Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Above NYC

In an age of social media and photography in general, getting the perfect NYC shot has moved up many to the top position on many to-do lists, more coveted than getting a slice of iconic NYC pizza or even taking a terrifying taxi ride.

Getting the perfect shot isn't always the easiest thing to do, however it can be done with a little planning. And below are several ways you can elevate yourself above NYC and get a great photo that sums up the magnitude of this city.

Rockefeller Center Observation Deck
photo provided for use by midnight.xpress, check them out on Instagram
The Top of the Rock has not always been at the top of the list when it comes to visiting NYC.

What is the first place you think of? Is it the Empire State Building? Consider this: when you are on the Empire State Building, you can't exactly get photos of the Empire State Building. Get my drift?

Visit the Top of the Rock and you'll get the same views in addition to the landmark that most people only photograph from street level. It might sound a little insulting to Top of the Rock, to say that their best attribute is the amazing view of the Empire state building, but it is. From here you can see amazing sunsets, sunrises, and if you go at night you can view the ever changing colors of the Empire State Building. Check out what the lights mean (and the schedule) here.

You can purchase an 'unscheduled' ticket to use at any time, or select online a 'timed' ticket, allowing you to pass the lines and go to the front of the line when it's time for your appointment.

Adult- $30.00     Child (6-12)- $20.00     Senior (62+)- $28.00.
The first elevator goes up at 8:00am, the last one at 11:00pm

Empire State Building
photo by wiki commons
As most everyone knows, the Empire State Building is one of the most iconic places to visit to photograph NYC.

Main Deck Only (86th Floor)
Adult- $32     Senior (ages 62+)- $29     Child (ages 6-12): $26
Main Deck + Top Deck (86th & 102nd Floors)
Adult- $52     Senior (ages 62+)- $49     Child (ages 6-12)- $46

This seems like a good point to mention New York PASS,. New York Pass is a tourist card created by real, life-long New Yorkers to save you time and money on Sightseeing in New York City. With NY Pass visitors get free entry to over 80 attractions and skip ticket lines at many of the busiest places. If you plan on visiting many paid location in NYC, including: MoMA, Top of the Rock, Madame Tussauds, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and many more.

I wrote a review on using a CityPASS in Seattle, and would wholeheartedly recommend it if you plan on going to these places anyway, want a way to structure your trip, or plan on visiting in the colder months. If you are planning on visiting in the summer and enjoy outdoor space and 'living like a local' I would pass on the New York Pass.

Hours: 8am to 2am every day

The Roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
photo from the MET museum website
By visiting the MET (where instead of paying the suggested price you can Pay What You Wish) between May and November you are provided a opportunity to travel to the roof which is available (weather permitting) for visitors to see amazing views of Central park and skyline surrounding the area.

There is also a cafĂ© and bar available for refreshment, open Sunday–Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m and Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–8:15 p.m. Visit the Met's website here.

Roosevelt Island Tram
photo provided for use by midnight.xpress, check them out on Instagram
photo provided for use by midnight.xpress, check them out on Instagram
The Roosevelt Island Tram is one of the lesser-known ways that you can get a view of the city, all while taking a quick trip to an small island next to Manhattan. The entire trip takes only a few minutes but offers a fun 'ride' for kids and a unique perspective. Roosevelt Island alone has an amazing view from the park at it's southermost point, the FDR Four Freedoms Park, a great place to pack a lunch and have a relaxing day away from the busy streets. If you would like to visit the island without taking the tram, the subway does go there. Take the F train going towards Queens, and get off at the Roosevelt Island station.

Sunday - Thursday:  6:00 AM to 2:00 AM
Friday & Saturday:  6:00 AM to 3:30 AM

To ride the Tram, you must use a MTA MetroCard. MetroCards are available for purchase at either Tram Station and at subway stations throughout New York City. Full fare: $2.50 per trip per person.

One World Observatory- Freedom Tower
photo by wiki commons
Opening in 'late Spring 2015' One World Trade Center will be available as an alternative to the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building for 360 degree views of the city.

Adults (13-64)- $32     Children(6-12)- $26     Seniors(65+)- $30
Children 5 years old and younger are free but do require a ticket

Tickets will be available to buy online, and all tickets will be valid for a specific time and date. Sign up for updates and the latest announcements about ticket availability by clicking here.

Aerial Photos
Want to get those amazing shots that we often see following the news?

You can rent a helicopter and see NYC like only the birds and news choppers have. This of course can get pricey, but if you are looking for those shots nothing else will compare. We always visit Groupon and other coupon websites for a few weeks before travelling anywhere. Groupon NYC and LivingSocial NYC are great for anything, from dinner to walking tours to helicopter rides. But check often to see what is available, since they sometimes sell out quick.

Or, if you have a flight flying into JFK or LGA airport over the city (from anywhere west of the east coast) you are likely to get a good aerial shot from your window. Just plan on arriving during the daytime hours to get the best airplane photos.

I've taken several, but the best would be this one, taken when flying south (hence why the photo is of Brooklyn, with Manhattan, New Jersey and Staten Island in the background).

I think we are all in agreement that getting "above NYC" can provide some amazing photo opportunities.

So tell me...
Have you visited any of the places above?
Are you planning a trip to NYC this spring or summer?
Where have you gone in NYC to get 'above it all'?

Let me know if you have any tips to add in the comments below!

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  1. I really love that last photo you took! I have never really thought to go above NYC and take pictures. I'll have to think about this during my next trip!

    1. Some of these I haven't done yet either. I haven't made my way up to the roof of the MET (I seem to only visit during the winter). There is definitely something serene about getting anywhere out of the hustle and bustle, and the photo does look like it fits the bill :)

  2. I am loving the first pic and the one of the twin towers. I grew upin nyc and even though I am use to sky scrapers, I would never have enough guts to go to the topic one.
    But thanks for shAring some ideas

    1. The photos are beautiful but I understand how some might prefer to remain closer to the ground. Thanks for stopping by!


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