Even though I still have a lot to learn about this city, at least I’m much better at understanding the subway system. I’m a big fan of cities in which you can easily get around without a car. Never having to worry about parking is awesome. And wandering aimlessly is what I do best…
Another aspect, related to photography, is that when you rely on public transit and walking to get to each location, you experience sights and moments which you might have missed if driving. All it takes is a single random encounter, or a random scene from a particular angle, and one lucky press of the shutter button, and you go home with a memory of a lifetime.
I wonder how much of getting good photos is in your head, and how much of it depends on your subject or location. Yesterday I rarely hit the shutter and didn’t get much more than snapshots. I was also doped up on allergy meds, and had extremely sore legs due to what I concluded was a random occurrence of age (50 next month). Today, however, I felt better physically and mentally, and I seemed to ‘see’ more shots. Or… was it because I went to areas which actually contained more interesting sights? I’m still not sure exactly sure how the process works, but I had more fun, and I hopefully got more keepers.
The previous night, while scouring the internets for local photo opportunities, I discovered the West Side Yard and the adjacent High Line Park. I decided to start the day there. After the diner breakfast buffet (again), and a trip to Grand Central Station (again), I was on my way to the new Hudson Yards subway station.
The West Side Yard is a rail yard used to store and maintain commuter trains. It is currently being ‘covered’ by a new development of buildings (Hudson Yards Project) meant for offices, retail, and residential space. After seeing pictures of the yard online I knew I had to get over there and get some shots.
I spent half an hour standing on a section of The Highline which overlooks the rail yard, repeatedly trying to poke my camera lens into the wire fence in such a manner that the wire didn’t show in the photos. The best angle seemed to come from holding the camera over my head and against the fence, pointing downward, and using the flippy screen for framing.
Just as the cold wind blowing off the river had almost convinced me to move on to the next location, a maintenance worker appeared and began working on the train which was centered in my field of view. Having already taken some static ‘geometric’ shots, this guy seemed like a good way to bring the shot to life. I shifted slightly to the right and got a few shots of him in different phases of his chore, buried in a sea of train cars.
The High Line is a 1.4 mile ‘linear’ park built on an unused section of elevated railway 25 feet above the streets. The current northern starting point is at West Side Yard, which is where I entered the walkway. It weaves between buildings in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea. The High Line provides a relaxing way to stroll through the city without having to deal with automobile traffic. There are also plenty of places to sit and relax for times when you aren’t in a hurry to be anywhere. It’s an excellent way to re-purpose an abandoned train line.
The architecture along the park mixes old-school (brick factories and row houses) with modern (steel and glass towers).
Another benefit of being in this section of town… it’s only a few blocks from the B&H Photo superstore. I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to play with some expensive toys in the store from which I have ordered a majority of my gear over the past couple of decades.
The full gallery for this trip can be viewed here.