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© Rachael Elana Photography
© Rachael Elana Photography
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10 Perfect Backgrounds For Unique Photographs In Dowtown Manhattan

Picture of Rachael Silverstein
Updated: 17 December 2016
New York City’s Lower Manhattan area has some of the most character on this exuberant island that many call home, thanks to its rich cultural and ethnic diversity and history. Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs have evolved significantly over recent decades, but playful street art, lesser-known gardens, and historical landmarks provide a wonderful mix of old and new places to visit, picnic, and most importantly, to photograph.
Wagner Park | © Rachael Elana Photography
Wagner Park | © Rachael Elana Photography

Wagner Park

Museum, Park
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Washington Mews
Washington Mews | © Rachael Elana Photography

Wagner Park

Wagner Park is located nearby Battery Park but the serene, elegant gardens and walkways, accompanied by stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor, feel like many miles away. Wagner Park is located between two restaurants: Pier A Harbor House and Gigino (which offers outdoor seating in warm weather). The park is also home to the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Wagner Park, 20 Battery Place, New York, NY, USA +1 212 267 9700

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Washington Mews | © Rachael Elana Photography
Washington Mews | © Rachael Elana Photography

Washington Mews

Home to New York University’s Deutsches Haus, La Maison Française, China House, and other academic departments, Washington Mews is a private, gated street located one block north of Washington Square Park. Originally horse stables, then having served as artist studios in the early 20th century, NYU purchased Washington Mews in 1950. The cobblestone streets, ivy covered walls, and large windows are reminiscent of the French countryside and serve as an enchanting visual oasis.

Washington Mews, Between 5th Avenue and University Place, New York, NY, USA

Lower East Side | © Rachael Elana Photography
Lower East Side | © Rachael Elana Photography

Lower East Side

Look beyond the eclectic restaurants and new luxury condo buildings and uncover the remnants of the original Lower East Side, which tells the stories of immigrants who passed through this (formerly) most densely-populated place on Earth. The surplus of synagogues, churches, cultural centers, and ethnic food shops serve as a reminder of the diverse groups of people who moved here after passing through Ellis Island and the dedication they had to preserving their unique cultures while adapting to their new home in New York.

Lower East Side, From Canal Street to Houston Street between Bowery and the East River, New York, NY, USA

Washington Square North | © Rachael Elana Photography
Washington Square North | © Rachael Elana Photography

Washington Square North

Tree-lined streets and beautifully manicured gardens accompany elegant brownstones outside Washington Square Park. Pose on a stoop à la Carrie Bradshaw for a picture.

Washington Square North, Between 5th Avenue and University Place, New York, NY, USA

LES Little Italy | © Rachael Elana Photography
LES Little Italy | © Rachael Elana Photography

Street art in Little Italy and on the Lower East Side

Thanks to the L.I.S.A. Project (Little Italy Street Art), there has been a fantastic surge in brightly painted murals and designs around Little Italy. A particularly popular mural is ‘Audrey on Mulberry‘, painted by Tristan Eaton. Find other murals in Little Italy and the Lower East Side while wandering.

Audrey on Mulberry’, 385 Broome Street Suite A, New York, NY, USA

Financial District | © Rachael Elana Photography
Financial District | © Rachael Elana Photography
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Financial District

The skyscrapers, the concrete, the business suits—the Financial District is one of the most iconic visions of New York City the world sees. Yet new buildings, a rebuilt South Street Seaport, and pockets of new areas breathe exciting fresh life and even more unique views. Brookfield Place offers spectacular views of the Hudson River, Jersey City, and the Francophile foodie’s dream, Le District.

Le District, 200 Vesey Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 981 8588

Meatpacking District | © Rachael Elana Photography
Meatpacking District | © Rachael Elana Photography

Meatpacking District

Four decades ago the Meatpacking District was not home to extravagant restaurants and chic boutiques—it was a breeding ground for drug dealing and prostitution, not a popular destination on the engagement photography circuit as it has become. Cobblestone streets and large, unique spaces along with vast street art bring together an eclectic mix of new and old New York.

Meatpacking District, From West 14th Street to Gansevoort Street between the Hudson River and Hudson Street, New York, NY, USA

West Village | © Rachael Elana Photography
West Village | © Rachael Elana Photography

The West Village

The mostly residential neighborhood of the West Village is quintessential romantic comedy Manhattan—tree-lined cobblestone streets, beautiful brownstones and charming cafés and restaurants such as Sweet Revenge monopolize this neighborhood, which extends from West 14th to Houston between the Hudson River and Sixth Avenue.

Sweet Revenge, 62 Carmine Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 242 2240

Bowling Green Park | © Rachael Elana Photography
Bowling Green Park | © Rachael Elana Photography

Bowling Green Park

Bridge, Museum, Park
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Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge | © Rachael Elana Photography

Bowling Green Park

Bowling Green Park is conveniently placed behind the famous bronze bull of Wall Street and in front of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, which was built in 1789 as the oldest federal agency in America. Today, 1 Bowling Green is home to the National Museum of the American Indian. The Beaux Arts architecture, lively garden, and curving walkways make this a lovely spot for picnics and pictures alike.

Bowling Green Park, Whitehall Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 360 8143

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Brooklyn Bridge | © Rachael Elana Photography
Brooklyn Bridge | © Rachael Elana Photography

The Brooklyn Bridge

Bridge, Park
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The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a beloved icon with fabulous views. During the day, especially during warmer months, pedestrians must dodge speeding cyclists and packs of runners. For a truly unique view, wake up early and catch the sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge and photograph the neighboring Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines.

The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY, USA

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