Where in NYC can I go that's really high up and will allow me to set up a rather large camera on a tripod?
March 23, 2011 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Accessible rooftops (or other really high places) in Manhattan or Brooklyn?

I know the obvious suggestions will be the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock observation deck, but it's not that easy: I need a place that allows tripods and won't give me too much trouble when I set up a large format view camera.
posted by Venadium to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've only ever used locations that I had special access to, so I won't be much help but I sure look forward to whatever answers you get - I'm always on the lookout for the same thing. One idea that I have considered but haven't really investigated is hotel room rental. Guess that would depend on how much you were willing to pay.
The one thing I can think of that might be helpful is that Smash Recording Studios www.smashny.com/ has or had (its been years since Ive been there) a nice big accessible (if you were a musician renting rehearsal space) balcony with a good view of the ESB. Not particularly high up though.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:44 PM on March 23, 2011

I've actually thought about the hotel room idea too, but I'd definitely rather not have to spend the money if I don't have to. I also suppose that the roof or balcony doesn't necessarily have to be really high up, as long as it has a decent view.
posted by Venadium at 3:52 PM on March 23, 2011

You could check out the top of Sunset Park or a hill in Greenwood Cemetery. They are both at quite high natural points. Depending on your needs (night/day, in midst of buildings/skyline from afar, just how high, etc.) this may or may not work at all, but you can get a pretty good look out over southwestern Brooklyn at the Lower Manhattan skyline.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:08 PM on March 23, 2011

Like so.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:10 PM on March 23, 2011

Great view from here: http://www.topofthestrand.com/topofthestrand.shtml but you'd probably have to make some special arrangements to shoot from there.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:23 PM on March 23, 2011

Greenwood is awesome, and one of my friends lives in Sunset Park so we're there a lot when the weather is nicer, but it's not exactly what I need for the shot I have in mind.
posted by Venadium at 4:30 PM on March 23, 2011

Damn, Top of the Strand looked promising but I just spoke to someone there and they said that tripods aren't okay.
posted by Venadium at 4:38 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

No idea on accessibility, but the New York Academy of Science has great views and floor to ceiling windows.

They also have great carpets.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:41 PM on March 23, 2011

Also look into the Rise Bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park City. I think it faces south, but I'm pretty sure its got an open air balcony. Might be the same story at Top of the Strand though...
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:55 PM on March 23, 2011

Academy of Sciences looks pretty good, nobody is around right now but I'll give them another call tomorrow. Hopefully they won't have a problem with me getting up there and taking a few shots while the space isn't being used...
posted by Venadium at 5:04 PM on March 23, 2011

A proper membership in the New York Landmarks Conservancy will get you invites for a year to their 'exclusive Circle Tours' which get you into otherwise inaccessible buildings. It will also set you back about $250 for a year. But I imagine that would be a great way to make some serious contacts with folks who have the sort of access you're looking for.
posted by carsonb at 5:38 PM on March 23, 2011

Oops, meant to include a link to the Circle Tours.
posted by carsonb at 5:38 PM on March 23, 2011

I was thinking about your question a little more and am wondering if you'd have better luck just showing up and asking nicely. Sometimes asking officially will get you a "No" while asking unofficially might get you a "Sure, why not?"

A lot of places are likely to have a no tripods rule, but on a non-busy Tuesday afternoon, might bend the rules.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:06 PM on March 23, 2011

There are some rooftop suggestions in this Reddit threadLa Quinta Manhattan, Pod Hotel on 230 East 51st Street, 990 6th ave.

Also if you have a friend at Google NYC, they have an amazing view.
posted by dreamyshade at 2:46 AM on March 24, 2011

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