The Clickyfish Blog

Manhattan Nights

The trip was a bit last minute, leaving Toronto on a Wednesday, planning to shoot the Manhattan skyline late nights and early mornings Thursday and Friday. I was hoping to get to Brooklyn and Dumbo during the daytime, maybe even Coney Island, then travel back to Toronto on the Saturday.

Finding somewhere to stay at short notice that was reasonably priced (meaning as cheap as possible) was turning out to be problematic. I got a tip about the possibilty of camping on the waterfront of Jersey City, just a five minute walk from the Paulus Hook ferry. Best part was that it would be about 60 bucks a night, including 24hr parking.  Liberty Harbor RV park is located at the south end of Marin Boulevard in Jersey City, next to Liberty Harbor Marina. It's an RV park, but they also have 12 tent spaces in a separately fenced area of the park. Facilities include a laundry, showers, washrooms, parking, 24hr security, and a good sized pub across the street.  With a park full of 50ft, half a million dollar RV's, and the Manhattan Yacht club next door, the area is not exactly sketchy, and there seemed to be  good security.

From the Jersey City side of the Hudson river at Paulus Hook ferry or the Exchange Place train station, you get a great view of the Manhattan skyline from the west and there's plenty of space for setting up a tripod along the waterfront. I scouted the area in late afternoon, got my spots picked out and took pictures for a few hours either side of sunset.

I was out of the campsite just before 5am the next morning. Liberty State Park looked like it would be within easy walking distance, using a cut through across an industrial area directly behind the RV park. It took about 45 minutes to get to the park, and it was totally worth the early morning walk. Liberty State park has a few notable areas worth shooting.  The ruins of Central Railroad of New Jersey Teminal, the empty sky memorial, Ellis Island and a decent view of the Statue of liberty. You can even get a ferry to the statue of liberty from inside the park. You get a great view of southern Manhattan from the park, with the sunrise coming up behind the skyscrapers.

My trip to lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge involved crossing over on the Manhattan Bridge first. I had been tipped off that the pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge is a tourist zoo, and really hard to get a spot to shoot from during the day. Manhattan bridge walkway in contrast is much easier to deal with, and crosses over the top of Chinatown. I managed to set up a few good shots of Chinatown, and a couple of shots of the Brooklyn Bridge as I crossed the river. Once you get to Brooklyn, it's a 15 minute walk from the Manhattan Bridge around to Dumbo, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Again, plenty of room on the waterfront for tripods, but it was a lot busier than the Jersey waterfront with a photographer every 20 ft, or so it seemed. I managed to get setup quick enough to get a few shots in the blue hour, then I moved around the waterfront for a couple of hours.

I thought I would head back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge, as it was late and dark and would probably be a lot quieter than during the day.... Wrong. Still a zoo.


See the full Manhattan road trip photo gallery Here