This fourth trimester trip to NYC has its upsides and downsides. On the downside, it's still winter (even if NYC doesn't have a geologic winter) and there's a possibility the winds will be fierce and we'll experience a a blizzard as the city has in recent years. The chances of that are slim, however, and the upsides are no tourists to get in the way, easy travelling, off-season rates, exploration of an area out of its element, and an education and peek into truly out-of-the-box art that relatively few people get to see and experience.
For this trip, we're going to Coney island in the off season, and getting a private tour, led by Sascha Mombartz, of art displays that are difficult to explain. Do note that two of the art installations we'll see do not allow photography. If you sign up for this meetup, you'll be guided and chaperoned while in NYC from noon until 7PM.
How Will We Get There and Back?
Greyhound runs several buses (under names like Greyhound, Peter Pan, and Mega) from Boston to NYC (less than $50 round trip). Trains run from Exeter to Boston and Boston to NYC, but while this is a luxurious way to travel, it is considerably more expensive than a bus. Alternatively, announce your desire to carpool (drive or passenger) in the notes below or directly to other participants, or drive down directly.
What Will We Do in New York?
You are, of course, free to do whatever you like. Hit the Guggenheim and then Museum Mile; find the many waterfalls in Central Park; take a carriage ride; get the Naked Cowboy to sign your forehead in Times Square; take in a show; hit the top of the Empire State, the Top of the Rock, or the Top of the Tower; take in the views and hobnob with the Hoi Polloi at 230 5th's rooftop garden; find Grant's Tomb; buy a diamond necklace at Van Cleef & Arpels; enjoy a Circle Line or yacht charter around Manhattan; hit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty; meander through and figure out what SoHo, DUMBO, and TriBeCa stand for; or whatever you like.
No, sorry, you cannot visit the photo meccas of B&H Photo or Adorama, they are closed Saturdays for the Sabbath.
Or, you can tag along with me to Coney Island in the off season, then be guided from one art installation ("exhibit" really isn't the proper term for what we'll see) to another by our very own expert, Sascha Mombartz.
In case of inclement weather, I plan on hitting indoor facilities such as the Museum of Natural History and New York Public Library, some of which charge an entrance fee.
If the weather holds, I will probably head to either side of the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge for sunrise shots of the bridge, piers, and Manhattan skyline. The sunrise shots will take place Sunday morning. Anyone who wants to join me is free to do so. Just let me know and I'll make sure you have my cell phone number and the destination point.
How Many Arms and Legs will this Cost Me?
Very few, actually. if you choose to take the bus, a round trip is under $50. Carpooling means sharing gas, tolls, and parking with your ride-sharers. Subway fare is $2.75 per trip, and you can expect 2-4 trips. Food is actually cheaper in NYC than in Portsmouth, NH because of all the competition. Just ask Roger and his carpool entourage ($5 dinners!)
You are responsible for obtaining your bus tickets on your own, or for getting to NYC if you're not taking the bus.
You'll also be asked to provide a mobile phone number so I can keep track of you if you wander off or Tony Soprano didn't like the look you gave him.
If you're a native or seasoned cosmopolitan regular, you're welcome to tag along without signing up here - just find us and join in. But you're also responsible for yourself and keeping tabs on last-minute changes announced to participants.
To make it easier on yourself, consider an overnight trip. Hotel rooms in NYC can be had for around $100-$150 (less than a Portsmouth B&B). For fun, consider the Pod 39 Hotel on 39th St (across town from the High Line), and invite us up to your rooftop deck! Or Pod 59 Hotel closer to Central Park's southern end.
What Should I bring?
Bring light layers of clothing, including a windproof and/or waterproof outer layer, especially if the weather is iffy. It's about 10 degrees warmer in NYC than this area typically, and you always remove layers, but keeping comfortable if the temps drop or it drizzles means haggling with street vendors over sweatshirts and rain gear - err on the side of caution.
Wear very comfortable walking shoes - you'll be amazed at the miles you will walk without noticing it. For reference, 20 blocks equals about a mile.
Bring cash for purchases, noshing, entrance fees, and souvenirs, though there are plenty of cash machines throughout the city. If you're planning on hitting a museum, visit your local library to see if they have free or discounted passes.
Bring your camera (duh!), plenty of battery power and memory cards, and the lightest kit you can muster. One of the new Leica, Sony, Fuji, or Canon/Nikon digital rangefinder cameras is a wonderful tool for this trip. For SLRs, a good 18-200mm or fast 35/50mm lens is an excellent walk-around lens, and a sharp wide angle zoom will be your Big Apple friend.
Be sure to have your phone so we have a way of communicating. If you have a smart phone, you may wish to grab one of the excellent subway or tourist apps available through your app store, and perhaps even a toilet finder app.
Why, Why, Tell Me Why!
This is a rare chance to visit New York as a group for a very low cost. Seriously, this is cheaper than taking the extended family to the movies. New York City is so full of photographic opportunities that you could do this trip every day of the year and never hit the same photogenic place twice.
New York is not what is was when I grew up there as a kid - it's safe, friendly, clean, and full of free stuff to cover every photographer's desire. It would be very difficult to be disappointed as a photographer with a trip to New York.
If you have a question about what to see or do, where to eat, who has the best cappuccino or Hungarian Goulash, or whether it's a good idea to travel to Fire Island and see all of Central Park in one trip, ask me or one of the other jerks originally from New York, we'll gladly tell you how it is ;)