Manhattan Photo Ops

If you are a regular visitor the Big Apple, you probably have your share of photos of popular tourist attractions. With millions clicking away in front of the Statue of Liberty and the Rockefeller Center skating rink, you may now want pictures that are still tourist oriented, but a bit more unique. On my last trip to Manhattan over the holidays, my daughter and I tried to be more adventurous. The following list contains places that you, too, may want to snap, or at least visit for different views of the city:

If your tastes run towards the macabre, you may want to have a meal at one of the two Jekyll and Hyde restaurants (One is in the village and the other is around 57th street.) Customers can browse through all 3 floors of this establishment while waiting for their food, and come home with a variety of snapshots that make them appear they’re in a horror movie. With skeletons, singing skulls, dissected bodies, monsters, vampires and laboratory equipment, it’s definitely fun. Along the same lines, you can visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. You can have your picture taken with the world’s tallest man statue, capture the fattest woman, pose with a few two-headed creatures, and be “cut in half” in another photo…not to mention what you can do with the torture devices. (A trip into some of the more interesting Greenwich Village costume stores can yield similar results.) A visit to the Metropolitan Museum can be just a creative; try posing with a group of mummies in the same stance as them, or in the same position as one of the many muscled Greek sculptures.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a store, restaurant or hotel lobby area in a momentary lull, you may get some lovely backgrounds, especially if it’s close to a major holiday and there are lavish decorations. I captured some images that I could use for holiday cards next year; they are that stunning. We found an area in one section of the subway in the Port Authority Terminal with two walls covered in gorgeous ceramic mosaic scenes, and it was a great setting to show off a part of New York that’s not commonly considered in photos. We found similar backgrounds at the U.N., with the plus that you can take photos in certain rooms when the tour is over. Don’t forget to have yourself or your companions photographed with the mosaic displays of the Empire State Building in that building’s lobby, either.

Many performers will allow a short period of picture taking after a show; we have some keepsakes with actors from the Blue Man Group, so it’s worth waiting around if you’ve fallen in love with the entertainers and want a personal remembrance.

Even the regular sidewalks can offer New York perspectives, with double-take store fronts and names; we found a few that still bring chuckles and pictures to prove we were there. Of course, walking down 5th Avenue opens a wealth of possibilities, the library being a typical example: after a picture with the lions out front, stop in for a glance at the virtual sea of computer stations-it’s worth the walk. If you are in an artsy mood, you can also find loads of street trash, packed crosswalks, blocks of neon, and windows of merchandise worth snapping as well. A trip to Chinatown can bring sights as hanging headless ducks and bins of unusual looking foods (to American eyes), while every ethnic neighborhood has its share of particular delights. Many years ago, I happened upon Madonna filming a scene in front of Trump Tower, but she was the only celebrity I’ve ever seen in all of my visits there. You may, however, have better luck or better timing.

You can also take pictures of your hotel room (if unbelievably tiny, gorgeous or looking out onto an expanse of Central Park), pose with a horses and its carriage along 60th street, or stand in front of one of the major television stations, as if you have just been hired by them. Plus, since each scene changes within minutes, everywhere in New York holds great photo opportunities.

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