Taxi Driver (1976), Leon (1994), The Sopranos (1999 – 2005), Requiem for a Dream (2000), King Kong, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Sex & the City (1998 – 2004), Manhattan (1979), The Godfather (1972), Mad Men (2007 – 2015), Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986)… Tons of movies and series have been shot in the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. New York is a great playground for whoever likes to take pictures and when Cécile & I land in New York, I shoot all day long, from our first step on Big Apple’s ground to the last one ! And now that we know some good photos spots, we’d like to take you around Manhattan & Brooklyn, to let you discover the well known and more confidential places from where you’ll bring back amazing pictures ! Oh and At the bottom of the page, we left a little map to locate them all.
Top of the Rock, The tourists favorite.
the Observatory Deck at Rockefeller Center, in the heart of Manhattan! The postcard that goes all around the world with, on one side, the superb skyline, the mythical Empire State Building, Times Square and the One World Trade Center… On the other side, the vastness of Central Park and the new residential towers that are starting to shadow it.
☞ Access to the observatory will cost you at least $ 34, the best time to enjoy it calmly is between 8:30 and 11:00 but the most beautiful photos are to be shot at sunset.
You’ll find all the infos about the Top of the Rock here.
Central Park & Colombus Circle.
A few streets further north, the unmissable Central Park offers a different view of the city. The green lung of New York is full of nice spots where you can take great shots. One of the most popular is The Pond, a small lake and its Gapstow Bridge that tourists appreciate for the view it gives on the skyline which appears above the trees…
☞ But there is a place that only locals know. And for good reasons, it’s hidden in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, in the Frederick Rose Hall of the Jazz at Lincoln Center to be precise, A concert halls address dedicated to Jazz. It is not necessary to hold a ticket to have access, the spot is located at the exit of a very discreet escalator that leads to the entrances of the rooms. And here is the point of view:
If you get lost in the alleyways of Central Park, you’ll surely find the Bow Bridge, the most romantic bridge in New York. Also, the banks of the Reservoir are worth the walk to capture the light. ☞ The scenery is more photogenic in May, where the magnolias color the alleyways in pink. But the spot where the view is the most breathtaking is the MET Museum’s terrace, no question! The building’s roof is actually an extension of the museum where temporary exhibitions are offered to visitors with, in the background, a superb panorama over Central Park and the row of Midtown skyscrapers. You’ll find all the infos about the Metropolitan Museum of Art on their website.
And what about Brooklyn ?
We’re now going on the other side of East River, in Dumbo, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. You just have to cross one of them to discover a completely different atmosphere than in Manhattan, yet so close. The very industrial district attracts photographers who came to redesign the poster of Once Upon a Time in America. But it’s mostly in the evening, on the shores of Main Street Park that the lens are used. Here, the view of Downtown Manhattan is magical !
There are Two other spots in the area: ☞ From Brooklyn Bridge Park, you will have the opportunity to shoot another part of Downtown but also the Statue of Liberty, off the Hudson River. ☞ The other spot, quite recent, is on the public rooftop of the Empire Store, a newly renovated building that houses a few shops, startups and a furnished terrace that gives a great point of view.
The unusual spots of Mahattan.
Now that you’ve got your fill of postcard images – forget about Times Square, the Empire State Building Observatory or the One World Trade Center that you’ll visit without any advice – let’s see what’s happening around less popular spots, sometimes unknown or completely ignored that makes them interesting for photographers…
☞ Facing Dumbo, the East River Bike Way is a place to venture if you’re not on your first big apple tour. Indeed, hidden under the highway, in the shadow of China Town, the spot is not ultra glamorous. But the decrepit setting still has its charm, very New York finally.
Two other addresses to shoot the picture that no one will have, or almost: ☞ The first one is Porcelanos Flagship Store at Madison Square Park. Yes, a bathroom store… But mostly a 7-storey building with a direct view of the Flat Iron Building ! Passing the front door, don’t act like « I come to admire your bathtub« ! The receptionist will have seen you coming and it’s better just to tell her sincerely that you’d like to take a picture of the Flat Iron. ☞ The second one, Equinox, inside Brookefield Place, right in front of Ground Zero. Here too, explain directly to the person who greets you that you’re here for the view on the 9/11 Memorial Park, the One WTC and the Oculus.No need to enter the gym, anything is there, right at the entrance.
Let’s stay on the Hudson River side, west of Manhattan… More than being a very enjoyable ride and a popular jogger circuit, the Hudson River Greenway sets a perfect backdrop for capturing all of New York’s energy. Basketball and tennis courts, Skate Park, dog gardens and playgrounds, all the excitement of Manhattan is concentrated, close to Tribeca and its refined architecture.
Finally, some photogenic walks in Soho, the West Village and the Meatpacking District are essential if you want to immortalize an atmosphere that is diametrically opposed to the idea that people have about Manhattan. The facades of the legendary Iron Buildings – the most beautiful are located from Canal Street to Houston Street and from Broadway to 6th Avenue – have to be shot early in the morning to avoid the hundreds fashionistas in the area… In the West Village, the charming Perry Street, Bleecker Street or Jane Street will make your day. If you’re a fan of the Friends, visit Grove street and Bedford Street junction where you’ll recognize a famous building… And last but not least, the High Line offers great views, often voluntarily highlighted along this old railroad converted into a green promenade that attracts tourists and locals.
Last few stop-off spots, the Tudor City Bridge at the end of E 42nd Street, the forgotten Skybridge in Staple street, Le Bain, the Rooftop bar of the Standard Hotel and the Oculus, the World Trade Center Path station designed by Santiago Calatrava. And as this post would become frankly too long if we spoke about all the spots of New York, the latest are to discover on the map below.