Lens-Artists Challenge #78 – Special Spot Shots

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

Tom Wolfe



This week Ann-Christine’s challenge gives me an opportunity to highlight some of the many special spots we visited during last week’s holiday visit to NYC. I’ve opened with an image that feels as if it might have been made a hundred years ago or yesterday.  As I captured the scene, it reminded me a bit of Paris.  Interestingly the building on the left houses a wonderful French market, bar and restaurant – Le District. I’ve included a colorful capture of its interior below.

French Market, Le District, NYC


“Every true New Yorker believes with all his heart that when a New Yorker is tired of New York, he is tired of life.”

Robert Moses

Le District’s food is authentic French, down to the perfect sandwichs au jambon (ham sandwiches) which took me right back to my days as a student in France. Back then we’d lunch almost daily on crusty French loaves smeared with butter and filled with fresh, thick ham and sometimes delicious brie cheese. Le District makes them exactly the same way, and if you’ve a mind to, their pomme frites (french fries) bar offers 20+ varieties. As a true melting pot, one of the beauties of NYC is its ability to deliver most any cuisine, done perfectly, around virtually any corner.

Lower Manhattan, NYC, Calatrava Oculus


“New York City, it is a place apart. There is not its match in any other country in the world.”

Pearl S. Buck

Like most NYC holiday visitors, we’ve spent time in midtown Manhattan visiting the magical Rockefeller Center area and the incredible holiday store windows. This time however, we stayed with our family and took in some of lower Manhattan’s special sights. The image above struck me as quintessential NYC – skyscrapers next to crazy wall art, across from the winged, white Oculus and of course the ever-present crowds awaiting a change of the light.



“New York is the biggest collection of villages in the world.”

Alistair Cook

In the image above I’ve captured a small piece of the interior of the Oculus, a spot made special by its innovative architecture. Once inside one instantly understands the architect’s vision, which he has fulfilled masterfully. The building is filled with light, even two stories underground. Directly overhead there is an end-to-end row of windows showcasing the nearby towering skyscrapers. It is truly a special must-see for anyone visiting New York.

9/11 Memorial, rose


“A son for a flag is a lot of sacrifice.”

Tucker Elliott

Speaking of special places, the area also houses the 9/11 Memorial and its Museum. The ground has been beautifully preserved and is revered by all who visit. There are two massive, square granite waterfall pools located on the twin towers’ footprints, each covering over an acre of space. The names of each of the 2,983 victims are engraved in bronze around the pools. 400 white oaks surround the ponds (shown in today’s header image), as well as a “Survivor” pear tree found severely damaged at Ground Zero and nursed back to health. The memorial and its incredibly moving museum are imperative special spots for NYC visitors.

NJ from NYC, Hudson River


“New York…the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place that you could ever live”

Nora Ephron

Having grown up across the river in New Jersey, NYC was always a magical place to me. When I was younger I found it immensely exciting, a bit frightening, and happily only a stone’s throw from my more normal life in the Jersey suburbs. In the image above the man at the fence is looking across the Hudson River toward New Jersey – so close by but worlds apart.

Reflecting metal snow sculpture


New York. The world’s most dramatic city. Like a permanent short circuit, sputtering and sparking up into the sky all night long.”

Cornell Woolrich

I’ll close (at last) with my image of an iconic snowman in the holiday-adorned Oculus. Most everyone walking by took photos of their loved ones in front of this special spot, including yours truly. I thought it took a hint from Chicago’s beloved bean, and did so admirably. I’m anxious to see if it remains, perhaps sans cap and scarf, at holiday’s end.

Thanks as always to our many followers for their thoughtful responses.  Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I look forward to virtually visiting your Special Spots. Remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Here’s to 2020, may it be filled with peace and moments of joy for us all. 











113 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #78 – Special Spot Shots

  1. Just a beautiful post Tina of a place so special in my heart….just fabulous shots…u truly have captured her mystery!!

  2. Wow, Tina, I really, really definitely want to go there. My goal is still in 2023. Oh dear that is still so far away. Your shots are so inviting.


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  4. My sister Ginny and her daughter went NYC twice. They said talk about food, from street vendors to sit-down places. I think they ate at a deli, splitting a huge corned beef sandwich. About a ham sandwich, one of the best is fry a piece of ham steak, mayo or mustard, lettuce and tomato, on a toasted whole grain bread. 🙂

  5. I also grew up in the New Jersey suburbs across the river from NYC. I could see the NYC skyline from a hill near my house! Your photos are beautiful and bring back (somewhat faded!) memories of trips we took when I was young. It was always a big deal – getting dressed up in an itchy wool skirt comes to mind – to go “into the city” – and the restaurants were fantastic even back then. As always, I also enjoy your quotes 🙂

  6. Tina, wow … New York. I didn’t expect that from you. You are the nature lady for me. Wonderful post about a very exciting city… I don’t love it, but I always have a great time when visit. The image from the memorial is so beautiful, I have one with a white rose. My favourite is “from the other side”. Haven’t been in New York in December since 1976 and I still on the memories of the lights, Rockefeller Centre and the Santa in every corner. That transportation hub, one amazing building. Last time I was in NYC 2013 nothing of the was finished. I’m not wrong I think it’s the Swedish construction company SKANSKA that built it .. together with everything underneath .. and also the World Trade Centre. I remember when they were advertising for workers to bring over. Fantastic result.

    • LOL, thanks Viveka. I am indeed much more a nature photographer but love to travel and shoot whatever presents itself! I was enchanted by the Oculus and love the serenity of the 9/11 memorial so it was a fun photography day for me. Always nice to step out of our comfort zone, right?! And BTW, you’re right, SANSKA was the primary construction company – who knew?!


      • When I visit the 9/11 memorial it was all building site. But behind the blue cover around the area – I found such a peace with myself and the world. I did a post about it. “some amazing people I just met” – https://wp.me/p293Pw-7gf. There behind the blue plastic fence there the world was totally different. Yes, SKANSKA – it was a big thing when they got the contract … and I was over their name was on every crane. The Oculus I want to see … and also the 9/11 museum wasn’t ready. So maybe another trip to NYC for me. I wanted for many years to do a transatlantic cruise with Cunard from Southampton to New York in December. Maybe I should book that cabin. *smile

  7. Beautiful images of New York, Tina! After my visit last spring, I can easily see how NY can be your favorite spot. I was so impressed with it, especially with Calatrava’s masterpiece, the memorial, and others. I wish I knew the city better. I, for example, had no idea about the French market. Wish I knew :). Beautiful beginning of 2020!

    • Thanks Svetlana, I do love New York! Every neighborhood has its own personality and there is so much to see and do. It’s an amazing place really. As for the French Market, you’ll just have to come back!


      • yes as far as the talent, and ‘ham is prohibited in our religion…wonderful that you studied in France …being a student of history France was part of the Masters course, later while writing about knitting, I found scary stories of French tricoters during the Revolution, interesting , thought provoking post Tina.

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  9. T. You can add me to your list of folks who haven’t been to NYC for a while. Your images are stunning. Who could have done it better than Calatrava. His signature wing style shoring towards the heavens from a place that endured such sadness.

  10. three cheers for New York – it is dramatic city and love the quote with “sputtering and sparking up into the sky all night long.”
    the first photo really is timeless and then going from that to a few colorful images made a nice effect here – along with feelings of space and culture.

  11. NYC…well captured Tina. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, makes me want to go back for a visit. Really like the first shot looking down the tree lines and the flower shot is perfect.

  12. All my life I’ve resisted visiting New York City. Recently my mind has been changed and it’s now on my list. Thank you for giving me some views that solidify my change of heart. My favorite? Of course, it’s the black-and-white. 🙂

  13. Stunning images, Tina, of a very special spot! I appreciate your skills even more because I know I will never see this place in person. Love your opener and the totally fantastic Oculus!

  14. You have captured so beautifully my favorite city in the US. It is such a blend of old and every neighborhood having its own unique flavor and appeal. Now I have several new things to see there when we return!

  15. Much nicer if you can stay with someone and a lot cheaper!! It seems so odd to see photo from NYC on your site, even though they’re fine shots. I’m just so used to mostly nature from you. So much to see there but a bit overwhelming to me. As for their Bean…well, nice thought, but no. 😂. Happy 2020.


  16. Fantastic! We will be visiting New York very briefly on our way to Iceland to meet up with with Gary Hart and Don Smith later this month. We will be checking out the new Hudson Yards center on the lower West side. So here’s another quote: A day in New York City is worth a week anywhere else. I said that.

  17. I must get to New York one day. It has always been one of those cities that have to be seen in person to appreciate. Le District and the Oculus are fabulous and your photos are marvellous Tina. I’m not a person for memorials and especially crowds, so I prefer those quieter spots you discovered. One day.

  18. What a wonderful post of an amazing city that I hope to visit one day too! Absolutely love that shot of lower Manhattan and its wall art against the gigantic glimmering skyscrapers in the back!! Happy New Year, Tina! 😄

  19. The photo of CALATRAVA AT CHRISTMAS was incredible! Never even knew it exists! Pretty sad considering I’m a New Yorker!

  20. A great city, it’s especially beautiful during the holiday season. I miss it.
    I love your captures of the Oculus. These are special spot shots, Tina!

  21. Great post and fantastic collection of amazing photos! New York city is such a beautiful place to explore and photograph and I guess you can easily spend days there without getting bored. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    • Thanks Karina – NYC can definitely be overwhelming at times. They do tend to “go big” there! But honestly, lower Manhattan is much more approachable than midtown IMHO

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