Took advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to visit the Big Apple. Only been there twice when I was a kid and don't remember much from either trip. Although I packed my Fuji 35mm lens, it ended up staying in the bag the whole trip. The versatility of the Fuji 18-55mm was needed to get wider cityscape shots. It performed amazingly, with the OIS being VERY handy at night since I didn't have a tripod on this trip. BEST kit lens I've used, by far.
This is what happens when you're bored during your layover in ORD:
First day was jam packed. Kicked it off with a great brunch with a great friend and coworker currently living in the city. Headed down south to see the Statue of Liberty, but lines were way too long. Opted to take the Staten Island Ferry instead to get a more comfortable, relaxed view of both the Statue as well as the Manhattan skyline.
Ground Zero was nearby, and walking around it was a somber experience. It really does seem like yesterday that everything happened, and it's hard to believe that it was 13 years ago. This is when it started pouring, necessitating a spontaneous poncho purchase.
Nighttime led us through Brooklyn's Battery Park, full of people playing volleyball, soccer, basketball, and handball. Wish Austin stayed up this late being active in one public park. Would be a dream come true (especially if it included tennis courts). The night time stroll across Brooklyn Bridge gave way to a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline. This was when the OIS of the 18-55mm became invaluable. Being able to take a lot of these semi-long exposure shots handheld at night was miraculous.
If you want a view of the city from up high, go for the Top of the Rock observatory (at Rockefeller Center) instead of the Empire State Building. It's quicker, less crowded, and you get to take photos with the Empire State Building itself as part of the skyline. Pro Tip: There are three deck levels, just go to the very top right away as the best views are there, unobstructed by glass.
The mecca of Apple fans everywhere, the iconic Apple Store on 5th Avenue, really lends way to some pretty cool photo ops. There was a guy already waiting in front of the store for the iPhone 6 the day we were there (9/1). That's insane.
Other destinations included Central Park, Upright Citizens Brigade, Times Square, New York Public Library, High Line Park, and Grand Central Station (one of my favorites).
One last thing, we got to be a part of Monday's taping of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon! It required waiting in line at 5:30am-9:00am for standby tickets. We were tickets #26 and #27, and when we came back right before the taping, they let tickets #1-#27 into the show. Talk about lucky! Guests were Adam Levine, Maroon 5, and Meredith Vieira. If you ever get a chance to go, don't miss the opportunity!