Cityscapes were the images that first really drew me to photography—those images with seemingly infinite detail. Zooming deeper and deeper reveals trees and cars and people down at street level. Surpassing the current limits in this respect will probably mean a new camera (or a real commitment to multi-shot panoramas.)
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.
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.
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.
I caught John Wick Chapter 3 in theaters this weekend; that movie’s take on New York City inspired me to finish processing my RAWs from my October 2018 trip to photograph its downtown skyline. Perhaps that sense of a hidden world lurking around every corner is captured in the details along the shore.
New York was once famous for its oysters, grown in the harbor—a truly unbelievable number of them. Looking over the pier towards the still-glowing skyline of downtown Manhattan, I guess I’m not surprised they’d make an appropriate substrate for oyster growth.
From New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, the view of downtown Manhattan is unimpeded. The view extends all the way up to Midtown and landmarks like the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. With nothing but the water’s reflections between me and the skyline, there’s an odd calmness to a multimillion-person city.