island Arcade, which was the first of such in the U.S., is a vibrant historical trip back in time, marking the moment when Brooklyn first transformed from a sleepy residential suburb to a center of entertainment. Brooklyn Heights, has maintained its traditional architectural structures, such as the ‘carriage houses’ and eponymous ‘Brownstones’.
If you’re in Brooklyn and want to combine some great photo opportunities with a spot of shopping then the Williamsburg Flea Market is a must. An eclectic mix of antiques, clothes, furniture and food is on offer, all set against a stunning Manhattan Skyline.
For a more urban view of the city, try a trip to the High Line in the Meatpacking District. Built on an historic freight rail line, elevated above the streets, is a so-called ‘Aerial Greenway’ overlooking the Westside of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Not only are these views an insight into the old industrial area of the city, but also the natural beauty they spawned has been carefully cultivated, providing some welcome peace and greenery in an otherwise hectic city.
If you’re looking for a great party with a fantastic view then the Gansevoort Hotel is the place for you. Located in the ultra-hip Meatpacking District, the Gansevoort’s top floor offers cocktails with some of the coolest people in New York. There’s even a rooftop swimming pool with views to the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center.
However, to really capture the Empire State Building we advise paying a visit to 230 Fifth, New York’s largest rooftop garden and Penthouse lounge. Have another cocktail, look at the view, and we guarantee you’ll never want to leave.
Fo: Wow! Thanks very much for all those tips. Now, do you know where we can buy a bigger suitcase? It’s going to be a much longer trip than we thought!
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