Street photography is one of the most thrilling types of photography.
It’s about capturing people in candid moments. It’s about looking at life through other people’s eyes and finding beauty where others don’t. And New York City is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, over 6,000 restaurants, and many of America’s buildings — which means an infinite number of street photography opportunities for you!
Street Photography Must Visit Spots In New York City
Below are our favorite places to find great street photography spots in NYC.
Grand Central Terminal
The architecture of Grand Central Terminal speaks for itself. The Beaux Arts style main room is a sight to behold, but one of NYC’s most legendary street photography locations is in the Main Concourse right outside the front doors — the area that’s packed with people at all hours of the day. From breakfast time to night, this NYC landmark is filled with hustle and bustle. Try shooting during the morning rush hour for different photos than you’d get during midday or evening. The busier the place, the more people to play with.
At night, shoot near the windowed booths at the main entrance. In between 4pm and 6pm, during peak hours, there will be plenty of people outside waiting for their trains. You can use the columns at the front entrance as a natural frame.
For even more opportunities, check out this list of NYC’s best street photography locations in other iconic New York City spots.
Penn Station is another iconic NYC spot with heavy foot traffic — people coming and going from their trains, and those grabbing a bite to eat at the busy restaurants or lingering to shop in one of the many stores.
If you can’t get inside to photograph this historic landmark, the front entrance at 33rd and 10th Avenues is a pretty good spot. On busy days, there will be plenty of people waiting for their trains.
Center Field Plaza
Center Field Plaza is one of the most iconic New York City streets in the spring and fall. During the spring, you’ll be able to see cherry blossoms as well as see the Rangers play a home game at the baseball stadium. The summer brings plenty of people to take in the Central Park sunshine, and fall is perfect for photograph all the leaves that fall from the trees (and running after them with kids).
Century Boulevard is one of NYC’s most iconic streets. It runs through Brooklyn and Queens, but our favorite part of it is in Queens. The Queensboro Bridge is a must-see NYC landmark that you’ll see in every NYC photo. There are plenty of great street photography opportunities to be had by shooting along Century Boulevard because it’s one of the most heavily trafficked streets in the city.
The Queensboro Plaza area is also bursting with beautiful architecture and great street photography opportunities. There’s a popular spot where people take photos in front of Chinese Post Office, just across the street from the post office itself. You can also check out the nearby Queens Museum and the view of the Manhattan skyline from the plaza.
The Flatiron Building is one of the most iconic NYC landmarks not only for its shape, but also for its location in Midtown. The neighborhood is buzzing with people and plenty of them will be standing out on street corners waiting to cross the busy intersections. There are also beautiful buildings surrounding it that make great natural frames for your shots.
The outdoor mall on the ground level of the building is a popular spot to people go, including during the winter. During fall you’ll see tourists walking around, and during summer locals and visitors bustle about in and out of the shops.
Grand Central Parkway
Grand Central Parkway is one of NYC’s most iconic highways because it connects Long Island City up to Times Square. The parkway is jam packed with cars coming into Manhattan from Queens all day long. There’s a high likelihood of you catching a shot of someone in the most NYC fashion possible (via their car window) speeding into the city.
You can shoot on any section of the road, but we recommend between 44th and 59th Streets.
Union Square Park
Union Square is not only one of NYC’s most iconic parks because it’s so beautiful, but because it attracts people from all over the world. This NYC park attracts many New Yorkers who love to come and read a book, or sit on a bench with their dog.
In the summer months, the park is overflowing with people. When it’s warm out, you’ll find dog walkers, runners, and families taking in the scenery of the city as they wait for food to be ready at one of the many food trucks that set up at Union Square.
You can also check out the park on a weekday during the fall and winter months. On a week day, there will be fewer people and it’s perfect for candid street photography.
The High Line is another NYC landmark that is loaded with great street photography opportunities. You’ll find people strolling along the park during all seasons, and sometimes they linger to take a photo in front of some of the iconic buildings. You can also go inside the park for some of the best NYC street photos.
Food Court at Columbus Circle
Try taking some candid shots of people eating at the Columbus Circle food court. Not only will you be able to get some great shots of people enjoying their lunch or dinner, but there are also great views of Central Park, which are a must-have in your New York City photos.
Columbus Circle is a busy intersection and is always packed with people walking everywhere. You’ll see people taking photos at the fountain, outside of the shopping mall, and just standing around.
Times Square is one of the most iconic places in New York City. It’s alive with activity and there is a never-ending flow of people walking to and fro. You’ll find tons of street photography opportunities in Times Square because you’re bound to capture something interesting in front of the bright lights, Broadway, and over-the-top advertisements.
You’ll find tourists from around the world who will give you great candid photos while they enjoy a play or experience New York City. The best part about shooting Times Square is that no matter what time of year it is, you’re bound to get some good shots, especially at night.
Brooklyn Bridge Park & DUMBO
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great place to go for a nice walk or to take in the view of NYC. The park is also a great street photography location. You’ll be able to get some great photos of the park, the bridge, and the beautiful architecture in DUMBO.
The best place for candid street photography at DUMBO is by The Foundation Building. It has a nice view of the bridge and it’s only a short walk from The High Line, which makes it even more perfect for street photography.
Other than capturing unique scenes on NYC streets, street photography can be a great way to capture people’s expressions. It’s also a great way to capture the wild side of New York City that most people don’t see or do.
Have you ever seen someone doing something unexpected and thought it would make for a funny shot? Have you wanted to capture the beauty, humanity, or quirks of NYC?
Street photography is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and it’s a great way to figure out what kind of street photographer you want to be.