Why visit New York at Christmas and New Year’s Eve ?
I have always wanted to see New York at Christmas. I’ve been going there usually every other year for many years. But I usually go there during the Halloween period, enjoying the beautiful autumn colors, but also the traditional atmosphere and the costume parade. In addition, I advise you to stay at least a week to experience the New York New Year.
When I went to visit the “Big Apple” at Christmas, I had three main photographic objectives:
- Christmas decorations in New York
- Hoping to see the city under the snow, but it wasn’t the case.
- Spend New Year’s Day in Times Square
Americans love to come to New York for a joyful and enlightened time. It is an attraction for tourists to have so many places to enjoy the magic of Christmas. Every year you will find the same traditions, for example the huge Rockefeller tree. Between the garlands of lights, the Christmas baubles, it is a city that never sleeps. Then, the colorful and shiny windows of the department stores attract the last customers to find the ideal gift. Finally, you will have understood it, the atmosphere is there for both young and old!
What are the 10 best photo spots in New York at Christmas ?
For a stay of about ten days, it is possible to have a good overview of New York at Christmas with the illuminations. The 10 most beautiful photo spots that I could make and that I will present to you are :
- Rockefeller’s Christmas tree
- Times Square
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Radio City
- Dyker Heights in Brooklyn
- Wall Street
- Central Park
- Bryant Park
Where are the spots to be photographed at Christmas in New-York?
Photo material to be taken :
A tripod for long night exposures. But for reasons of convenience and atmosphere, it is preferable to have a photo case that raises the sensitivity.
The telephoto lens can also be used in New York to take street perspectives in pictures.
Rockefeller Christmas Tree
This gigantic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is an iconic location in New York City. With its 17 meters high, it attracts the eye and is therefore very touristy. It is also necessary, to pay attention to the movement of crowd!
By the way, I advise you to go there in the morning before sunrise. You will find magical illuminations and there is nobody there at that time.
To attend the illumination of the Rockefeller fir tree, the cerenomy takes place at the beginning of December 2020. It will remain illuminated until the first week of January.
For New-York with the ball drop, here’s what I thought.
You have to go there in the morning to make sure you have a good place and stay standing without moving all day long even if it rains or snows. It’s not possible to go out, to relieve oneself, nor to eat (except if we brought something with us). Doc bag forbidden, tripod obviously forbidden.
So it can be a very trying ordeal to witness this mythical New Year’s Eve on Times Square.
– Animation during the evening : various concerts of stars that we do not see and who often do playback.
I’ve done it but I certainly won’t do it again.
Saks Fifth Avenue
There is the Light show every night after sunset. Afterwards, the facade is illuminated with plays of light.
Moreover, it is not easy to take a picture of the avenue. Because in front, there is the crowd and this requires the use of a wide angle. On the other hand, there are interesting angles from afar, with the perspectives of the streets.
The Rockefeller Center esplanade is not the only place covered with its Christmas decorations. You also have on 6th Avenue, at 49th Street, the giant red Christmas baubles. The crowd is amazed by these real balls.
Dyker Heights in Brooklyn
It’s a whole neighborhood with the houses hyper decorated (too much sometimes) but very impressive to see.
It is difficult to access from Manhattan. It is necessary to take the subway with a change during 1 hour, then walk about 30 minutes (or take the bus too but it does not change much).
There are also quite a few tourists who come to look at these houses, despite the aspect off the beaten track.
If you have the opportunity it is worth the trip and the detour !
Oculus in Downtown Manhattan
The Grand Hall is a whale skeleton shaped shopping mall and is decorated and decorated with light shows.
Photo shooting : It’s at the entrance of the Oculus, in a wide angle. We can see the light shows at the bottom of the picture.
Here, the weather gets worse and gives way to a fine rain. People don’t let themselves be discouraged and, on the contrary, continue to do their last shopping before Christmas. We see the Wall Street illuminated and a huge Christmas tree.
Some illuminations decorate the entrance of the Grand Central.
Photo shooting : Perspective from Park Avenue especially at the 59th St with the Met Bulding illuminated at night.
Central Park of New York at Christmas
During the holiday season, Central Park installs a skating rink. We can see the Skyline behind, subtly hidden by the grey clouds.
If it snows, obviously the place is magical, but I was not so lucky.
You will find the free ice rink and its Christmas market in the center of Midtown. The market is called The Bank of America Winter Village and runs from late October to early January. It is not an attraction, but if you want to take a break between skates, you can go to the market to discover local specialties. In addition, you will find souvenirs, gifts to offer and some unusual trinkets.