There are many great spots to take photos of the New York City skyline, and one of my favorites is Old Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Old Pier 1 is located across the East River from Lower Manhattan and provides an unobstructed view of the New York City skyline. Even better, the many decaying pier supports in the water provide great visual interest for those looking for a unique photo of the city’s skyline.
This pier is one of six located within Brookly Bridge Park. This 85-acre park is 1.3 miles long and runs from Atlantic Avenue, underneath both the Brooklyn Bridge, and below the Manhattan Bridge before ending at Jay Street.
This means that there are a plethora of opportunities for photos within the park (including the famous nearby shot of the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building along Washington Street). And, of course, for those that are simply visiting to enjoy the views, there are both great views and some fun things to do within the park.
And, while there are great spots throughout the park, Old Pier 1 stands out as probably the best spot for photos.
Old Pier 1 was part of the first section of the park to open in 2010. However, unlike the modern park next door that features grassy areas, walking trails, a playground, and more, Old Pier 1 was left more or less how it has been since the docks and warehouses in the area were closed.
When the surface of the pier was pulled up, hundreds of short stumps jutting a couple of feet out of the East River were left.
These stumps offer a unique focal point for the foreground of photos and create one of the most unique photo spots in NYC.
While the views here are always great, this is a great spot to visit at both sunrise and sunset or when it’s dark and you can enjoy the lights of the city. While you are looking to the west to see the skyline, the exact position of the sun can mean that you can still get good light on the buildings at sunset.
For example, when I visited in November 2019, I got great light on the city’s buildings since the sun wasn’t setting due west.
How to Get to Old Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Old Pier 1 sits directly across the East River from Lower Manhattan in the middle of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It can be found at the following coordinates: 40.700821, -73.996899.
The closest public transportation option is the NYC Ferry. The East River and South Brooklyn ferry lines both make stops at Pier 1, which is called DUMBO on the map. These ferries provide quick access to the park from Manhattan, other parts of Brooklyn, and Queens.
From the ferry dock, walk downriver for a quarter-mile to Old Pier 1.
If you’d rather take the subway, there are a few options with Clark Street on the 2/3 lines and High Street on the A/C lines being the closest stations to the pier. Both of these stations are about a half-mile walk to the water.
You could also walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to reach the park, but note that the promenade requires walking a good distance out of the way to reach the pier. The NYC Ferry or even the subway would definitely be the faster options.
If you are looking to photograph this spot after dark, you might be looking to also stay nearby. While I haven’t personally stayed there, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is the closest hotel to the pier and has good reviews. Staying here would make it easy to visit the park for some dawn or dusk photos.
Have you ever taken skyline photos of New York City from Old Pier 1? Do you have another spot you like more? Let us know in the comments below.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]