Monday, October 5, 2009

A Small Bite of the Big Apple

Too long since my last post! Sorry, friends... I seem to grab the most time when I’m waiting for something.. in this case it’s an airplane, (Jet Blue of course), heading from Portland, Maine to Richmond, VA.

My visit to New York started as I flew into JFK from San Jose, getting settled into the HI Hostel New York, where I booked a room for my time there. Not having stayed in a hostel before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Recognizing that common sleeping spaces and bathrooms are not the most private of situations and setting that aside, there were a ton of cool features and amenities at this hostel, with a very reasonable price tag. Big lounges, a huge self-serve kitchen area and eating space, internet access and lots of info for a traveler wanting to experience the city without breaking the bank, I would absolutely go back and stay there again, and recommend it to any low-maintenance traveler out there.

I started out Thursday with a short stroll through Central Park. After, I took the subway from Manhattan to the far side of Brooklyn to check out the legendary Coney Island. I knew most of it would be closed up, but was cool to get some off-season shots of the New York landmark. I also managed to get a few shots of the subway without getting arrested (though a subway worker warned me if the transit cops were to see me shooting, I very likely would).

A long subway ride took me back to Manhattan, where I walked around Midtown, making my way to the Empire State Building and the chance to shoot from the Observatory on the 80th floor. Certainly not alone on that top deck, I was pleased to be able to get plenty of room to shoot without much of a wait, and spent a good bit of time up there, playing with different lenses, and even though they didn’t allow my tripod up there, I think I still got a few good images.

After the ESB, I walked over to Times Square to wait for a buddy I was meeting for dinner, and setup my tripod for some late afternoon pics of this world-famous center of activity. A handful of shots later, Mike showed up and we grabbed a bite a few blocks away, after which, I returned to Times Square for some really fun night shooting.

The second day wasn’t a productive photo-day for me, as I was hoping for a little more light than the heavy clouds and threatening rain provided. I was able to start it by meeting up with a good friend for breakfast, and some more stroll-time in Central Park, though, and I used the rest of my time that day to take care of some other responsibilities, and salvaged my need to be productive :).

New York was New York. I alway have mixed feelings about the city. The handful of times I’ve been, I’ve really enjoyed my time, think there is a ton to do and see, and always feel like I needed more time there. On the flip side, I usually feel ripped off at some point during the trip. This time it was the ride to the airport from Manhattan. The car that was called by the hostel where I stayed charged an arm and a leg for the trip. It wouldn’t have been so bad but for two things: The guy coordinating the rides knew the car in front of me was taking one passenger to JFK, but chose not to pair us up (and save both me and the other passenger a chunk of change), rather waited to mention it until after the car was pulling away. Also, as I looked out the car window on the way I saw several taxis with a flat rate posted on the side of their cab that was $20 less than what I was being charged. Small potatoes, for sure, but not exactly a “customer-friendly” experience. I have, however, met a number of great people in the Big Apple. Friendly and welcoming, and happy you are there visiting their great city, the people I meet always make the pros outweigh the cons.

Well, that’s the short update on New York.... I hope you enjoy the photos, you'll notice in this set I have been playing with some heavy contrast and fisheye lenses for something different :).

Stay tuned for another update soon on my travels to Portland, Maine!


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