The Native's Guide to Photogenic Locations Around B&H Photo
If you're stopping by the B&H Photo Video SuperStore, you may be picking up some new photo or video gear. It's good to know that as soon as you leave the store, you won't have to travel far to test out your new purchase. The area around the B&H SuperStore in Midtown Manhattan is filled with attractive locations to photograph. In case you plan on paying a visit, here are a couple of iconic and up-and-coming locations for you to snap a Polaroid picture of.
The Empire State Building
Visible from nearly everywhere in New York City, the Empire State Building is not only a beautiful edifice, but also a great point of reference. If you're ever downtown and you see the Empire State Building, bearing in mind that it is north of you will help you navigate around more easily.
Located to the east of B&H Photo, the Empire State Building is memorable for many reasons. My old manager used to tell me stories about how he took all of his first dates to the top of the Empire State Building. My Canadian cousins always want to visit it when they come down for a vacation. Besides being one of the tallest buildings in the world, there is something magical about the Empire State Building that draws people in from all over.
Surely, the Empire State Building is one of the spots you'll want to have on your list of must-go places to photograph.
Pennsylvania Station is a street photographer's dream. This train station is where people from all walks of life come together to travel, work, interact, dine and shop. In Penn Station, you'll encounter people from more diverse backgrounds than you may encounter in some entire states!
So why is Penn a street photographer's dream? The area is absolutely crawling with stories and moments to capture. From documenting the hardships of the economy, to taking photos of frustrated commuters waiting for their train, to photographing a man dressed up as a clown, there are great photo ops all over.
Indeed, this is the absolute must-see place for photographers that love to document "the human condition."
Chelsea Waterfront Park
Who would've thought that there is a waterfront oasis not far from B&H? Indeed, Chelsea Waterfront Park is one of the locations that our online video team frequents for shoots in the summer because it's a gorgeous location, it has wonderful lighting, and a peaceful vibe.
Chelsea Waterfront Park holds a special place to me. When I get bored of South St. Seaport or I need a change of scenery, I often head over to Chelsea Waterfront Park—providing it isn't around Fleet Week, when it gets too crowded. It's one of the more relaxing places to visit in the area. If you're with kids, this is a great place to bring them. Not only will they love the ice cream vendors and enjoy watching the boats, but they'll have lots of fun running through the fountains as well.
The home of Macy's is one of the most visited venues in NYC. It's also an area with so much to photograph. Most people prefer the area during the winter, when they bring out their fast 50mm lenses, shoot wide open, and watch the city lights fall out of focus in that creamy bokeh. There are loads of shops besides Macy's, and lots of restaurants. The hordes of people also help to provide for better street-photography opportunities. Part of this is because of the pedestrian malls, with lots of places for people to sit and relax.
More importantly, if you look up and down the avenues, you'll see some of the tallest buildings adorning the skyline. That's yet another great photo op!
The High Line
What used to be an old railway has been revamped into one of New York's most beloved parks. With an extension that reaches just a couple of blocks away from the B&H SuperStore, you should really check out this new hot spot.
The High Line is an elevated park that starts at Gansevort St. and ends at 30th. Along the way, you'll encounter various gardens and food vendors, with some great places to relax. Additionally, since you're so high up, you'll have a great view of the city streets and the Hudson River, including Jersey City on the other side. The High Line has become a recent favorite of many wedding and engagement photographers who want a photogenic location with attractive lighting.
After stopping by the B&H SuperStore, you and your new toy should promenade along the High Line.
James Farley Post Office
When you first step in front of the James Farley Post Office, you'll be astonished. Everything about its appearance screams majestic. This is the post office whose photograph has appeared on many postcards and in many movies. In fact, it looks a bit like a national monument that belongs down in Washington, DC. Characterized by large, ancient Greek-inspired columns and sprawling steps (that look much like a museum's), the James Farley Post Office takes up an entire city block. Pass by, and you'll see photographers doing photoshoots on the grandiose stairs, while many others take advantage of them to get in a few moments of relaxation.
Bring a wide angle lens with you, because you may not be able to capture its entirety in one frame. You'll be best off experimenting with different angles, or bringing a fisheye.
For years, Times Square has been drawing tourists. The area is identified by the masses of tourists crowding the streets, and the shops located there. Pedestrian parks are set up for people to relax on lounge chairs and just take in the scenery. Though Times Square is a very nice place during the day, it only gets better at night.
I've asked people that are new to New York why they're so fixated with Times Square. They mostly answer, "The lights; there are lots of them." Indeed, travel to Times Square and you will see jaws dropping in reaction to all of the pretty colored lights surrounding you.
Madison Square Garden
The world's most famous arena is home to many epic sports games: Basketball, hockey, boxing, wrestling and tennis usually pack the arena to the brim. Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, right near all the venues mentioned in this story, the Garden is a place that everyone must visit at least once.
Not a big sports fan? I've attended many concerts here, and have sat in both the penthouse suite and the regular arena. I've always had more fun at Madison Square Garden than any other major sports arena or performance venue. The pure energy radiated by the talented performers always makes for a memorable experience.
Most of the places mentioned in this list are absolutely huge:
- Times Square is a few blocks
- The Empire State Building is very tall
- B&H takes up almost an entire city block
- The James Farley Post Office is an entire block
- Madison Square Garden is also a city block
- Penn Station is enormous
Indeed, New York is all about thinking big.
These are just a few great locations for you to peruse. Do you know any others? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to share your photos with us on our Flickr Group or on our Facebook Wall.