18 year olds coming to NYC

Discussion in 'Travel' started by blknwhtfoto, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Hey there everyone, my girlfriend and i are going to be flying into
    NYC in mid june, we're going to be working at an arts camp in NJ.
    While we're in NYC, anything we should really look for? Anything that
    makes NYC for you? Mind we'll be on a pretty tight budget, i'm
    planning at least four or five rolls for each day, i do mostly street
    photo when i'm at home.
    Thanks very much everyone.
  2. Mike - meaning no disrepect, but asking "if there is anything we should look for" sounds like you are pulling our collective legs. As a native New Yorker who has spent the past 35 years photographing in the City, I can tell you that I am still finding new and interesting things and places and people to shoot each and every time out.

    It is virtually impossible to run out of photo ops while in NYC. You mention that you shoot a lot of street photos at home. Is this what you would like to concentrate on while in NYC or are you looking to throw in some of the "record" shots of the famous landmarks?

    If you want to concentrate on people shots, NYC is a wonderful place to do just that. Keep in mind tha while NY is a huge city (both population wise and size wise), it is really just made up of hundreds (thousands?) of small neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character. You can shoot Wall Street, Chinatown and the multiethnic Lower East Side in the same day and have about as varied a selection of people as exists in the universe.

    You can shoot the Latino culture in upper Manhattan, the Russian culture in Brighton Beach, the black experience in Harlem, the Greeks in Astoria, the orthodox jews in Brooklyn and the yuppies in Soho.

    And of course, if you want to shoot some inanimate objects....you may have heard of the Empire State Bldg, Grand Central, Plaza Hotel, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, Manhattan skyline at both dawn, dusk and in between, Greenwich Village, any number of bridges, including, but not limited, to the Brooklyn Bridge, yadda yadda yadda.

    If you visited for a year, you would barely have time to scratch the surface. If you would like any specific information, feel free to ask and I will be glad to share my personal experience with you.
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I recommend the subway. Life in the subway is almost always worth shooting, one way or the other. If the proposed ban on shooting in the subway goes through, watch out for the cops. I also like the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, an easy walk from Times Square and a lot more character.
    Underground Rider, Copyright 2004 Jeff Spirer
  4. Mike,

    can you tell us a bit of which part of the provinces you are coming from: what is your visual experience, favorite topics, design objectives etc. Where have you traveled, what have you seen? What impresses you, etc etc ... ball games or architecture? Abstract forms or people photos, etc etc etc How familiar are you with walking in the big city? Are you street-smart, -wise? Or an easy prey for muggers ...

    You soumd so naive re NYC and what it could offer (and how it could hurt). Go get a guide book in the library and view. That is my first thought.

    Is there a library/bookstore where you live? (Hope so)

    I do not want to sound condescending, but your question just baffles me, so I would like to find out what you already know and can do.
  5. I didn't mean to be pulling your leg or anything like that. I grew up in Portland Oregon(about the size of seattle) and crime rate/violent crime rate is higher than New York's. That isn't what i'm worred about(i'm also 6'4 250lbs, people tend to not bother me), i was just wondering what new yorkers find so exciting about their city. I hate the idea of being a tourist, and while i'll cart all my gear around the city and shoot the above mentioned tourism stuff, i also want to see what new yorkers think is important about their city. I've roadtripped all across canada, up and down the westcoast and backpacked most of that too. I'm a little more worried about my girlfriend as she hasn't done too much travelling. I shoot a lot of "geometric/abstract" and a lot of street too. Evidently what they say about new yorkers being a little gruff is true.
    About the guide books, they're great and all, and i'm sure i'll check them out for subway information, and a little more logistical information. But i really do want to at least try and get passed the tourism part of this trip.
    Thanks again
  6. Ooh, and thanks to Jeff. Your photos are awesome, hopefully i'll have a portfolio that could stand next to yours. What is "hells kitchen" whats its story?
  7. My first impression of New York City when I first arrived 2 years ago from the mid-west;
    Dirty, garbage on the sidewalk (no alleys), lots of rats (read; huge rats!), stinky air, bums
    all over the place, everyone is in a hurry, rude people, dirty subway and too pricey :D ...
    although I think the idea of getting mugged on every street corner is over-rated.

    Now that I've got that out of the way, Business is great here for photography and a lot of
    oppurtunities right around the corner. My husband photographs in the subway a lot and
    always come home with interesting photographs (to say the least).

    I dont think anyone will bother you upon arrival, the bums may just try to shake you down
    for some cash or try to sell you something.

    It's not home, its a place where I live ... home is where the heart is :)

    enjoy your stay
  8. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Here is a page on the history of Hell's Kitchen. What's nice about it is that until relatively recently, it's been a central Manhattan neighborhood with much of its original character preserved. It's been going through a gentrification thing recently - there's not much else in central Manhattan that's cheap - but it's still got that Manhattan neighborhood character that mostly exists in movies now.
  9. I'm a New Yorker and I'm going to try to give you the best advice and I hope others will chime in.
    1. Most importantly, and most seriously, be careful with your stuff--always be aware of your bag, purse, camera etc... We're pretty nice here, but it's a big city and someone may be eyeing your stuff. I?m not kidding. Keep your wallet in your front pocket!

    2. Get a subway map + monthly unlimited ride Metro-card if you plan to be getting around for, well, about a month--it's the cheapest. Learn how to take NJ Transit to Penn Station. From there you will get everywhere.

    3. Understand that's it's not just Manhattan, but you have a lot to seek out in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. (I'll get yelled at for leaving out the Bronx and Staten Island but that's another topic.)

    4. Manhattan has Central Park, a big hole where the Towers stood, bridges (they all look amazing in the sunrise and sunset light), tall buildings--don't forget to look up, lots of photo looking up, water and boats on all sides and the Empire State Building.

    5. Take the Staten Island Ferry, even if it's just to ride from Manhattan to Staten Island and return back... it's the cheapest boat ride you'll find and you get decent views of the Statue of Liberty.

    6. Lots of places in Brooklyn and Queens too, OK, the Bronx has the Zoo.

    7. Lots (LOTS) of museums: Natural History, Met, Modern, Gugienhiem (yeah, I spelled that one right!) and more. There are so many museums and photo galleries that you will not have enough time.

    8. Columus Circle is nice, Central Park is worth mentioning again (don't venture past 110th Street--even though the park is beautiful up there), horse + cart riders (I hate them but they're a fact of life).

    9. You can take pictures of the funny people, the ones from out of town, who congregate around NBC, ABC, Fox and any other TV morning station (that's around Rockefeller Center (47th Street to 52nd Street)) holding up silly signs.

    10. You can take pictures of silly New Yorkers, or New Yorkers who are down on their luck and live on the street... not so funny.

    11. You can find elevated trains (like the 7 that goes into Queens or D/B that go into Brooklyn and try to get shots of the city from there but that is tough, could be easier from bridges.

    There's more but I want to go eat now. I am sure others will have good ideas. Good luck and have a wonderful time, but seriously, be careful.

    Lastly, stay out of mid-town during the week, that's when I'm there and we hate tourists (not kidding).

  10. Pick up a copy of Time Out NY for a list of everything cultural (free or not) going on in
    NYC. (Also useful is the Village Voice, a free weekly.)

    If you shoot street... pick a street. :)
  11. Jeff - courtesy of the clowns that authored 9/11, there is no longer any shooting in any NYC subway (photos that is!).

    It is officially against the law to take a photograph in the subway system. Period! No exceptions. Whether this is an overreaction on the part of law enforecement is hotly debated in the City, but for now...don't even think about it.

    For that matter, if you set up a tripod almost anywhere in NYC, you can expect to be harrassed a bit. Believe it or not, it is technically illegal to set up a tripod on a NYC sidewalk without a permit. I know that sounds extreme, but folks are jumpy these days and I can tell you that when a security guard at Battery Park City (I was photographing the World Trade Center Towers BEFORE a year before the 2001 attacks, a security guard came along and told me that I could not use my tripod and "professional" camera to shoot images. Being a typical New Yorker with attitude to spare, I confess to having simply blown him off with a few well (or perhaps not so well chosen words. Illegal to use a tripod? Give me a break. Well, the guy actually did call the police who did indeed tell me to "move on". I may crack wise with a rent a cop, but I am not dumb enough to do the same with one of NYPD's finest.

    And while we are on the subject, it is also technically illegal, under the new law, to photograph any bridge, although I have never heard of anyone getting hassled for shooting long distance landscape or portrait type shots of our famous bridges. Although, I would not recommend walking out onto the bridge itself and start to take detailed photos of the structure itself.

    As I said, I am born and bred here and I found it all a little disconcerting, but I reiterate that it is still the greatest city in the world - especially to a photographer.
  12. Thanks very much guys, your stuff should be very helpful indeed.
  13. "And while we are on the subject, it is also technically illegal, under the new law, to photograph any bridge, although I have never heard of anyone getting hassled for shooting long distance landscape or portrait type shots of our famous bridges. Although, I would not recommend walking out onto the bridge itself and start to take detailed photos of the structure itself."

    Did the 'new law' go into the public libraries in New York City and secure any and all reference books to the briges in the bridges? Dumb law unless the bridge is a new one under construction.
  14. Im not familiar with the current status of the subway ban; or lack thereof. I was driving
    over the George Washington Bridge about a month ago and saw a sign that said, "No
    phtoographing, do not phtograph" ... something like that. I thought it was pretty funny so
    I whipped out my camera anyway.

    I had just come from doing a portrait shoot down in Wall Street area. I saw an interesting
    building. I aimed my camera to focus. A security officer snuck up behind me and asked
    what I was doing. I simply told him that I was a photographer and thought the building
    looked interesting. I put a smile on my face and threw a little mid-western hospitality his
    way. He didnt make me stop, he just said that people get a little suspicious these days.

    On the other hand, the hubby and I were walking under a bridge around 42nd st (west
    side) and got seriously harassed by cops. He said, "you know I can arrest you guys?" ... he
    said there is a ban to photograph under bridges ... honestly, I think he was making it up
    but I dont think you want to call a New York City police officer a liar :D ... know what I
  15. ...there is no longer any shooting in any NYC subway (photos that is!).
    Wanna bet?
  16. mike, its good that your coming to NYC it should be a lot of fun for you.

    1. go to B&H on 35th and 9th (or so). its got cheap film and is simply the largest most impressive photo store to be in. you need not buy anything. just go in and walk around. get out of Penn Station and walk to the west two blocks (the opp direction from the empire state building)

    2. go to strand book store which is 12th and broadway. it has 8 miles of used books including a very large photography section + erotic photography section on the main floor and a massive section in the basement. just browsing costs nothing but the books are really reasonable. i can't go there and not pick up a cool book or two.

    3. hit the galleries. the leica gallery is 4th street (or so) and broadway and is very nice. plus there are a lot of down town galleries on prince street and the in the village area. or there are the more arty galleries (sculpture, paintings collages) in chelsea (22-25th and 10th ave). pick up a friday NY Times which will give you a good listing of major exhibits and galleries.

    4. the great lawn, midday, central park. oregons pretty and has the forest. this is NYC's site of all sites. surrounded by massive and beautiful buildings, people hanging out playing frisbee, is the great lawn. a must.

    5. avoid queens and brooklyn. there's plenty of nice things there but if you have no idea where your going or which neighborhoods are good and not its better just to stay in manhattan south of 100th street especially at night. you also don't want to be on the lower east side at night either. there's nothing there (including street lamps and it feels empty and eerie and dangerous.) its a general, tourist rule.

    6. definately do the SI ferry and if you want to go to brooklyn then walk aross the brooklyn bridge. a more beautiful site some 200 feet in the air is simply amazing, and its free. its one of the few major bridges in the US built specifcally to allow pedestrian traffic.

    7. don't point your camera at political buildings and cops and stuff. but go to the parks, hang out, and take photos of people hanging out. bryant park in the 40s (and 5th av?) and especially union square (14th and broadway). if you just walk down boradway (not the easiest thing to do) you will see a who's who of NY in buildings, sites, and historical places.

    good luck. its a safe city as long as your not in the wrong place at the wrong time (like anywhere else). if you have a guide by all means hit the outer bouroughs, use the subways not taxis, and bring good comfortable shoes. NY is a walking city, especially in the early summer.
  17. Awesome, thanks very much. Ooh, i am definatley planning to go to B&H. No matter whether the law is going or not, does anyone know what the fine is if you get caught shooting down there? Or is it jail time etc(as i'm working at a camp getting arrested may not be my best plan)

    Thanks again.
  18. Mike -

    I live about 150 miles north of NYC, but I do get into the city occasionally. Most of the advice you have received is good. Some thoughts:

    - i understand exactly what you mean about the touristy thing. You didn't inccate how long you will have in the City - if you have several weeks, you might want to devote one day to making sure that you hit the major tourist spots just be be able to say that you did it. And that way you make sure that you haven't missed anyting that you might regret later.

    - I like to wander in the City. Pick a neighborhood and just walk around. If the weather is nice, you can just stand on a corner, or sit on a park bench, and watch people walk by. I find that energizing. If you really look, you will see some great pictures that way.

    - Canal Street is a great place to walk around and shop for just about anything. There are some neat galleries nearby.

    - the best selection of galleries is in Chelsea - typically 19th - 25 th street, from 9th avenue west to 11th avenue. Pick up a copy of Photograhy in New York (its a great souvenir and includes some good reproductions of photography). You can also visit their web site before the trip http://www.photography-guide.com to see a listing of what is showing, but you should still get the magazine in NYC as a souvenir and because it includes some great maps of neighborhoods that pinpoints th elocations of galleries.

    - be sure to visit the stores - especially Adorama and B&H - just to be able to say that you've been there.

    - Central Park is neat - but so are Union Square and Washington Square Park, and they offer better people watching. Also the park behind the Public Library on 42nd street.

    - there is a photoblog that you might want to look at that has some neat NYC pictures - http://www.joesnyc.streetnine.com/

    - be careful - but also be brave and try things. New Yorkers are brash - but my sense is that they have become more human over the past few years.

    You mentioned that you will be working at an arts camp in NJ. Which one?
  19. Get a release?
    Nah, not yet. I tried some fiber, laxative nothing yet.
  20. ban, what ban...?

  21. as far as where to shoot in NYC...........it don't matter. The whole place is a photographers dream come true ;o)
  22. Sabrina, you say " My first impression of New York City when I first arrived 2 years ago from the mid-west; Dirty, garbage on the sidewalk (no alleys), lots of rats (read; huge rats!), stinky air, bums all over the place, everyone is in a hurry, rude people, dirty subway and too pricey :D ... although I think the idea of getting mugged on every street corner is over-rated.
    It's a good thing you didn't get to NYC, oh, about 25 years earlier. ;-). I've heard many an old-timer say New York is a bland suburban heaven these days...
  23. Mike,

    Do check out the Morgan Library around 37th and Madison. Its a gem.
  24. Mani, that's what they all tell me ... lol

    Unfortunatly we'll be here for at least another 10 yrs. My hubby got a job offer he will
    accept and I just went back to college. It's not that bad though :) ... I can make lemonade
    out of lemons ;)
  25. avoid queens and brooklyn. there's plenty of nice things there but if you have no idea where your going or which neighborhoods are good and not its better just to stay in manhattan south of 100th street especially at night. you also don't want to be on the lower east side at night either. there's nothing there (including street lamps and it feels empty and eerie and dangerous.) its a general, tourist rule.
    This is some of the most inaccurate NYC info I have heard in a long, long time. First off, the 7 train goes through the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the whole world. If one has the time, riding the 7 line & get on & off (pretty hard to get lost when the train runs elevated most of its length) at the different stops. You won't have to walk more than a block or two at ANY stop to find interesting neighborhoods & streetshooting paradise. The train ride alone will offer loads of great subway shots.
    Saying that the LES (lower east side) is dangerous & empty is about a decade off from being remotely accurate. AAMOF, its quite gentrified now & safer than most areas of the city. Its safer than midtown, thats for sure because midtown is where risks of a tourist getting taken advantage of are highest. Above 100st in Manhattan lies Harlem & many other great neighborhoods & if one doesn't walk around with their head in the clouds or their arse, one should be just fine on their own, nevermind if ya got company.
  26. Do a self-walking tour of Greenwich Village, my favourite neighbourhood (I live there). Check out Strivers Row in Harlem--fantastic architecture. SoHo, TriBeca, Canal Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, Arthur Ave. in the Bronx. Ride the subways--what an education for an out of towner!<p>

    Hit the touristy spots: Rockefeller Center, St. Pat's, Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Ground Zero, Bronx Zoo, Botanical Gardens.<p>

    Don't forget the outer boroughs, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens. I've lived here for 50+ years and haven't run out of things to photograph.<p>

    Don't worry about crime. It's at historic lows. You're safer in Midtown at night than you are in London at daytime. Just act sensibly, don't flash anything.<p>

    Take the buses, subways, cabs. I haven't used a car in New York in over 40 years. Get out and pound the pavement. Enjoy the nightlife. But beware of those sleezy 7th Avenue electronics stores, avoid them at all costs--unscrupulous thieves who prey on unsuspecting tourists.<p>

    We're the "capital of the world," enjoy it! A street photographer's paradise!
  27. I'll echo what Heather just said above. The LES is not "eerie" and "dangerous." Just use good judgment. And yes, the 7 train is great.
    If you're into street photography, New York is the most ethnically diverse city in the New World. Most New Yorkers won't hassle you if you snap their picture--hell, most won't even notice you.
  28. Mike - 6'4" or not, people don't necessarily liked to be photographed. Having been glared at and hassled on many occasions for shooting on the street, I have learned to be polite and back off if someone is offended by my camera. We don't need any headlines in the Daily News about dead photographers.
    As shooting pictures of bridges is illegal, I walked over to a cop directing traffic near the 59th St. Bridge last summer and asked him if I could take pictures of the Bridge. "Sure" he said, "you don't look like a terrorist." I'm not sure that the rest of New York's Finest will be so accomodating (nor so discerning)
  29. I didn't mean to say that i plan on intimidating people into letting me take their pictures. What i did intend to say was that very few people tend to try and be not nice people when they see me. I always attempt to be polite and considerate. I keep hearing bad things about the NYPD, are they really that bad? Maybe i've just watched too many bad movies about NY policemen.
  30. I think Eric Waller reads the New York Post, which incorrectly reported last year that the
    MTA had banned photography on the subway. The correct story is that the MTA proposed
    a ban that was open to public debate. The public was able to submit their thoughts and
    arguments regarding the ban up until Jan 10th, 2005, after which the MTA will make a
    ruling one way or the other. There is no specified deadline that I know of for that ruling.
    The current
    policy, as laid out on the MTA website as of today, February 7, 2005 is as follows:

    "Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except
    that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Members of
    the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are
    hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be
    conducted in accordance with the provision of these Rules."

    So, shoot away, just leave your strobes, tripods, booms, cranes and generators at home.
  31. Hi, I am originally from New York and after moving away for quite a number of years I recently had to move back for a couple of years. One neighborhood that has really seen a rise in the past few years is an area some call LoHo. It is adjacent to both the East Village, Chinatown and Little Italy. You could spend zillions of hours just getting to know the East Village. That is a great place and you really have to spend time walking through the streets including what is known as the alphabets-Ave A, B, C and the area from Delancy up to about 7th or 8th Street. Just above Ave A is 1st and 2nd. Then you walk a bit west and you end up in the West Village which is also a place you can walk endlessly and still never really see all there is to see.
    Another of my favorite areas is the upper west side. There are some great old places starting up by the Museum of Natural History (if you don't go there I'll never talk to you again!). 86th and Columbus (or maybe Broadway, I forget) has been renamed Isaac Bashevis Singer Blvd. after Nobel Prize winning author of the same name. He lived up there.
    Now then, back down way south, if you cross Delancey St. at 2nd, you will find Katz's Delicatessan and you MUST NOT MISS IT. It is at the corner of Ludlow and Delancey. Diagonally across the street from Katz's, on Ludlow, is also a fantastic tiny little restaurant called Grilled Cheese. You must go there. All of these places are highly photogenic as well. You could wander the lower east side for years and still be enchanted.
  32. Oops, I thought of some more great things you must do in the city. First you should walk over the bridges. You can walk over the George Washington Bridge, the 59th Street Bridge (Queensboro Bridge), the Williamsburg Bridge which spans the East River and you end up in Brooklyn. You walk a few blocks to the south and you are in an orthodox/chassidic Jewish neighborhood and man, it is like going backwards several hundred years to the "old country. When you cross the Williamsburgh Bridge and go a tad to the north you are in 20 something land which is overcrowded with cafes and artsy fartsy stuff. You can also walk a bit further south in Manhattan from the Williamsburgh Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge and walk across that. If you are feeling energetic you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, walk a few miles through many Brooklyn neighborhoods and then end up in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and cross back over to Manhattan and you end up in LoHo and a few blocks from the East Village, SoHo and the West Village. A bit further up the East River going north is Greenpoint which has been undergoing quite a bit of transitioning and sadly, the old Polish neighborhoods are giving way to the East Village types but there is still enough of an old country flavor to satisfy. And still a bit further upriver is Astoria, Queens. And then of course there is Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, both in Brooklyn and da Bronx, not that safe of a place, really, nearly all 3rd-5th world. You will have an absolute blast.

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