Dark City, Top of the Rock – Christmas night 2008

My girlfriend, Maria and I decided to take in the sights of the city Christmas night in search of some new material for Dark City. We started out going uptown to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. We got off the bus one stop later than we had planned and ran into the two scenes below, including Radio City Music Hall. It’s such a NYC landmark that I had to shoot it.


Right after this shot, we saw the sign for the “Top of the Rock”, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Maria and I have never been, so we decided to up. My big tripod created quite the scene there as they have this tripod rule where you can’t extend it outward(like normal) to use it for time exposures. It would have to be used only like a monopod(or just extending the legs downward). This makes sense in a way as when it is busy, you don’t want a bunch of photographers to be hogging the space up on the top…but that made it harder for me to get these shots that would normally be so easy to set up.

This shot, below was on the 68th floor. You can see the viewers on the 67th floor viewing area below and the wonderful expanse of city beyond.

If you’re wondering what that blurry part is on the right hand side, it’s the gap between the glass(2″ thick). The glass has about a 2.5″ gap in 4′ sections, so you can actually stick your camera lens out of it, but for this shot, I liked the composition of it even with the glass distortion.

This is shot through the glass showing the city below and the reflection of the people behind us, which happens to be this dancing light show(which is multi-color and feeds off of people moving near to it).

This is truly one of the best places to view Manhattan if you’re visiting New York. I’ve been up the Empire State Building so many times with other friends and family, but I’ve never seen such an amazing view of New York. Unlike the Empire State Building, which has these nasty metal grates that separate you from the incredible view…the Top of the Rock has completely unobstructed views of NYC. Floors 67 and 68 have glass between you and the view, and 69 has nothing, only air and the view of the city. It’s truly amazing. Even though there was that nasty tripod rule in effect, once we were on the 69th floor, there was this older security guard that saw I was trying to shoot some of the scenes with my tripod and said, “It’s Christmas, go ahead and use it”. I thought that was so nice(and needed).

So we were fairly frozen, especially my fingers, being out using the camera and tripod, so we had enough and went back down to the bottom. Maria and I had thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the Rock. So it was off to see the tree and the Saks 5th Ave windows…

Finally, what we had gone to see that night…with a little interlude…

Trying to get an interesting shot of the tree, I didn’t shoot it with the building behind it…I wanted a more raw aproach with some atomosphere behind it. So, here you have it. The tree did seem smaller this year. I don’t know if it’s the economy or not, but the trees of past years have been much taller. Swarofski Crystal is responsible for the star and led lights on the tree.

So we moved onto Saks Fifth Avenue, which is a stone’s throw from the tree. Beautiful as always, it has a wonderful snowflake light display.

Maria wanted to see the displays at Saks 5th Avenue, so this was just a nice scene I captured when she was looking at the windows…

Lastly, this is an interesting scene that I saw when we were waiting for the bus to head back home. There is this old woman in her fur coat with a pile of garbage next to her. It just seemed interesting that here is this old woman, here with her fur coat, alone on Christmas trying to catch a cab home. Sad in a way…but a New York story none the less…

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