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6 Stunning Outdoor Video Shoot Locations in New York
There is no shortage of eye-catching outdoor video locations in New York for capturing your exterior shots, from parks and gardens to markets and squares. Whether day or night shots, establishing or action shots, the following 6 stunning outdoor locations can give videographers and camera crews just the urban backdrop they need for nearly any shot they can imagine when shooting video outdoors in New York.
1. Times Square
Between West 47th and 42nd Streets and 7th Avenue and Broadway is the prime theater district in New York, not to mention the whole country and arguably the world.
Visitors, and videographers, to the fabled urban enclave of the performing arts, find bright flashing lights and video imagery multiple stories high and tall on all sides, the sidewalks spilling with restaurants and souvenir shops, and the streets thronged with people, like being inside a wild arcade game.
Today called, alternately, the “The Great White Way,” “The Crossroads of the World,” and “The Center of the Universe,” Times Square wasn’t always the home of the neon lights of Broadway. In the mid-1900s, these streets used to be crime-riddled, a mafioso hotbed. Instead of theater, gambling and corruption took place behind those facades.
From Tom Cruise’s Vanilla Sky to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve to ABC’s Good Morning America, a myriad of films, videos, photoshoots, TV shows, holiday celebrations, and other special events have taken place and been recorded for posterity in New York’s Times Square.
Notable spots to shoot video in Times Square include directly outside, within, or atop One Times Square, the famous Times Building, home to The New York Times
2. Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
The main feature of Bethesda Fountain and Terrace is, as the name suggests, the angelic sculpture rising above the fountain, known as the “Angel of the Waters.” It has appeared in more films than any other Central Park monument, including One Fine Day, the film version of Godspell and Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway as well as countless TV shows including the miniseries based on Tony Kushner’s Broadway hit, Angels in America and an episode of Sex in the City.
The exquisite sculpture and fountain peering out over Bethesda Terrace by The Lake is not, however, the only visual attraction to draw the camera’s eye.
Located in the dead center of the park, the bi-level Terrace features two majestic staircases divided by an ornate bridge and tunnel connected to The Mall with the Elkan Naumburg bandshell. The architecture of this spot that includes an overlook perfect for capturing shots of The Lake features carved New Brunswick sandstone, with its unique mustard-olive color, granite landings and stairs, and Roman brick-paved edging in a herringbone pattern.
You can even shoot romantic cafe scenes overlooking it all (or simply feed cast and crew) at nearby Central Park Boathouse Cafe.
3. Chelsea Market
Located on Manhattan’s West Side, sandwiched between the Garment District and Hell’s Kitchen on one side and the Meatpacking District and Greenwich Village on the other, Chelsea is a bustling spot to record busy, even chaotic footage of fast-paced daily life.
It includes warehouses, apartments, tenements, and, of course, shops galore. Art galleries, fashion boutiques, delis, and ethnic restaurants can all be found throughout Chelsea’s sidewalks and streets, as well as within the decorous walls of Chelsea Market.
With a plethora of gourmet boutiques featuring every kind of delicacy and drink, Chelsea Market is a food lover’s paradise.
Chelsea Market also sits squarely among several other prime outdoor video shoot locations New York has to offer, like the famed Chelsea Piers, Hotel Chelsea, and Empire Diner.
Chelsea Market was a featured location in the film Person of Interest and Season 3 of the TV series Succession.
4. 91st Street Garden
A prime pocket of greenery and sunshine tucked within larger Riverside Park, the 91st Street Garden is a protected patch of well-tended earth cultivated by an organized group of volunteers known as The Garden People and secured within a wraparound wrought-iron gate.
Situated between 91st and 92nd Streets, with its entrance at 91st and Riverside Drive, the park contains, at its height in summer, a kaleidoscope of colors emanating from flowers of seemingly endless shapes and varieties.
For intimate, romantic scenes, or, to the contrary, more hellish scenes set ironically against the heavenly backdrop, this spot is one of New York’s finest outdoor video shoot locations. It provides a multitude of options for camera crews looking to apply their creativity in producing stunning video productions.
If the park looks familiar to any film buffs on the crew, it’s most likely from the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan hit, You’ve Got Mail.
The best time to shoot video at the 91st Street Garden is from early Spring through late Fall, unless, of course, floral and foliage abundance isn’t the garden motif you’re looking for.
5. The Crown Bar
If your video shoot includes a rooftop bar, you need to look no further than The Crown, set atop the Hotel 50 Bowery and featuring dual panoramic views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines from 21 floors up.
No stranger to signature drinks and craft beers, the bartenders in your shoot can serve up the guests any libations and pub fare you choose. And if it’s a catered event or another special event you’re shooting, there is nary a bar in New York that will give your shots more decadence.
The Crown is also one of the most ideal outdoor video shoot locations New York has for shooting fireworks displays taking place over the river.
Being located above a hotel also gives videographers and camera crews a second set of potential shooting sites conveniently just a few feet away. Outside the building’s doors, you also have the streets and buildings of Chinatown and New York’s Lower East Side right there to feed your camera further.
6. The Brooklyn Bridge
One of the country’s oldest suspension bridges, and the first constructed of steel wire, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883, spans the East River linking Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Spanning nearly 1,600 feet, the bridge gives videographers an array of stunning angles to shoot, whether wide-angle establishing shots or intimate close-ups. The bridge features towers made of granite, limestone, and Rosendale cement.
Dozens of films and TV shows have shot footage on or from the Brooklyn Bridge, including:
- On the Town
- The French Connection
Best Outdoor Video Shoot Locations in New York: A Recap
These are just a sampling of the bountiful outdoor locations to shoot video in New York and capture its diversity of essences, including those your imagination invents.
In every season, every weather, the six sites above will give any videographer a head start on capturing the exquisite outdoor beauty of New York.