As part of a much-needed vacation last month, I took a trip to New York, where I spent some quality time with old friends and got a chance to explore parts of the city that I haven’t seen before.
After spending Labor Day weekend in Penfield, a cozy, albeit sleepy upstate town, Manhattan seemed as vibrant as ever. I happily explored the lively Greenwich Village, took an extended stroll through Central Park and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge at night. I had potato dumplings (“vareniki”) and smoked fish at a Russian restaurant just off the boardwalk on Brighton Beach (where I also tasted Baltika beer for the first time); sushi at a joint on the Upper West Side and a falafel/hummus/pickle platter at 12 Chairs – a great Israeli-Eastern-European fusion restaurant in West Village. I visited Strand Bookstore, which had the largest collection of art and photography books I have ever seen. I also stopped by the gigantic Barnes and Noble on Union Square, where I picked up David Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish and ended up reading the whole thing in its entirety, right there in the store. Quite an inspirational little book, I must say.
I hung out at Washington Square Park at NYU and had tea and pecan pie at a cute little nearby cafe. My friend took me to a party at a swanky rooftop patio bar in Manhattan, where I was sorry that I didn’t bring a wider lens for my camera – the view of New York City’s skyline from the roof was incredible! A couple of days before, another one of my pals gave me an impromptu personal tour of the downtown business district, South Street Seaport and a quiet look at Ground Zero. All of this, in addition to visiting my good friends and their family in Rochester, made for a wonderful and fun little trip.
I actually didn’t end up taking a lot of photos, since I have been to New York several times before and wanted to focus more on experiencing and enjoying the city this time, rather than being just another shutter-snapping tourist (although, I can never completely escape that part of myself :-)) I was able to borrow my friend’s Sigma 10-20mm lens and take some shots with it, since I’m in the market for an ultra-wide angle lens myself and wanted to see how the Sigma performed on my 40D. For a third-party lens, I was pleasantly surprised – it did quite well, at least considering that the circumstances were far from ideal: it was nighttime, and I shot city scenes at low shutter speeds, high ISO and without a tripod.