Have you been looking for the best places to take pictures in New York City? The Big Apple is a famous destination for street photographers, travel bloggers, and time-lapse video professionals due to the abundance of vantage points it offers. With countless opportunities to capture something unique every time you go out with a camera, it’s no wonder why the Big Apple is so adored. However, to create original content, it is important to explore. Accessing the rooftops of high-rise buildings can be challenging if you don’t live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, or don’t have connections. Therefore, it is recommended to stick with street-level and panoramic shots.

I had written this guide before I visited New York City for the first time. As a time-lapse photographer, I always plan my trips to save time and make them more enjoyable. This way, I don’t have to deal with the stress of figuring out where to go and what time of day is best for a particular photo sequence in an unfamiliar city. Although there are many great places to take pictures in New York, I will share only a few of my favorite photography spots with you this time.

1. The Empire State Building

View from the The Empire State Building in NYC
The Empire State Building is located at 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001

This location is in the center of Manhattan and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city, making it an ideal spot for capturing the beauty of sunsets and nightscapes. While tripods are prohibited, small table tripods are permitted for capturing steady shots. It is advisable to be prepared for windy conditions that can be a challenge. This location has to be one of the most Instagrammable places in New York.

2. The Rockefeller Center

View from the Rockefeller Center in NYC
The Rockefeller Center is located at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111

The deck situated at the highest point of this building is commonly referred to as “The Top of the Rock”. This area proffers awe-inspiring panoramic views and is an excellent spot for taking selfies. Nonetheless, the usage of tripods is restricted, except for small table tripods in a designated zone. Additionally, please ensure your safety as the area is often congested with people.

3. The Pulaski Bridge

View from the Pulaski Bridge in NYC
The Pulaski Bridge connects 11th Street in Queens to McGuinness Boulevard (formerly Oakland St) in Brooklyn

The bridge is located in Long Island City, near the Greenpoint-Brooklyn border. It’s just a few minutes away from the subway station. This bridge is an ideal spot for taking photos as it offers magnificent views of Manhattan, the Empire State Building, and Midtown. Moreover, it has a side platform where you can take pictures without any disruption from cars and pedestrians. This location is ideal for fashion photography.

3. The 40 Street – Lowery St, Queens Metro Station

New York Time-Lapse Sunset From Queens
The 40th Street–Lowery Street station is a local station on the IRT Flushing Line of the New York City Subway

The view from this particular spot is truly exceptional and beautiful, and you’ll be tempted to capture plenty of pictures, especially during sunset. However, it is essential to be aware that trains arrive every ten minutes, which may cause some noise disturbance. Additionally, some curious onlookers might inquire about your photography. Notwithstanding these minor inconveniences, the overall experience is worth it. I wrote more details about this Queens spot a few years ago.

4. Central Park

Time-Lapse From Central Park in NYC
Central Park stretches from North 110th Street to Central Park South (59th Street), and from Central Park West (8th Avenue) to 5th Ave.

Central Park has been featured in numerous movies, making it an international icon since the 1970s. Being huge and centrally located, it is hard to miss. This place is perfect for capturing some nature photographs, away from the usual noise of New York streets.

5. Greenpoint in Brooklyn

New York Time-Lapse From Brooklyn's Greenpoint
Greenpoint is the northernmost neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn

This neighborhood offers spectacular views of Manhattan. You only need access to a rooftop that doesn’t necessarily have to be a high rise because just a few feet of elevation will provide an opportunity for you to get cinematic-style shots.

6. The Brooklyn Bridge

View From the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC
You can access the Brooklyn Bridge from Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd

This metal structure offers breathtaking views, particularly at night. There is ample space for you to set up your tripods and capture stunning shots from various angles. As of the end of 2023, there are no restrictions on bringing your photography equipment, so make the most of this opportunity and enjoy an evening of cinematic photography. This location fits within the list of the most Instagrammable places in New York as well.

7. Herald Square

34th Street, Herald Square in NYC
Herald Square Plaza, located on Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets

This location is perfect for street photography as it offers multiple angles. You can capture 34th Street, Broadway, and 6th Avenue all from the same spot. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s best not to visit Herald Square late at night as the sidewalks are filled with trash bags, which can make it difficult to capture good shots. However, if you visit during the day, afternoon, or early evening, you can easily spend four hours there and never get bored.

7. The High Line

28th Street, The High Line, NYC
The High Line is a public park built on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure running from Gansevoort St. to 34th St. on Manhattan’s West Side

The High Line is a public park in New York City that is owned by the city itself. It is maintained and operated by an organization called Friends of the High Line, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. This is an ideal place to spend half a day walking and looking for good angles for architecture and urban photography. Its elevation provides an advantage for capturing stunning photographs.

Follow this link for additional information on photography spots in New York City.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you!