Thursday, March 4, 2010

The story behind the Manhattan Skyline Photo

Original Photograph by Jeffrey Hunter - copyright 1990

The Manhattan Skyline

What does this have to do with ties?  Plenty!  You will just have to read this post to find out.   And the previous post.

The Rainbow Room on the 69th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza is known for its killer panoramic view of New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

It is exactly 20 blocks north of the Empire State Building and if you happen to time it right you will see Manhattan in all of its glory. That means showing up right before sunset and in the winter months. If you check out this posh art deco style bar during the summer months or close to them the buildings office lights will not be as saturated. In that case the view is less then picture perfect but still sensational. New Yorkers may be really serious about business and work however they do go home at the end of the day and it is usually not at 4:00 pm.

I took this image at around 5:00 pm in December in 1990 with an old Nikon mounted on a tripod. I had to buy a $65 bottle of wine and wait until the waiter opened the bottle before I set up the entire rig. It was a 4 minute exposure at f11 with a nikkor 50 mm 1.8 lens. This was no easy task as the camera had to have a cabled shutter release and the lens had to kiss the window squarely and that tripod and the rest of my gear was not so pretty to look at. In other words it was a full tilt production.

The manager came over almost right away and asked me to quit or leave. I argued that I was not abandoning my bottle and I was not anxious to quit with just one or two frames shot. I was with an attractive lady but that did not seem to help matters. I had a nice suit and of course a tie tied with a Windsor knot as well. A Mexican guy with movie star good looks and a really gorgeous blond were seated next to our table. He looked like he was really wealthy and with a motion of his hand he waved the manager to his side. With the softest of tone he whispered "The photographer stays" And that was that I nodded and he acknowledged by gratitude.

Maybe it was a combination of my dare, the creative edge I was pushing, the bottle of wine and my moxy that impressed him. But there will never be a doubt in m mind what really made it happen. I had a nice suit on and of course complimented by a beautiful tie which persuaded him to intervene. After all if you are not in a suit and tie then you are not getting out of that elevator. If you forget the tie you can fix the problem by running to the nearest corner and buying a tie on the street for less than the price of a beer in that lofty bar, ( about $10.00 now ). If you do not have a suit then that is also not a problem. There are plenty of men’s shops anxious to sell another suit to a tourist who did not pack a suit because he did not know that New York City is actually a very classy place.

Jeffrey Hunter
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