Being a Building Gawker in NYC | New York City Photos

NYC Two Building Facades BW by Aspiring Images by Rachel

Being hobbit sized (almost 5’2″) means I spend most of my days looking up at things. My husband is 15″ taller than me. I need a footstool to reach the 2nd shelf in our upper kitchen cabinets. I need a full chair to get to the 3rd shelf or I just make a life decision of whether or not I really need whatever is up there. Most times, I decide I don’t really need it. I have a footrest at work because putting my chair low enough for my feet to be flat on the ground means my keyboard then is almost chest height. My altogether favorite? Sitting in booths at restaurants. My feet don’t touch the ground and I look like a child with my legs just dangling in mid-air.

NYC Three Buiding Facades BW by Aspiring Images by Rachel

So, what does that have to do with anything? Before my first visit to New York City, several people gave me the advice to not look up at all the buildings because it marks you as a tourist and then you’re likely to get mugged. That’s a really hard task for me to achieve. I spend my life looking up and around me and to not look at the buildings was even harder because they are SO COOL. It’s amazing to see when you’re from a small and flat area like mine.

NYC Four Buildings Facades At Angle BW by Aspiring Images by Rachel

I get it, though. Locals really don’t like it because gawking up at the buildings also means you are probably blocking up the traffic on the sidewalk and then they have to get around you, which is super annoying. It’s kind of like in our area where you know the people in front of you are tourists because they are driving slow, everyone is looking towards the ocean (including the driver), and they are weaving like drunks on the road. You risk your side view mirror trying to get around them and curse the car full of tourists the entire time. I bet it’s just like that for NYC locals and the building gawkers blocking up the sidewalk.

NYC Fire Escape BW by Aspiring Images by Rachel

So, what’s a newbie NYC tourist (or even a seasoned one) to do? We jumped onto the hop-on hop-off tourist bus and had a great time being driven around to see everything (more than we ever would on foot), didn’t care if we looked like tourists, and also let an expert guide point out the buildings with historical design/details/stories for me to capture as photographs. It’s a win win situation in my book! I’ll admit, I am a big advocate for taking those hop-on hop-off tourist buses (I even recommended them in my lessons learned from Paris posts). I know these buses aren’t everyone’s cuppa tea but I think they can be fun when you’re overwhelmed by the massive list of things you can do in such a big city.

NYC Historical Bldg Details by Aspiring Images by Rachel

The bus tour let me get my stare-in-awe-with-mouth-wide-open-like-a-fish at buildings on and then shake myself out of my reverie long enough to take some photographs. Anything that had a cool detail or a great profile against the sky wasn’t safe from my camera and I almost had whiplash from trying to capture it all and not miss a thing.

NYC Historical Buildings Details by Aspiring Images by Rachel

You’ve probably noticed by now something very different about these photos compared to my usual photos. Yup, I went with all black and white edits. Mind blowing – right?!? I think this might be the first time I have ever posted all black and white photos but I really felt like that was the better choice here. Sometimes the color can overwhelm the details and that is what my main focus here is, capturing the intricate and small details on the buildings that most people rushing by on the sidewalk completely miss as they avoid looking up (like a tourist) and try to keep the traffic flow moving on the sidewalk.

So here, this is your chance to really pay attention to that area above your heads – and don’t be shy you can grab your I Heart NY shirt outta the closet and rock that bad boy. No one’s judging here. Especially not this shortie whose feet aren’t touching the ground while typing this.

NYC Manhattan Vintage Building Facade BW by Aspiring Images by Rachel

If you’re also interested in seeing the color version of these photos, I uploaded them on my website.

What do you think of the black and white photos? Do you also deal with tourists where you live? Any other shorties out there, like me? Or, if you’re tall, what kind of fun challenges do you encounter?

Love NYC? Click here for my other adventures and photos of this amazing city.

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