Inhuman Scale

The absolute enormity of Manhattan’s buildings is sometimes inaccurately portrayed by their steep, vertical faces. The great wings of Westfield World Trade Center leave little doubt in the mind. Look at those two tiny people at the bottom of the image.

Inhuman Scale

Manhattan Rooftop Scenes

Given the catastrophic cost of real estate at the southern end of Manhattan, a look at the use of rooftop space reveals a sharp contrast: roofs are either lush garden spaces or barren mechanical utility areas. I had expected to see more “in between” spaces among the penthouses—casually or informally used rooftops. I guess nothing spends more than a few hours on a New York rooftop without a reason to be there.

Manhattan Rooftop Scenes

Mighty Midtown

Neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and the Bowery are remarkably low-rise until they suddenly run into the wall that is Midtown Manhattan. The new pencil towers under construction may look out of place, but at least they don’t block the views of nature to the north.

Mighty Midtown

The Statue of Liberty and New Jersey

Liberty Island played such a huge role in the media I consumed as a child—the most iconic symbol of New York (far more recognizable to a child than e.g. the Empire State Building)—that seeing it from One World Observatory was surreal.

The Statue of Liberty and New Jersey

Uptown

On this bright Sunday morning, I finally photographed the mighty Manhattan skyline from high above its (mostly) rectilinear grid. This is my favorite kind of photograph: The expanse of cloud-dappled space stretches all the way to tree-covered hills at the horizon and the cityscape seems to offer infinite detail down at the level of individual windows.

Uptown

Governors Island Off Manhattan

Visiting Governors Island (lacking that apostrophe since 1784) for the first time this weekend, I was astonished to see its historic buildings standing in such contrast to the sleekly modern shape of One World Trade Center in the distance. The island is only 800 yards off the coast of Manhattan, but seems a generation away.

Governors Island Off Manhattan