Capture NYC for free
June 25, 2011 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of buildings that offer a free view in NYC for a photographer?

I have an out of town guest who wants to take photos of NYC from a high point, but is on a very strict budget and does not want to pay the ticket prices for Empire State building or top of the Rock. Any suggestions for places we could take him to get skyline views etc.? He is also interested in interesting abandoned places.
posted by catrae to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This might help a little. I know of a bunch of others too, but aside from The High Line park (which isn't all that high) and the Brooklyn Promanade (also not too high) they all require payment or special access.
I'd encourage your friend to spend the twentysomething dollars on the ESB. If that's gonna break the budget, then its going to be hard trying to find stuff to do here in the city.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:03 AM on June 25, 2011

Here's another previous thread asking about rooftop views for taking photos in NYC.
posted by dreamyshade at 10:08 AM on June 25, 2011

If it sweetens the deal, there's a combo pass to both MoMA and Top of the Rock for $33 that's well worth it, IMHO. Otherwise, the only (sort of) free options I can think of are rooftop bars, but the view 20 floors up at, say, 230 Fifth just can't compare to the views you'd get from the ESB or 30 Rock.
posted by evoque at 10:10 AM on June 25, 2011

If you want to see the full skyline, you want to see it from Brooklyn, like this. The Brooklyn Height Promenade is a park, so it is free.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:19 AM on June 25, 2011

And after the promenade, stop at Grimaldi's.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:21 AM on June 25, 2011

Walk the Williamsburg Bridge. Good views uptown and downtown.
posted by greta simone at 10:21 AM on June 25, 2011

There's The View, a revolving restaurant and lounge on the 48th floor of the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square. Takes about an hour to get around, during which you can nurse your $7 beer.
posted by apparently at 10:24 AM on June 25, 2011

What do you need a building for? The river front in Hoboken is a great place for taking pictures of Manhattan. It's really a gorgeous view, and it's only a short walk from the Hoboken PATH station.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Metropolitan Museums rooftop bar has a nice view of central park and the skyline poking up from it.

Your friend could just donate a dollar for admission.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 1:10 PM on June 25, 2011

Ride the Staten Island Ferry. It is free.

You will get a great view of Lower Manhattan, Governor's Island, Liberty Island (the statue of liberty), and Brooklyn (the mighty Verrazano).
posted by Flood at 1:42 PM on June 25, 2011

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot! You'll find brilliant views of both sides of the city, as well as of the bridge itself. It's free, and fun.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 2:09 PM on June 25, 2011

Take the 7 train to LIC (Vernon/Jackson) and walk a few blocks to the East River and Gantry State Park. Great views of Manhattan (Empire State, Chrysler, UN, etc.) Free too, other than the subway.
posted by mbx at 8:13 PM on June 25, 2011

Can you not just front your friend the cash to get into Top of the Rock (which IMO has better views from more different vantage points) or whatever? I mean, it's not that much money. If he can't move things around in his budget or acquire a little more cash somewhere to find space for a $20 tourist attraction he really wants to see, he probably can't afford to come to New York.

Seconding the Staten Island Ferry (more for views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, though if he's particularly interested in views in lower Manhattan there is also that) as well as Brooklyn Bridge Park, for free stuff, though it's simply not the same thing.

If he wants to take photos of Manhattan from above, he wants to pay to get onto a high roof top.
posted by Sara C. at 7:24 AM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

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