Best Places to Take Amazing Pictures in NYC

New York charm is ineffable and extremely photogenic: point camera in any direction and you'll get the most stylish urban view ever. Day & night panoramas, skylines and waterfronts, sky-high buildings and magnificent pre-war architecture, natural and industrial landscapes, street art and fashion. No wonder this city is one the most photographed and filmed places on earth, and both amateurs and professionals literally worship its beauty and authenticity. One can hardly count all the iconic images, but here is a 15-item list to start with. We put them in some kind of geographical order (except the last 2), so imagine you begin your photo tour on the Upper East Side and then walk downtown, explore Soho, pass through the Lower Manhattan, and then cross the bridge to Brooklyn. Apparently, you make a million more other shots on your way, but still, the following spots are highly recommended.


#1. The Rooftop Garden at the Metropolitan Museum

Once you explored the precious collection of art at the Met (of course, there’s no way you do it all in one visit), it's is time to investigate one more jewel this place has to offer – the Rooftop Garden. In the southeastern part of the building Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden is located, which also contains a romantically arranged café and bar. In summer the deck also hosts solo exhibitions by contemporary artists, but great views of Central Park and Manhattan skyline truly steal visitor's attention. The spectacular scene, admired by city dwellers (mentioned in many guides and memoirs) and tourists, is highly recommended for meditative portraits and panoramic shots. The fact that this rooftop has free entrance, unlike the most others, is just a cherry on top!

 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

#2. Central Park Bow Bridge

It never seems to be fair to emphasize one particular sight of Central Park among others, as each and every one of them is beautiful and historically rich. However, we take that chance and state that the Bow Bridge is an iconic image of the Park and of the city. So, once you go northwest from Bethesda Fountain, which is also a great spot for making recognizable postcards of NY, soon you reach this ornamented bridge. The curving cast-iron looks great from different locations, but stepping on a little berm to the right side of it, one can get both bridge and the San Remo building into one amazing shot. This extremely peaceful place looks just more awesome during fall, with a vibrant reddish backdrop. But seriously, what place in New York doesn’t, for that matter?

 59th to 110th St., from Central Park West to 5th Ave., New York, NY 10022

#3. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The spectacular Catholic basilica, also known as "America's Parish Church", is truly a vision. Even if you’re not that religious to participate in a Sunday mass, pay a visit to this amazing church to admire its architectural grandeur. Enigmatic stain-glass windows, endlessly high ceilings, precious art collection, breathtaking colonnades, all of this creates solemn and peaceful atmosphere. While inside, don’t be confused to pull your camera out: the space is so large, that you won’t disturb people or priests doing their rituals. It got even more impressive after the massive reconstruction, which lasted for 3 years and cost about $175 million. The magnificent marble facade of this Neo-Gothic-style landmark is facing Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. You can put its full height in frame from the opposite side of the street, which is also the location of the famous Atlas statue. Take a chance to perform a dynamic shot of these two monuments, with St. Patrick’s Cathedral as an authentic backdrop to the sculpture. Such an image is quite frequently featured among postcards and web collections.

 14 E 51st St between Fifth and Madison Aves

#4. Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center place is magical: beautifully organized walking area, good restaurants, perfect shopping with Saks Fifth Avenue, Radio City, and of course, traditional ice skating rink and astounding Christmas tree make it the most visited landmark during the winter season. However one attraction here is topping above all mentioned the whole year round, especially in summer – the Observation Deck of the Rockefeller Center. Top of the Rock gives an incredible panoramic view of the NYC, quite competitive to the most famed top view spot – the Empire State Building. You get there by climbing to the 850-feet height of the GE Building. Smart tourists pick a half-an-hour-before-sunset time to visit to the deck: this is how you get the day, sunset and night views at one time. One more tip for you: it’s also great to capture the building in its vertical splendor by shooting it as closely as you can from the bottom.

 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan, NY 10111

#5. Times Square at twilight

Despite the fact that many New Yorkers are intolerant to this place being called the symbol of the city and simply hate pushing their way through the touristic crowd on sidewalks, Times Square is an unforgettable visual impression and the most popular spot for pictures in NYC. The beating heart of Manhattan concrete jungle, sometimes referred as “the heart of the world”, it represents the major entertainment and commercial center, which should be featured in your walking-around-New-York album at least once. The area is illuminated with LED ad screens and Broadway shows billboards, so it’s almost as much light here at night as it at day. Choose any direction you like: the area gives many photo shooting opportunities. Coca-Cola sign, Chevrolet clock, the M&M’s Store and the huge guitar hanging above the entrance of The Hard Rock Café are among the most beloved lens targets here. You should stay patient in order to make a nice selfie, as you deal with thousands of hustling people and annoying street “super heroes”, leeching for a photo. Piece of advice: try to come here at twilight and sit on the stairs for a while, so you can soak up the atmosphere of the place and then recall it from the pictures.

 Times Square, NY

#6. Grand Central and Chrysler Building (Vanderbilt Ave and E 42nd St)

It’s true that in New York every view is worth to be photographed, and it’s so stuffed with landmarks, that sometimes you catch a few of them in one frame. This is what can happen if you, say, walk down the East 42 St, reach Vanderbilt Ave and look up. Here opens a spectacular view on Grand Central Terminal, MetLife Building and another famous city tower – Chrysler Building. Manage to get these three into one shot: this patchy “set” is quite an illustration of the whole concept of NYC peculiar building arrangement.

 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

#7. Grand Central (the Main Concourse)

Is this place so admirable that it’s worth to be mentioned specifically in our list? Certainly, it is. Whether you’re going to New Haven by train or you just happen to walk around Manhattan midtown, this spot should be definitely put in your photographing itinerary. Actually, it’s easy to spend here half of the day, exploring and capturing all the hidden corners and outdoor decorations of this monumental Beaux-Arts structure. The Main Concourse alone is the space that is taking your breath for a while: the size, the staircases, the ceiling, the floor, the windows – every inch of it contributes to the whole romantic and even sacramental atmosphere, and of course, attracts the lens of your camera. For inspiration, find an old picture by Hal Morey. And it’s recommended to sit down on the floor to make some great shots.

 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

#8. Top of The Empire State Building

Just like the previous one, this list item probably won’t be a revelation both for a first-comer and a resident. This high beautiful Art Deco landmark is a must-see for all who happen to be in New York City. Even a huge line for the elevator can hardly stop one from getting an astounding view of the city where dreams are made of. And you better get a good camera, as it can be pointed in so many directions while you’re walking around the observation deck. Enjoy making some memorable postcards of your own!

 350 Fifth Ave Concourse Suite 100 New York, NY 10118

#9. Flatiron Building

The Flatiron building is one of the most impressive and unusual structures in town, and it was one of the first NY skyscrapers, for that matter. By nowadays some city buildings have surely surpassed Flatiron in height, but not necessarily in beauty. Unfortunately, one can’t climb up to the top, but plenty of great shots can be taken from the ground. Probably, the favorable point to take the picture of the famed giant is to stand right in front of its angle on 24th street, on the street island right between Broadway and 5th Ave, or go down the Fifth towards 26 St for less crowded positions to shoot. And again, the lower you put your camera, the more fully you catch the landmark - this rule works good for the vertical array of buildings here in New York. Also mind that it can look even more dramatic with the clouds are over it.

 175 Fifth Ave Gramercy & Flatiron, New York

#10. The Bowery Houston Mural Wall

On the border of NoHo and East Village there is a place any street art fan should see and capture for posterity, mostly because it’s changing its look every year. We are talking about the Bowery Mural Wall, which you can find on the corner of Bowery and East Houston streets. Started with Keith Haring and Juan Dubose public initiative in 1982, and with the Goldman family sponsorship followed in 2008, Bowery Mural became a spot for featuring the masterpieces of graffiti on constant basis. For decades, many emerging artists from the USA and around the world have occupied the wall’s surface with their inspiring ideas, maintaining a symbolic facade, which totally fits the area. So, maybe you’ll be inspired to burst the Instagram with a few funny, conceptual pictures in front of this colorful outdoor exhibition. By coming here regularly you can get a certain collection.

#11. Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian way

After the recent long-run renovation, New Yorkers have finally got back the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. And it’s certainly the best pedestrian way to get to the borough. The views are breathtaking in any direction, especially the Lower Manhattan and Financial District. A slow walk with shooting stops will take about half an hour, but be prepared to push you way through the crowd of tourists, as the bridge is one of the top-list destinations for them. Once you pass the central point and reach the Brooklyn side of the bridge, carefully climb up the railings and get a happy selfie or two, pointing your camera backwards right. And don’t forget to snap the most iconic vision, featured in so many movies - Brooklyn Bridge Gateway.

 Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038

#12. Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge Park

FiDi, Lower Manhattan, One World Trade Center… Once you turn right or left from the Brooklyn Bridge to Dumbo, you get plenty of New York skyline views to deal with. These are among the most stunning and most photographed ones, but true city-lovers never get tired of it. If you've never been there, spare the nearest free hours to do that, either by walking across the bridge or by train. Don’t be lazy and explore the bank, walk around the Brooklyn Bridge Park: it’s very likely you’ll be tempted to picture every inch of this splendid panorama. Yet your view hunting might be challenged with all tourists, wedding shoots and other crowds, especially on weekends. There are some additional perks to this trip: you can also enjoy the finest NY pizza at Grimaldi’s and take a East River Ferry ride back to the City, completing the full view of Manhattan waterfront up to the Midtown.

 From Jay St and John St to Atlantic Ave and Furman St, Brooklyn

#13. Manhattan Bridge from Washington Street, Brooklyn

They say, “once you reach Manhattan, you don't have to cross any more bridges”. That's true at some point, but how about observing Manhattan from other boroughs? True photo maniac can not ignore this activity. Continuing the walk across Dumbo, one can’t help stopping on Washington Street to capture the fascinating perspective of Manhattan Bridge, one of the few bridges connecting the boroughs. Though it hasn't got so much historical significance as its neighbor – the Brooklyn Bridge, this stylish iron structure has become frequently used as a symbol of Brooklyn as well. And this view has all the reasons to be iconic due to its perfect assembly with the street intersection and with the most important NYC landmark – the Empire State Building, which is so gracefully framed between the parts of the construction. Both dawn and dusk are suitable here for the great photographing experience.

#14. Staten Island Ferry and the Statue of Liberty

The New York agenda one should never miss is the Staten Island Ferry ride. First, it is free; second, with just one trip you catch the highlights of New York waterfront, including Lower Manhattan waterfront, several bridges and, of course, The Statue of Liberty. The best way to capture the greatest American symbol is from the right board of the boat when you’re going to the Staten Island, or from the left board when heading back. If you like to capture the Statue with the whole skyline panorama with no backlight disturbing the composition, take the ferry on sunrise. Even if you’re not an early bird, no worries: beautiful silhouette shots of the Statue would turn up at dusk, and if you’re lucky, colorful sky splashes will make the pictures even more amazing. While approaching the Whitehall Terminal on Manhattan, move to the front board of the ferry to eyewitness the most spectacular image of the Lower Manhattan ensemble.

 South St at Whitehall St

#15. Helicopter Tour NYC

Does it need any explanations? If you got spare hundred or three and clear New York sky above your head, there’s no way you find better photographing opportunity than this. Bird’s-eye view of NYC is once-in-a-lifetime experience you will be certainly lucky to have! Maybe this one requires a little bit courage, skills and upscale photo equipment as well: it would be silly to take this tour without arranging a good camera for yourself. There are various flying routes offered by helicopter tour companies, so you need to decide whether you’d like to see FiDi, or Central Park, or just take the grand tour to capture all amazing parts of the city from air. Half an hour of breathtaking flight and snap!snap!snap!

  Published ID4801

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