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The 10 Best Places for Street Photography in New York City

A local discusses the best places for street photography in New York City.

I truly believe that New York is the greatest city in the world—but then again, I may be a little biased. I've spent most of my 20s in town, taking in all the beautiful scenes of the area with my friends.

Being as intimate with the city as I am, I developed a certain appreciation for the uniquely gritty-glamorous aesthetic that the town offers. I've spent sleeping off a wild night on the A train, drinking bagged wine in Washington Square Park, and also enjoying the beauty of looking out over the river from Java Street.

Over the years, I've learned some places are truly spectacular spots for street photography in New York City. Here are the places I suggest hitting up if you want to capture a seriously impressive shot and become one of the best street photographers to follow on Instagram.

Washington Square Park, Manhattan

Washington Square Park has a lot to offer in terms of both people and aesthetics. As far as good places for street photography in New York City go, this is a surefire venue for finding amazing scenes.

Along with its own Arc du Triumph and its iconic water fountain, this public park works as a major gathering point for local artists and NYU students. Really, though, something is always happening here.

Whether it's a protest against Trump, a local musician, or the gorgeous lights that bring your attention to the Arc, you're bound to find something worth shooting.

The Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn

Anyone who has ever looked at a single photo book of New York City has seen at least one shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's iconic, gets amazing views of the cityscape, and also has a huge number of people who just like to walk the bridge.

As far as photography spots go, I'm not sure that it's possible to go here without finding something you can take a photo of. You'll find well-dressed people, dramatic sunsets, and amazing shots of the surrounding architecture.

Seriously, what's not to love?

DUMBO, Brooklyn

DUMBO has the same kind of epic views that you'd expect to see at the Brooklyn Bridge. The only real difference is that the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is over you.

What makes DUMBO an amazing Instagram photo op can't be nailed down to one specific thing. It's really a blend of all the gritty buildings, the uniquely quirky hipsters, and the general air of old school, BK charm that makes it great.

Central Park, Manhattan

Central Park might be as close to nature as you'll ever find in New York City, but that doesn't mean it's not one of the better places for street photography in New York City.

The blend between the Manhattanite elites and the crustpunks who tend to hang out here makes it a great venue to capture interesting juxtapositions between the rich and poor.

The architecture nearby combined with the beautifully cared-for park grounds also adds romance to your street shots. Overall, this is the kind of place you would love to find when you want to show that street scenes can be romantic.

Times Square, Manhattan

I never found my dancing feet on 42nd street, except for that time I attended a rave there. Though I was never one much for Broadway or the kitschy tourist attractions that dot the streets near Times Square, I'll always say this place is the best region to get cyberpunk shots in your portfolio.

All the neon lights and tall buildings make Times Square one of the best places for street photography in New York City—provided you're doing it at night. Even cameraphone shots look good here, so there's no need to tote around any of the best cameras for landscape and street photography.

Grand Central Station, Manhattan

Though I personally spent most of my time lurking around Penn Station when I was in NYC, I wouldn't really suggest Penn Station as a photography spot. It just looks a little bit too grimy without actually having the urban appeal of nice architecture.

Grand Central Station, though? Totally different story. This station became the subject of many iconic black and white photos because of its elegant, almost rococo, architecture. That said, even color shots have their own appeal.

Wall Street

Maybe it's just because I really love the bull sculpture and the little girl statue, but I'm a huge fan of shots taking place on Wall Street. Actually, it might be all the suits that strut to work. It's just such an oddly corporate place, you know what I mean?

A lot of symbolism and awesome street corner shots can be found here. That's why I consider it to be one of the better places for street photography in New York City.

Soho, Manhattan

Soho has that ultra-fashiony vibe that makes it a shoe-in for Instagrammers looking for an amazing shot. Everyone here is always dressed to the nines, and some of the buildings here really just add a unique flair that you can't really see anywhere else.

An exceptionally nice place to capture a moment would be at Crosby Street's Nomo Hotel. The trellis looks superb during the summer, and I'm fairly certain it's the only setting like this in the area.

Astoria, Queens

There's been a lot of hype surrounding Queens lately, and it's hype that's very well-founded. Queens has been on the up-and-up lately, and the immersion of different cultures all coming together in Astoria makes it the perfect place for you to find something interesting to snap a photo of. Whether it be one of the popular brunch spots sprouting up or a hole-in-the-wall coffeeshop, there's sure to be a moment captured and a memory made. It's also one of the best places to learn how to take the best street photography portraits since the scenery is so much more unique compared to other photos taken in New York City.

Any New York City Subway in Any Borough

Maybe it's just me, but I honestly think the underground subway system holds the best places for street photography in New York City. Everyone knows what they look like; they're famous around the world.

Most people who are looking for awesome shots are trying to find pretty colors, pretty people, and interesting architecture. I get it, trust me I do. However, ugly can be pretty too. 

Subways raise their middle finger up to the expectations of people, and yell, "Hey, I'm a grimy motherfucker." After all, what's NYC without a little grit?

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