The New York City skyline and the Empire State Building. View from Top of the Rock. Midtown.
When the night pulls its cobalt blanket over the city
the lights flicker like stars
in a magnificent universe.
And the world pauses
for a minute or two
enthralled in a reciprocal gaze
of epic proportion.
The hour right after the sun dips below the horizon is one of the most enchanting hours of the day. It’s not quite day and not quite night but it’s a blended mixture of the two. There is no better place to witness this transformation in New York City than 70 stories up in the air on the observation deck of Rockefeller Center (known colloquially as Top of the Rock). After feeling the elation that comes with watching the sun set over the city, all of the city’s lights come into view twinkling little by little until they all seem to build up to the most intense crescendo of illuminated splendor.
This view is looking south towards lower Manhattan past the Empire State Building. I took this photo last night bundled up in layers of winter gear since the temperatures have been rather arctic here in New York City as of late. I wanted to take the Sony a99 up to capture this time of day specifically. This is the result of a 30 second exposure completed by placing my camera on one of the ledges (while tethered to a very, very still me with gloved hands in pockets barely breathing for fear of moving the camera/camera strap). The Top of the Rock and Empire State Building are rather strict about their no tripod policy. Sometimes you can catch a kind security guard who doesn’t mind a gorilla pod but for the most part, you have to get creative if you want to take super long exposures. In this case, since it was so ridiculously cold, there weren’t many people on the deck and I staked out my ledge during the pre-sunset time period (the sunset was stunning!) taking photos while waiting for this particular moment.
There is a special clarity that comes with this time of year. While this spot is a popular vantage point in the summer, there is also a lot less visibility due to the thick summer haze that hangs over the city in the warmer months. In the dead of winter though, it’s crystal clear if you catch a clear day (another rarity!).
Locations of interest in this shot include: The Empire State Building, One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower or 1 WTC, the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan Bridge, the New York Life building (one of the buildings with a gold top), Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower.
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