The View from the Top of the Rock

As you all know, I love taking in the views all over New York and it has been on my NYC To-Do list to experience the view from the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

I recently went with New York City Vacation Packages (NYCVP) to visit the Top of the Rock and look out upon all of Manhattan from the 3-story observation deck. I happened to visit this site when the weather was perfect and the views of the city were nice and clear! An NYCVP voucher allowed me to skip the lines at this popular destination located in the heart of Midtown, close to Radio City Music Hall and Times Square.

When I reached the Top, I went straight to the south side of the observation deck where I caught my first glimpse of Manhattan in a sweeping panorama that included the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan.

Every view that followed was like something from a movie or television show. The surrounding landmarks, fresh air, open space and the entertainment of people-watching presented an almost cinematic scenario.

As I peered through the clear panel walls of the observation deck, looking at the surrounding architecture and the outer boroughs, I picked out the recognizable buildings and familiar locations, seeing them from this new and exciting angle.

The westward view from the 2nd floor observation deck 

Capturing the Empire State Building from every angle

Central Park sunbathers in the distance
Another view of Central Park here

The Empire State Building and view toward Lower Manhattan

3rd floor observation deck

A photographer's view

Having fun people watching and taking pictures

Instagraming in action?


Exploring Central Park with On Location Tours

Of all the times I have been to Central Park while living in New York City, I never knew just how many movies and television shows have filmed there. So when I had the opportunity to do the Central Park TV & Movie Sites tour with On Location Tours, I knew it would be a great photo opp as well!

I joined the tour group led by Paige, who clued us in on the fact that we were about to make our way through the most filmed location in all of Manhattan. It turns out over 200 TV series and movies have filmed here, making it the ultimate location to experience these iconic sites up close.

We had about 843 acres to cover—well not quite! We navigated through the main spots of Central Park to view the many recognizable landmarks and landscapes.

Duck Pond
On Location Tours at Duck Pond
We started at the most picturesque section of the park and my personal favorite, the Duck Pond, set against the Midtown skyline along 5th Avenue and 59th Street. Our On Location Tours guide pointed out the familiar setting of the Gapstow Bridge where you may remember scenes from King Kong, Gossip Girl, Enchanted, Home Alone 2 and more. To be standing on the same ground that famous actors like Patrick Dempsey, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway and Macaulay Culkin once professionally covered seemed too magical to be true. Hence the magic behind that dance sequence from Enchanted and the imaginary portal from Smurf world into NYC in last year's Smurf 3D movie.

Duck Pond and Gapstow Bridge

On Location Tours - Gapstow Bridge

Wollman Skating Rink

On Location Tour - Wollman Ice Rink
Our Central Park tour was just getting started, and it seemed to spark the imaginations of many members of the group. We were lead towards our next stop: Wollman Skating Rink. Once I saw it I remembered the scene from Serendipity where Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack's character first meet then reunite some time later thanks to fate. Our tour guide Paige went into detail about this location and the seasonal changes that take place in this section of the park.

Playmate's Arch
On Location Tours - Playmates Arch
From there we were led to The Dairy and Gift Shop, located in an area that has been dubbed the "Children's District." I can see why: playgrounds and family picnics abound in this area, providing a friendly atmosphere and the perfect spot to film a TV or movie scene. We wander underneath Playmates Arch toward the Carousel where we learn of several more famous TV and movie scenes.

The Mall: Literary Walk
On Location Tours - Literary Walk
The next stop was another favorite of mine: Central Park's Literary Walk, a.k.a The Mall. We've seen Vanilla Sky, The Producers and Maid in Manhattan set here, as well as classics like Breakfast at Tiffany's and new favorites like Glee. Those recognizable American Elm trees that lean in towards a busy central walkway provide an iconic setting in all of these movies and shows.

The group being led to Bethesda Terrace
OLT - To Bethesda Terrace

On Location Tours - Bethesda Terrace

The group gathered at Bethesda Fountain

On Location Tours - group

It turns out Elf filmed here, with Will Ferrell flying over the Bethesda Fountain with his reindeer and sleigh on Christmas Eve. And just across the lake from Bethesda Terrace is the popular Boathouse Restaurant. Paige told us about a scene from Sex and the City and some insider facts from the day they filmed that only On Location Tours would know!

Paige shared with us a lot of key facts about filming and production in New York. This is the type of excitement that leads out-of-towners here. Why merely watch it on TV when you can experience it in real life!?

That's when we made an interesting stop at the Imagine Mosaic in Strawberry Fields. We learned some interesting facts about this section of the park and of the nearby Dakota Building where John Lennon once lived.

The tour ended at the site of Tavern on the Green where Paige described to us the former restaurant's appeal, success and what ultimately led to it shutting down.

From there we were free to explore Sheep Meadow where many famous scenes have taken place. With all of locations the Central Park TV & Movie Sites tour highlighted, it brought more meaning to the spots I've been frequenting over the years. It would be a fun tour to take whether you're visiting, just moved here, or have lived in the city for several years like I have! 


Central Park, Spring 2012

Midtown Backdrop
Midtown Skyline

In the 'Children's District"
Kids Playing

The CarouselCentral Park's Carousel

Spring TreesCentral Park in Spring

Looking up to CPW

Towards Strawberry Fields
Towards Strawberry Fields

The Imagine Mosaic
Picture takers at Imagine Mosaic

Toward Columbus Circle 
Sightseeing Tour Bus


September 11th, 2011

I went down to Ground Zero on September 11th, 2011 to observe the visitors and events going on during the 10-year anniversary. Every year that I can, I go down to the World Trade Center site on the anniversary to capture these moments and reflect on the events. Despite the threats and worries surrounding this particular anniversary, the area was crowded and the usual ceremonies and rituals were all still going on. Most notable was the bagpipe ceremony in front of O'Haras Irish Pub at the foot of Ground Zero.

Just a few days before I had gotten a new camera lens as a birthday gift from my photo friend Joe. It was the 55-250 telephoto lens, so it lead me to take more intimate pictures of the people and places down there.

September 11th, 2011

St. Paul's Chapel across from Ground Zero


News crews doing interviews

Pink bokeh

Ladder 10
Ladder Co. 10

More pics on my photostream.


Bryant Park Summer Movie with Marilyn Monroe

All summer long I have been meaning to get out and see one of the outdoor summer movies that have been taking place since June. Despite heat and exhaustion on Monday night, I made sure to attend the HBO Summer Film Festival in Bryant Park, showing the Marilyn Monroe movie 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.'

I'd never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie before, and I didn't understand the movie too well. I was there mainly for the experience though, and to have fun watching an outdoor movie with a thousand or so other people who were also attending!

Before it got too crowded...
People on the Lawn

"Diamonds are a girls best friend"




Manhattanhenge 2011 - July 13

Manhattanhenge - July 13, 2011 in Times Square.

Best Manhattanhenge ever.

Manhattanhenge, July 13, 2011


Manhattanhenge, July 13, 2011

Manhattanhenge, July 13, 2011

Manhattanhenge, July 13, 2011

Bathed in the Manhattan sunlight

Manhattanhenge, July 13, 2011

Goodbye Manhattanhenge. See you next year!
42nd Street, after the sunset


Manhattanhenge 2011 - July 12

Since I missed the event in May, the Manhattanhenge that was set to take place on July 12th and 13th was all I've been able to think about.

I was lucky enough to see this rare sunset from 34th Street and 1st Avenue, and capture the "Peoplehenge" phenomenon that takes place too as photographers take over the intersection between green lights to get the best view.

Practice shot for Manhattanhenge, just minutes before it occurred!
Manhattanhenge capture

Paparazzi waiting for Manhattanhenge, just minutes before it occured!
Manhattanhenge paparazzi!

Sun spark

Close call with a cab

Scary bus traffic speeding by
Manhattanhenge & bus

Cell phone capture
Manhattanhenge cell

More to come from tomorrow's Manhattanhenge viewing!


4th of July Fireworks - 2011

On the 4th of July, I was at a friend's roof top cook-out in the West Village (West 14th & 7th to be exact), waiting for the Macy's fireworks show to begin over the Hudson.

This was going to be my 4th time seeing the Macy's fireworks. I had always braved the crowds along the FDR Drive, by the East River, or along Chelsea Piers and the West Side Highway, overlooking the Hudson River.

This year I planned to do something low key and luckily I had the chance to view the show from the comfort of a roof top with snacks, drinks and good friends!

So here's how the night went...

The sky turned a bright orange
United States flag

Night was falling
Purple sky

I had a cupcake
Cupcake flag

They started!
Fireworks - cloudy

My friends got out a blanket
Fireworks - friends

There were reds!
Fireworks - red

And golds!
Fireworks - gold

And then I stopped taking pics just in time to actually SEE the finale, out from behind the camera lens...