NYC Filter: Help me get a good picture of NYC's most famous lady...
June 17, 2009 7:45 AM   Subscribe

NYC Filter: Help me get a good picture of NYC's most famous lady...

Where are some good places to get pictures of the Statue of Liberty?

My brother and I are going to be in NYC for the first time next week and we were thinking about taking the Staten Island Ferry to get picutres of the Statue of Liberty because it looks to be free.

But after reading on another thread here how long it takes, I'm not sure that is the best option and it looks like there are other ferrys that get closer but for a price.

I've done the search here and read through tons of NYC+ and NewYork+ threads but I haven't seen anyone talk much about where to get good pictures of the various landmarks so I thought I'd ask.

As a corolary, if anyone knows a good company for a tour, we're only going to be in town for 3 days, so I'm thinking that a guided tour of Manhattan might be worth the $. I haven't seen that question answered yet either, but I may have just missed it. For example, are these Grayline tours any good and is the New York Pass worth it?

Thanks in advance for any help, and I'll apologize in advance if I'm asking a redundant question.
posted by Ashman to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As a corolary, if anyone knows a good company for a tour, we're only going to be in town for 3 days, so I'm thinking that a guided tour of Manhattan might be worth the $

Whatever you do, don't go on those stupid-ass tourbuses where you ride around for a couple hours while the tour operator points out where the Baby Gap is (I have not been, but have heard horror stories).

I have taken the Staten Island Ferry, though, and the view of the Statue of Liberty is pretty good.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:51 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

The view of the statue is good from the ferry, but it's kind of far off. If you have a zoom function on your camera, you can get a good pic of the Statue, which is due west from the path of the staten island ferry. If you want good light, go in the morning. If you it sillhouetted against the sunset, go in the evening.

I honestly thing the S.I. Ferry is worth the trip for a number of reasons:

*It's free
*You can drink on it
*You get amazing views of Downtown Brooklyn, New Jersey, and the southern side of manhattan (and the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island and Governor's Island)
*You can drink on it
*It's free
posted by orville sash at 7:56 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

The best place to get a picture of the Statue of Liberty is from a helicopter.

But, given the nature of your question it sounds like you are looking for something cheaper than that.

Given that constraint, I think the Staten Island Ferry is as good as you're going to get. Of course, depending on how choppy the water is, you may get just a blurry picture.

As for what else to do in Manhattan: don't take a tour bus. The locals, such as myself, loathe those buses. The tourists, such as you, don't get to see the city from up close.

Better to walk around and take in the city. Go to a museum. Go to an art gallery in Chelsea. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or, better yet, walk over the Manhattan Bridge and get lost in DUMBO. Walk through Central Park. Walk through Fort Tryon Park and see the Cloisters. Go to the 79th St Boat Basin and rent a kayak. Take the subway. Go to a Yankees game. Don't go to a Mets game.

posted by dfriedman at 7:59 AM on June 17, 2009

Yeah, even if you do something else to see the Statue of Liberty, go on the SI Ferry. About an hour or so round-trip. It's a nice break in the middle of the day if you're sightseeing.

Also, as a photographer, I'd say as long as you can zoom, it's better to get a shot from further away, so the ferry could work really well. You don't really want a pseudo-up the skirt shot, you know? (Or maybe you do.)

I don't know what kind of camera you have, but if you have a SLR, you can always rent a lens for a day...prices vary depending on what lens and where you rent from, but you can get one that would suit your needs well for about $30/day.
posted by AlisonM at 8:03 AM on June 17, 2009

If you want closeups, you can take a ferry to Liberty Island. The crown is open again soon, too.
But like the rest, I'd advise the SI ferry.

Also, I am a resident and I've never ridden one, but I keep meaning to try the double decker open-air tour buses. They look pretty cool, actually. You can jump on and off at will, they take you through some Manhattan sights, and you'll probably see a bit more than you would trying to find your own way around. Just sit on the top and be deeply skeptical of anything the tour guide says.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:16 AM on June 17, 2009

I disagree. I'm a New Yorker and if someone wants to see A LOT of New York in a short period of time, putting them on the red buses is the best way to get them around. Just make sure you take advantage of the stops and get off and look at things in person, not from 20 feet off the ground. Specifically, St. John the Divine uptown, Central Park (I'm partial to Strawberry Fields, the zoo, and the boathouse ((which is a bit of a walk inside))), the Met (seriously only pay what you want, not the $20 "suggested" price), Grand Central, Wall Street, Battery Park (great view of Ms. Liberty) and Washington Square Park. I took my mom on the buses on her first visit here and we did both the uptown and downtown tours in one day, and she's SUPER slow. Although, even for me it was too much. Either choose one or do them in two days. Have fun! If you're here on the weekends take the free ferry to Governors Island. , there's GREAT views from there.
posted by Unred at 8:19 AM on June 17, 2009

Governor's Island. Clear, unobstructed view. Also, Governor's Island is spooky and kinda rad.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:19 AM on June 17, 2009

Yes - as a follow up - be VERY skeptical. The tour guides on the buses I was on didn't know anything. I think they just make up things. Get a guide book to take with you.
posted by Unred at 8:20 AM on June 17, 2009

You can also go to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Two bucks to get there by subway and bus (no subway goes all the way there, but you can transfer between subways and city buses for free), it's got the closest unobstructed mainland view of the Statue of Liberty, and it's an interesting neighborhood to boot. And when you're done you can get Key Lime Pie on a stick.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2009

You'll never get as good a shot as you can get from a postcard, or any number of sources online. So take the ferry, relax, enjoy the views, and get your obligatory shot of you in front of the statue (even in the distance, to prove that you were, in fact, there), and don't stress about getting an awesome shot. Life's too short to obsess over that.
posted by mkultra at 8:36 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're already going to Brooklyn, check out the brooklyn heights promenade. Mostly for the view of Manhattan and the brooklyn bridge (though you can see the statue, and indeed the ferries).
posted by shownomercy at 8:51 AM on June 17, 2009

I just went to Governor's Island, and while it is pretty spooky and rad--what with the fire-gutted abandoned buildings and peeling libraries--the views of the SoL were pretty squatty. Stick with the Staten Island Ferry.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:57 AM on June 17, 2009

The new IKEA in Red Hook has remade a section of industrial waterfront into a pretty nice park/promenade, with chairs and tables and paths, etc. It's very easy to get to; take the F, M, or R to 4th Av/9th St (in Park Slope, Brooklyn) and then catch the IKEA shuttle bus that runs very frequently from that intersection.

Bonus: If you actually eat in the IKEA, the cafeteria has windows about 15 ft tall with a beautiful view of the copper gal.
posted by ROTFL at 9:43 AM on June 17, 2009

Red Hook alert - it is NOT easy to get to, even if you live in NYC. And this is from a Red Hooker. I'd love to have you visit my awesome little neighborhood, but if you have 3 days in new york, getting lost in Red Hook (incl. wandering through projects) shouldn't be a part of it. When you come on your second trip, then you should check out our waterfront, eat at the Red Hook ball fields, have some key lime pie...but if you try it the first time around...well I tried to warn you.
posted by Unred at 9:48 AM on June 17, 2009

No one has mentioned the free IKEA water taxi. Not as good as the SI Ferry for Lady Liberty pictures, but fun, and free. Takes you right by Governors Island and by some pretty interesting Brooklyn industrial water front. Also,if you have a decent camera, I noticed that there is a great view down the Hudson where you can actually see the Statue of Liberty in the distance from the High Line.
posted by kimdog at 10:01 AM on June 17, 2009

I went on both the Liberty Island/Ellis Island ferry and the Grey Line tour. I'd recommend them both for good pictures of her, but you only need to do one since they take a similar route out in the harbor. The prices aren't too steep and you'll get good info about things other than the Statue on either of them.
posted by soelo at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2009

I assume you're talking about a digital SLR and a decent telephoto zoom lens? Or a point and shoot?

Staten Island Ferry is too rocky, too quick, and the statue is too far away. You may end up with just a far away blur.

If you take the ferry to Liberty Island, the statue and tour itself is really cool and you get some interesting perspectives. But you are probably too close up to get a nice profile shot, which is what I assume you want. The ferry and tour do take up a significant portion of the day.

From the Ikea ferry, the view is OK, but if you're already in Red Hook, I would just take a shot from the Ikea waterfront or inside the store itself (if you're sneaky).

I didn't find the Ikea that difficult to get to. I took the F to Smith-9th and then walked 15-20 minutes. But I wasn't in a hurry and got to stop off at the ball fields for a snack along the way.
posted by kathryn at 10:23 AM on June 17, 2009

No one has mentioned the free IKEA water taxi. Not as good as the SI Ferry for Lady Liberty pictures, but fun, and free.

However, it also has a limited schedule -- that's the biggest reason I hadn't mentioned it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:13 AM on June 17, 2009

Most of the Circle Line boat rides will get you a great view of the Statue. If you'd rather not just sit on a slow boat, take The Beast Speedboat Ride.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:42 AM on June 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everybody for the responses. I really appreciate it. I'll take all of this under advisement when my brother and I get together to finalize plans and I'll let you know how it goes once I'm back.

As a side note, I just found out that I scored us tickets to see Letterman. Things are looking good already. :-)

Thanks again everyone for helping out a NYC Noob!
posted by Ashman at 2:22 PM on June 17, 2009

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