A unique excitement started to build as I flew into New York City, brought on by the sheer amount amount of people, culture and history that awaited below. Although I’d already visited the city twice before, the thrill was as potent as my first jaunt, as I still hadn't covered half of what NYC had to offer.
This particular visit was the perfect start to an unforgettable three-week trip across the north-eastern corner of North America. I joined two travel buddies, James and Lee, in some budget-friendly accommodation west of Manhattan in New Jersey, and we wasted no time making our way into the city for our first day in 'the Big Apple'.
We started our first day exploring lower west Manhattan, venturing through the cultural and culinary delights of the meat-packing district. My highlight was the unique High Line (pictured), a two-kilometre-long elevated section of railway converted into green space over the last 10 years.
Walking south from the High Line took us to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, a moving tribute to the victims of the 2001 tragedy. The two dark fountains constructed over the foundations of the original building sites displayed the names of all those killed inscribed in polished stone on the parapets.
On our next day in New York we hired bikes to explore the fiery late autumn colours of Central Park. Two wheels is the best and only way to see all of the park in one day – it’s almost four kilometres long! We completed a full circle of the park with plenty of photo stops in just under three hours.
It’s tough to grasp the true size of the city when you’re down amongst the streets. After some research on the best views of Manhattan, we were treated to an unbelievable sunset from Top of the Rock, the observation deck above 30 Rockefeller Center.
The sky rolled through a rich palette of pinks, purples and oranges as the city lights came alive to make one last perfect shot before another day ended. I returned home very satisfied to have picked the only deck in the city where both the Empire State and WTC1 buildings can be seen.
More inspiring travel photography from Andrew Tallon
We made our first photo stop at Grand Central Station the next morning. The station sees thousands of travellers pass through every day, so I tried to capture the feeling of hustle and bustle in the main hall with this two-second-long exposure of the crowd as people move between platforms.
The streets of Times Square were just as busy when we popped up from the subway station after sunset. The square’s enormous advertising boards were so bright, giving the impression of daylight as we approached from the platforms below. After a quick photo, we rested our legs on the platform and people-watched until it was time for dinner.
After a day focused more on eating and drinking (including a delicious reuben sandwich at the world-famous Katz Deli), we set out along the water’s edge on FDR Drive towards Brooklyn Bridge to catch the city lights at twilight. The slowly setting sun silhouetted both Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges on the way, making a perfect frame for the Statue of Liberty standing proudly across the bay.
Another twilight and yet another amazing scene greeted us as we rested tired legs on the centre of Brooklyn Bridge. The view back to lower Manhattan was unbeatable, and I love that I was able to capture both the bridge’s endless traffic and enormous skyscrapers behind in one shot.
There was time for one last shot on our final evening. We didn’t stray far from our accommodation before finding this ideal spot overlooking the entire island of Manhattan. I couldn’t help smiling as I captured this panoramic from the viewpoint, knowing I’d come away from four days in New York City with a fantastic album of memories.