It seems that no matter how long I live in New York City, one thrill never stops: seeing the city from above. If I have a camera with me, I always feel compelled to take a shot. Thanks to my decorative painting clients, I often find myself in apartments with stunning views, most often of Central Park.
Here’s a mix of pinhole photos, Diana shots, iPhone pictures and even a few from my digital Nikon illustrating my fascination with this beautiful city and its biggest, most beloved park.
Starting on the East side, here we are looking west at about 74th Street on a foggy spring morning.
This pinhole is shot facing west from the Trump building on Third Avenue and 69th Street. Because of the distortion caused by the wide angle, the park looks far away.
It’s actually quite close, as you can see from the digital pinhole below, shot from the same building. I shot a series of digital pinholes last year, but never quite got the hang of it. Or said another way, I don’t think the photos are all that interesting! Handmade black and white pinholes are more my speed.
This is another pinhole from Fifth Avenue facing west, shot one winter morning around 9 a.m. The shadows from the apartment buildings are being thrown onto the snow as the sun moves higher in the east. Shadows on the ground like this are seen only in the winter, since foliage prevents them in the summer.
Here’s a photo of a typical street on the Upper East Side. When people think of NYC, they may often imagine a concrete jungle, but many of the streets are thickly lined with trees. I like to look at all of the secret terraces and gardens on the rooftops that aren’t visible from the street below.
Now here’s the view of my dreams. Both photos below are shot from the same place, a narrow terrace fronting an apartment on Fifth Avenue in the mid 60’s. The first shot faces northwest, with the buildings on Fifth Avenue marching north on the right; the second faces southwest with a full view of Central Park South and Central Park West. Look at the park, spread out like an enormous, lush carpet at our feet! So beautiful.
Now we’re heading over to the West side, starting at Columbus Circle.
This pinhole is shot from the highest apartment that I’ve ever visited, the top residential floor at the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle. That dark square in the foreground is the park. We’re facing east.
Here’s part of a contact sheet shot from the living room of an apartment just north of Columbus Circle, at 61st and Central Park West.
This is a print from the series above. The buildings of Central Park South are clustered on the right, facing north into the park. The park is so pretty in the winter.
I love glimpses of the park like this shot below. If you were selling this apartment, it could be described as “with views of Central Park!” A buyer would imagine open views to the horizon, then arrive to find this sliver. Which is pretty great, actually! We’re still on Central Park West, looking east.
Here’s a pinhole shot from a terrace at the San Remo apartments, on Central Park West at 74th Street. Love the detail of the adjacent building’s rooftop. Central Park is visible in the distance.
Here’s a straight digital shot of the park on a fall morning. Look at all of those taxis jammed in the park! One more good reason to walk everywhere. We’re looking northeast from Central Park West in the 60s.
One more Diana camera contact sheet series, shot from the same apartment, where you can see how hard it is to get a photo that’s exposed correctly with this finicky little camera.
And we’ll finish with a picture from my own living room window on a cold, blustery day. Not as impressive as Central Park, but it makes me smile anyway. Happy holidays, everyone!