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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
The Empire State Building and the Bank of America tower rise prominently

Memorable Moments: The New York Skyline at night

I spent 5 days in New York in 2012 and one of the highlights (so so so many of them) has to be seeing the New York Skyline at night from the GE Building in the Rockefeller centre complex. New York has an iconic skyline with so many high-rise buildings who's names conjure up images of power and fame; The Empire State, Chrysler, Met Life, Bank of America tower, Woolworths building. To view this dramatic landscape of steel, concrete and decadent facades at night is unforgettable - the lights and the beauty of it all are quite extraordinary.

Where to view the skyline from?

We chose to view the amazing New York skyline from the GE building in the Rockefeller centre. The GE building is a stunning piece of architecture in its own right in the classic Art Deco style. The Rockefeller centre is located between 5th and 6th avenues, spanning from West 48th to West 51st - the GE building is in the centre of this complex (you can't fail to miss it!!!!). Luckily our hotel was on 7th avenue and it was only a 5 minute walk - there are plenty of subway stations near the complex if you are father away.

GE Building towering over the Rockerfeller plaza Top of the Rock baby! New York at night - amazing

The night-time ticket to "Top of the Rock" (The GE Buildings observation deck) was approx 27 dollars - you can pre-book on their website or buy from the ticket desk. There was a stupidly large queue on our first attempt and we couldn't be bothered to wait that long, so we had a walk around the Rockefeller complex and tried later in the night - much better! The lift that takes you up to the observation deck is brilliant, it has various luminous lights and a count-down as you speed past the floors.

The Empire state building and Bank of America tower Looking back towards central park - the main dark expanse in the middle

The actual observation deck is split into several tiers - go straight to the top floor - there is no restricting glass here to limit your photographic opportunities and you have panoramic views of the whole New York cityscape.

At the Top of the Rock

I was overwhelmed when I got to the top and first glimpsed out at the sprawling expanse of Manhattan Island and New York displayed in all its beauty before me. I had already been up the GE building during the day, but this was a totally different experience - the lights, the dark, the surprising tranquillity and the sheer brilliance was breathtaking.

So many different lights and colours to take in The different angles provided different shots and interesting compositions

It was a truly amazing thing to behold and I would encourage anyone visiting New York to do this. I could have spent hours just watching and taking it all in, imagining the chaos and turbulence of New York happening hundreds of metres below. Looking at each lit up window and wondering what the people inside were doing, who were they? What brought them to New York? Wondering what each building was, how it was made and how many people worked there - so many different thoughts all from one scene!

Chaotic streets of New York and lines of traffic beneath us New York Skyline

At the time I only had a Canon Powershot ssx220 HS - I wish I would have had a better camera now, but I was pleased with the photos we managed to get. Stability is the key and we luckily had a gorilla-pod to use, also you can rest you camera on the ledges. The biggest challenge was taking a decent photo of ourselves - in order to get a crisp photo with decent lighting, we hooked our camera to the viewing post and used the light on a Blackberry as a flash!!!

You can just see the Chrysler building peeping round the side of the Met Life building! My favourite urban landscape to date - nothing compares!

Viewing the New York skyline at night was simply amazing and so much fun - I hope to go back there someday and experience it all again!

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