New York City's Most Unique Places to Photograph

Jinny Kim

While you can take some stunning photographs at Empire State Building, Times Square, and Central Park, it may be worthwhile to take yourself and your camera somewhere off the beaten path tocapture the images of some of the city’s hidden gems. Here’s our list of the most unique places to photograph in NYC.

Freedom Tunnel

Freedom Tunnel

Named after graffiti artist Chris ‘Freedom’ Pape, the tunnel opened in the 1930s and fell into disuse. It then became the site of a shantytown that housed a homeless community and some graffiti artists. Most notably, Freedom used the tunnel walls to start spray painting, and created some remarkable artwork. For him, the tunnel and his artwork were a way to express himself. With sunbeams perforating the ceiling, the tunnel creates an interesting blend of darkness and natural light.

Freedom Tunnel, New York, NY

Snug Harbor

1. Snug Harbor

Botanical Garden, Building

The Snug Harbor Cultural Center was originally built as a home for retired sailors
© Stefan K / Alamy Stock Photo
Located along the north shore of Staten Island near the ferry, Snug Harbor has a big collection of architecturally-significant and unique 19th-century buildings. Once a home for aged sailors, some of the buildings and grounds are now used by arts organizations. The grounds are beautiful, clean and well-maintained, and it’s a great place to photograph or to be photographed on a special day.

2. The High Line


The High Line park is built on a former elevated railway
© Andrea Zangrilli / Alamy Stock Photo
The High Line is a urban public park built on an elevated freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. No matter the season, you can take a stroll along this rail line and take some vivacious spirit of NYC. Gently-illuminated architectural features after sunset are one of its highlights.

3. City Hall Station

Hiking Trail, Train Station

Roosevelt Island Tram
© Vivienne Gucwa/Flickr
This beautiful subway station was inactive for nearly 69 years. Located beneath City Hall, this station was intended to be a showpiece and featured tall tiled arches, brass fixtures and skylights. The station closed in 1945 but has recently been reopened for visitors.

4. Roosevelt Island Tram

Building, Hiking Trail

Taking the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram is a fun and easy way to get a spectacular view of Manhattan, and all you need to ride is a MetroCard. The tram takes passengers to the Roosevelt Island in a few minutes, and the ride there will provide a breathtaking skyline view of the city.

5. Dead Horse Bay

Natural Feature

Gantry State Park
© Jinny Kim
Like most of New York City, Dead Horse Bay has a long history of transformations. At Dead Horse Bay, remnants of the past, including many, many bottles, are on full display.

6. Gantry State Park

Building, Park, Bridge

Located by the East River, this place may be a lesser-known park, but it offers stunning views of Midtown. This 12-acre riverside park boasts a breathtaking skyline view, including the United Nations and Empire State Buildings.

7. Fort Tryon Park

Museum, Park

As one of the city’s most beautiful yet lesser-known manmade parks, the overwhelming natural beauty might make you forget that you are still in New York City. You can enjoy a good walk at Fort Tryon Park and capture some amazing nature shots.

8. Rooftop on the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum, Park, Shop, Church, Building, Theater, Art Gallery

Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York City.
© Horizon Images/Motion / Alamy Stock Photo
This is one of the coolest places to get a glass of champagne and take some beautiful pictures of the Manhattan skyline and the rooftop itself. If living in this highly populated and congested city has gotten to you, taking in the view from this exciting rooftop will make you fall in love with NYC all over again.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article