The gentleman I credit as my blogfather, Trey Ratcliff, recently created a wonderful new app for the iPad called “Stuck on Earth.” It is officially described as “A new kind of travel app that brings you the best places in the world to visit, photograph, and experience. It’s the ultimate app for explorers, photographers, and daydreamers.” In other words, it allows you to find images from almost any location in the world using an interactive map. It also has curated lists of 50 great images and photos in certain locations, or by subject, such as the Top 50 Beaches or Airports, etc.
Trey and his team put out the word asking for more curated lists, generated by anybody with the time and interest. There are more details here, here, and here, but the basic idea it to come up with an idea, and then gather 50 suitable images from Flickr that are both available under a Creative Commons license, and geotagged to show the location where they were taken, so they will show up on the map within the app. Being from New York City, I noticed that it quickly had 2 lists, one of the Top 50 Secret Spots in NYC, curated by commercial photographer Daniel Krieger, and featuring his images, and another of the Top 50 Must See Spots in NYC, curated by Topher Martini, who appears to be part of the official Stuck on Earth team.
Now those list are completely fine, as far as they go. But as a Queens resident, I noticed an overwhelming bias to Manhattan and Brooklyn in both of them. The lists can change over time, but as of the date of my posting this the Secret Spots list had one (1) location in Queens (Citi Field), and zero (0) in the Bronx and zero (0) in Staten Island, while the 50 Must-See spots has one (1) in the Bronx (Yankee Stadium), one (1) in Queens (Citi Field), and two (2) in Staten Island (Fort Wadsworth and Willowbrook Park).
So I thought a top-50 list for the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island would be warranted, but when I made that suggestion, Topher Martini politely shot me down, and suggested I could offer a few locations for the existing lists. Now I have nothing but respect for Trey and his team, and I totally get both why the NYC lists had to focus on Manhattan and Brooklyn, and I alo get why they want to limit each city to two lists. Still, these “other” 3 boroughs, three entire counties really, can support their own list. New York City comprises five counties and 8-10 million people, depending on who is counting. I understand the need to focus on Manhattan, and I realize that Brooklyn is now the kingdom of hipsters, but there are many great locations in the remaining three boroughs. You cannot do them justice with a token few, especially since the Krieger list is apparently limited to his photos, so that leaves those 3 boroughs fighting for a share of 50 spots in Topher’s list instead of the full 100.
So, with a very respectful tip of the cap to Trey and the entire Stuck on Earth team (again, the link for the Stuck on Earth app is above and please visit Trey’s site Stuck in Customs to see the photography that inspired me to start doing what I do), I hereby present my list of 51 great photo spots and locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Why 51? Well, I just want to differentiate my list from those on Trey’s app. It’s not as if he invested ths idea of great photo spot lists but I also do not want to copy his specific details. So, a slightly different name and 51 instead of 50.
In order to ease the loading of each page, I am dividing my list into three pages, one each for the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Clicking on any image below will take you to the Flickr page for that image, which also has a map showing where the image was taken. As noted, every image is available under a Creative Commons license that allows me to post them here with links and attribution. If that changes, any photographer featured here need only contact me and I will remove the image.
Some of these images are truly self-explanatory, but for a few I have added supplemental information about the location or subject. Finally, in the spirit of the rules for curating these lists on Trey’s app, I have not used any of my own images, but I do add an unnumbered bonus location for each borough with my own photograph.
Fort Schuyler is one of three mid-19th century forts (the others are Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island and Fort Totten in Queens) spread around the City. If you poke around my site, you will find images I took at both of those, but I’ve never been to Fort Schuyler (so far).
Wave Hill is a 28 acre estate, with a cultural center and gardens open to the public, overlooking the Hudson River.
The Grand Concourse Boulevard was once known as the “Park Avenue of the Bronx.” Over time, it fell in stature and glamor, but remnants of its glory days remain.
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is located on the Grand Concourse.
This building at 1150 Grand Concourse is commonly known as the Fish Building because of the gorgeous mosaic.
The Riverdale section of the Bronx features some beautiful homes and some stunning views to be glimpsed of the mighty Hudson River and the Palisade cliffs across in New Jersey.
The Bronx Botanical Gardens is perhaps the premiere such gardens in the United States.
This library is part of the Bronx Community College. It was designed by Stanford White, when the campus was originally associated with New York University.
Officially known as the State University of new York Maritime College in the Bronx, this institution was founded in 1874 and was the first of its kind in the United States.
The University was founded in 1841 by the ROman Catholic Diocese of New York, soon after placed under the care of the Jesuits, and eventually transferred to a board of lay trustees, yet still considered a university “in the Jesuit tradition.” Notable alumni and faculty include NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, CIA Director WIlliam casey, NY Giants owner Wellington Mara, coaching legend Vince Lombardi, baseball legend Frankie Frisch,m and actor Denzel Washington. The Rose Hill campus in the Bronx is its primary location, and has been in use since the college’s founding in 1841. University church is an official New York City landmark, and contains the original altar from St. Patrick’s cathedral.
This housing development, originally created, run, and owned by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, features a series of whimsical statues jutting out from its buildings.
Located on the campus of the Bronx Community College, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans is the original Hall of Fame display in the United States, dating to 1901. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
City Island sits in Pelham Bay off the coast of the Bronx and features amazing seafood restaurants.
The Bartow-Pell Mansion is Located in Pelham Bay Park. The residence and estate date to 1654; the current mansion was built between 1836 and 1842. It is a National Historic Landmark.
Everybody knows about the Bronx Zoo, but few are aware that it features one of the few waterfalls in the New York City area.
The Bronx is linked to Manhattan by a series of small bridges across the East River, each of which has its unique charm and beauty.
Bonus Location With My Image
Ferry Point Park is located near the base of the Whitestone Bridge that links the Bronx with Queens. From this image, you can see part of the Manhattan skyline in the left.