New York

New York City Finale

Wow, looking back now through all the images from New York City, it is hard to believe how much ground we covered.  Most of that was entirely on foot.  Over 60 miles in four days.  That was a lot of walking....and tons of fun.

Our last day in the Big Apple was super busy and eventful.  As usual, the day started with a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe to fuel our bodies for the urban hike.  It was October 10, a Monday. The City was bustling with activity as millions of people made their way to work.  In the streets were the usual symphony of car horns.  The sidewalks were alive and fully "infested" with business men and women eagerly running the rat race.  It was nice to just leisurely stroll along and stop for a photo now and then.  

Our first destination for the day was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or "The Met", located up 5th Avenue.  The Met is the larges art museum in the United States, containing over two million works.  This place was huge.  We could only cover a small fraction of it in the short time we were there, but it was an amazing place to see.  There were plenty of things to see along the way.  One of the more comical scenes was two NYPD officers, who were both big guys, getting into the smallest car possible.  

After leaving The Met, we walked back a different route that took us by the United Nations Headquarters.  This complex, bordered by First Avenue to the west, East 42nd Street to the south, East 48th Street to the north, and the East River to the east, has served as UN headquarters since 1952.  

The United Nations

We also made a brief stop at the famous Chrysler Building.  The tallest brick building in the world with steel structure, the Chrysler Building stands at 1,046 feet high.  It's an architectural marvel, but is not easy to photograph amongst all the other tall buildings and busy streets.  

The Chrysler Building entrance

For sunset, we took a ride across the Hudson River to Hoboken, New Jersey.  The view back across the river at the New York skyline was amazing.  Not a cloud in the sky, but the sunset colors provided a nice backdrop.   

Finally, the night (and the trip), culminated with views from the 86th and 102nd floors of the Empire State Building.  The Empire State Building was the first structure completed that was over 100 stories.  It stood as the tallest building in the world from its completion in 1931 until 1967.  It is now only the 5th tallest skyscraper in the United States and 34th in the world.  

So, there you have it.  It was an amazing trip, and I've finally been able to get through all the images capturing the experience.  Someday, I may even go back again...

Taking the High Line to Greenwich Village

To say that there are numerous interesting neighborhoods in New York City would be an understatement.  Greenwich Village is certainly no exception.  Colloquially know as simply 'the Village', this quaint yet eclectic neighborhood is located on the west side of Lower Manhattan. Greenwich Village has been touted as an artist's haven.  It is well-known as an important landmark for American bohemian culture as well as the cradle of the LGBT movement.  With a history as colorful as its inhabitants, it was certainly an interesting stroll through the streets.  

We started the day by heading west from our hotel to the High Line Trail.  The High Line is a 1.45-mile linear park built on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur known as the West Side Line.  Most of this section of railroad spur was demolished in 1960, and laid dormant until construction of the rails-to-trails park began in 2006.   

The view from the High Line

On the High Line Trail

A flair for the dramatic on the High Line

The Empire State Building in the distance

Most of the morning was gray and rainy.  It seems we spent about as much time hanging out in coffee shops as out shooting.  There were still plenty of interesting things to see and photography, though.  

Never know what you'll find in The Village

Lunch at John's on Bleecker Street

The Village Vanguard, famous jazz club in operation since 1935

Jefferson Market Library

We also made stops in Union Square and Washington Square Park.  Both were infested with people, doing a variety of things.  Some were feeding the local wildlife, some playing musical instruments, a few were playing chess.  There were even a few protesting for sex worker rights. We live in unusual times.  Here are a few more images, and don't worry, they are all safe for work.

FDNY

Chess in Union Square

The view from Washington Square Park

Washington Square Arch

   

A Rainy Day in the Neighborhoods

After leaving the East Village, our path lead us through the neighborhoods of Little Italy and Chinatown.  It was a rainy day, so not great for being out for a walk in the city or for having the cameras out.  We still had a great time and made the most of it.  

Although once known for its large population of Italian-Americans, Little Italy is now much smaller and consists of only a few Italian stores and restaurants.  In the early 1900s, at its peak, there were nearly 10,000 Italians in the community.  By the year 2000, only about 1,200 residents claiming Italian ancestry remained.  The neighborhood has shrunk considerably, with many shops and restaurants closing in recent years.  From experience, it sure didn't seem like we were in this neighborhood for long.  As I look back now, there really aren't any photos in my library that really show this neighborhood very well.  

Chinatown, just south of Little Italy, is a different story.  There was no doubt when we entered this neighborhood, as the markets and people were a definite indicator.  The streets were abuzz with the hustle and bustle of people coming and going in every direction.  Many were likely tourists, but there were many shopkeepers and others who seemed to be residents.  This neighborhood is the largest enclave of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated population of 90,000 to 100,000.  It is also one of the oldest.  The Lower Manhattan Chinatown is just one of twelve Chinatown neighborhoods in the New York metropolitan area, containing the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia.  

Chinatown is an interesting place, with many shops and markets selling a variety of goods, and many interesting people.  Below are just a sampling of images showing the neighborhood. 

Church of the Transfiguration, Chinatown, New York

New York City Photography

It's already been two months since my trip to New York City.  Time sure does fly by!  I wanted to share a little about the trip, and particularly the photos that I captured while there.  

I've always wanted to visit New York, but never really thought much about going there specifically for photography.  There is so much to see there, but street photography is not something that I had tried before.  However, I usually don't mind trying new things with photography, and this trip sounded interesting.  Getting to meet up with some friends there made it even better, so I couldn't resist.  

The four of us were traveling from different parts of the country.  John from New Mexico, Gary from Maine, Phil from Massachusetts, and of course me from Missouri.  Gary was to be our guide for this trip since he visits the Big Apple frequently and knows all the good places to go.  He did a great job helping us to navigate the busy streets and sidewalks to get to our destinations without getting lost.  Thanks Gary!

The flight out of Kansas City into La Guardia was a smooth one.  There is always some anxiety when traveling with photography gear.  I try to carry everything on the plane with me to avoid the possibility of a camera, lens, or something else from getting broken or lost.  The problem with that is my camera bag is pretty big and gets heavy when it is full.  My fear is that it either won't fit in the overhead compartment or there won't be any space left when I get on the plane.  Everything went well, although it was kind of a tight fit.  

Flying into the New York for the first time was quite an experience.  The massiveness of all the skyscrapers is amazing.  It seems that every square inch of land is covered by buildings.  After landing and catching up with John, we caught a ride to our hotel with Uber.  If you ever visit the city, don't plan on driving yourself.  Take advantage of any number of transit options to avoid the nightmare of navigating the streets on your own.  

We finally arrived at the Americana Inn and quite possibly the smallest hotel room I've ever stayed in.  It was 'cheap' by New York standards and conveniently located in Midtown.  All I really needed was a bed anyway, since most of the time would be spent wandering the streets.  

My tiny home away from home for a few days in NYC.  It's even smaller than it looks in this picture.

After checking in and unpacking a few things, what better way to start the trip than exploring the hotel a bit.  My window opened up onto a fire escape, which went up to the roof.  Who wouldn't want to see what the view was like from up there?  

The fire escape outside my hotel room window. 

Surrounded by tall buildings as you would expect.

The view up 6th Avenue from the roof of the hotel.

After exploring the hotel, it was time to head down to street level and see what interesting things were nearby.  The mass of people and the never-ending activity is just staggering, and something I wasn't used to.  That, and the constant sounds of car horns at all hours of the day and night.  

Just a couple of blocks down 6th Avenue was Bryant Park.  The park was abuzz with activity and was in the midst of its wintertime transformation into an ice skating rink. 

The fountain at Bryant Park

From there, we headed over to Times Square, which gives a whole new meaning to the word crowded.  And this was just a typical night.  It is quite a spectacle with all the bright lights, stores, and commotion.  And quite a few interesting characters, too.    

Times Square

There is definitely no shortage of street vendors throughout the city.  They sell a variety of foods, drinks, other things.  It must be an interesting and tough way to make a living.  

That was enough for one night.  Back to the hotel and a few night time captures from the roof before bed.  It was going to be a busy few days...