The Best Spot to Photograph Manhattan Skyline – from Queens

By Lucas Compan

I still remember the very first time I've been to this particular place in New York, back in 2006. I was amazed at the incredible views I could experience. It was right after watching the movie The Interpreter (2005),  political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, and Jesper Christensen. Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) is an interpreter working at the United Nations in New York City. 

In the last scene of the film, I could see the United Nations building right across the East River. So I grabbed a map, my camera, took the 7 train, and figured out how to reach that exact spot. I'm sharing this local treasure with you now.

a story made out of curiosity and photography

when we travel to different places, one of the best things we could experience is taking pictures. Thousands of pictures, registering our experiences forever. Right? Well, here is one of my favorite places in New York to relax and to capture incredibly awesome moments: Long Island City waterfront. Learn more about this experience in this story.

Imagine an oasis on the waterfront. Fresh breeze, relaxing atmosphere, breathtaking sunsets, excellent views, surrounded by a peaceful vibe. The best part is that this mini-paradise is just 2 minutes away from Grand Central Station.

That's Long Island City,  just one subway stop from Grand Central Station. It is a sprawling area bounded by the East River on the west and Newtown Creek on the south. From that spot, you have some of the best views of Manhattan. Sunsets are stunning at the LIC Piers, as well as the beautiful ballet of lights that goes from natural sunlight to the silhouette of Manhattan.

Want more? Wouldn't be great to take a break from the tourist marathon and, at the same, time taking incredible photos? Gantry Plaza State Park waterfront is THE place to make it happen.

From Long Island City waterfront – at the Gantry Plaza State Park – you can photograph Manhattan skyline and awesome sunsets. You can see the Empire State Building, United Nations building, and Chrysler Building – among others.

three icons: the empire state building, the united nations, and the chrysler building

from left to right: empire state building, united nations headquarters, and chrysler building

the new york ferry

You can also have a much more fun option, with the same $2.75 you pay for a subway ride: the new york ferry. on sunny warm days it's perfect. you can even pay using your smartphone. download the app here.

the classic iconic pepsi sign seen from the united nations headquarters, in the east side of manhattan.

pepsi gestalt

Gestalt exercise: you don't even have to see the whole logo to know what this sign is about


The Pepsi-Cola sign on the Long Island City waterfront is saved when Rockrose Group and Pesi-Cola move the sign to a temporary location as the water front is being developed and many large residencIal condo buildings are soon to be built. The sign had stood on the soon to be demolished bottling plant since the 1930s. Many New Yorkers saw the sign as a historical icon and valued relic of our industrial past.

two legendary film directors have shot at this location

steven spielberg in "munich" [2005]

The film Munich took advantage of this view in its final scene, shot in 2005. The pier and the Pepsi-Cola sign to its north are visible in this scene.

Eric Bana in Munich (2005), directed by Steven Spielberg

sidney pollack in "the interpreter" [2005]

The same location was used in The Interpreter, in the final scene where Nicole Kidman's character says goodbye to Sean Penn's character, who is sitting on a fence by Gantry Park. The Pepsi-Cola sign at the former bottling plant is visible in the scene as well. and that is how this particular story you just read has began. i was living in new york city for two months, moving out from são paulo city.

Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman – The Interpreter (2005), directed by Sidney Pollack

How to Get There?

it's a two-minute subway ride: Take the Queens-bound 7 train. One stop after Grand Central Terminal you get off the train at Vernon Blvd / Jackson Ave. You will be at one of the best spots in New York to take pictures, chill out enjoying great views of Manhattan, and also grab a bite and drink in some of the coolest small bars and restaurants in town.


how to experience a photo tour of this amazing spot


how about enjoying a stunning sunset experience while you listen to great stories and take amazing photos?

photo tours in long island city


never stop the exploration


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