This was actually our first full day in the city, since we had arrived the afternoon before. After getting some breakfast at the little cafe around the corner from our hotel, it was time to hit the streets. We walked pretty much everywhere, which turned out to be a LOT of walking. About 60 miles over the four and a half days we were there. Walking was the best option since there were so many photographic opportunities and we didn't want to miss anything.
A couple blocks down from the hotel was the New York Public Library. It is located on the same block as Bryant Park. This is the main branch of the library, housed in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. This branch opened in 1911 in a ceremony presided over by President William Howard Taft. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, and designated a New York City Landmark in 1967. It is quite a building on the outside. The interior appears to be spectacular as well, but we were not able to go inside during the times we were there.
Walking the busy sidewalks and streets on a Friday morning was kind of a surreal experience. Millions of people were hustling along on their way to work or wherever, while the four of us were leisurely strolling along taking pictures of things. We had a front row seat to the 'rat race' and I found myself wondering how they could do that on a daily basis. I suppose it is just something you get used to after a while.
With so many tall buildings all around, the low morning sun was barely visible. On the few occasions we did see it, I tried one of my favorite techniques to create an image with a starburst sun. Some worked and some didn't. This one kind of worked.
Photographers are always on the lookout for interesting light, shadows, shapes, patterns, and lines. Oh, and reflections. The glass buildings made for some interesting reflections when the sun was at a low angle.
Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 highrise commercial buildings, which includes the original Time-Life Building, the Today Show studios, and Radio City Music Hall. The heart of the complex is 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock). This impressive building is the home of NBC Studios.
In the image below, I wanted to use a longer shutter speed to smooth out the flowing water and show the movement of traffic in the background. This technique typically requires the use of a tripod to keep the camera from moving while the shutter is open. I didn't bring a tripod with me, so attempted to hold the camera for this shot. Even at a half second shutter speed, I think it was acceptably sharp.
A little further along our way to Central Park, we made a quick stop at the famed Plaza Hotel. If you've watched Home Alone 2, you'll recognize this as the hotel where Kevin stayed when he was lost in New York. The hotel was opened in 1907. According the Wikipedia, a room at that time was $2.50 a night. Out of curiosity, I did check to see what the nightly rate would be. Let's just say that it's a bit more now than it was back in 1907! A step inside revealed very luxurious furnishings, but only hotel guests are allowed to enter the lobby area.
Across the street from the Plaza Hotel is an entrance to Central Park. We took a long stroll through the park to see what we could see. It's is interesting to see this huge tract of green space in the midst of all the skyscrapers.
A bit further along (actually quite a walk) in Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. This is considered to be the heart of Central Park and the terrace overlooks Central Park Lake. The sandstone pillars and railings are filled with intricate carvings and amazing stone and tile artwork adorn the walls of the lower passage.
There is so much to see in Central Park that one could probably spend a whole week there. We walked through a part of it in one afternoon. With so much to see in so little time, it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all. I can probably think of a hundred things that I now wish that I would have photographed. At the time, it was just fun to enjoy it. Sometimes, maybe it is best to just take mental pictures rather than spend all of your time viewing the world through the lens of a camera.
Although that is not the end of our second day, I'm going to end this post here and pick up the rest later. Stay tuned for more...