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"Urban layer cake..."

This is another one of my favorite views in lower Manhattan. It’s a small segment of an entire universe that exists above millions of New Yorkers.

Layers of colorful graffiti cover the rooftops of these Chinatown apartment buildings as rooftop doors blow open in the wind and colorful clothing sways on clotheslines high above the city below.



New York Photography: Chinatown rooftop graffiti



You can view this post along with information about prints of this image if you wish at my site here:

http://nythroughthelens.com/post/18386950253/chinatown-rooftop-graffiti-two-bridges-new-york

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Tags: #photography #newyorkcity #graffiti #chinatown #chinatownrooftopgraffiti #nyc #city #cityscape #urban #urbanlandscape #architecture #decay #urbandecay
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160 comments
 
I love all the textures and colors.
 
One of my favorite spots for graffiti-spotting too! Where were you standing when you took this?
 
what a beautifully complex urban landscape
 
+Catherine Kustanczy - On the pedestrian walkway of the Manhattan Bridge looking out between the security fence and the barrier trying to avoid the wind/shaking of the bridge. :)
 
+Rachel Sawyer - So many elements to it: the skyscrapers in the far hazy distance, the tenements in the middle area of the view and the graffiti strewn rooftops in the foreground.
 
On the other side the graffitis are vandalism but on the other side This mixed patch of tags has some nice artistry in itself
 
The beauty of urban ugliness? ;-)
 
Very nice, this is a much more interesting than the boring skyscrapers, hundreds of pictures.
This is a lot to see, thank you again when I got behind the scenes of another kind to your city.
 
this is SO good! there's so much to see...and SUCH a feeling involved. wonderful!
 
Wow! Awesome! I've been wanting to cross the Manhattan. I tell myself that every time I drive over it and see the view.
 
Whow, beeindruckend, diese Farben im Detail, eine eigene Welt in einer riesigen Stadt.
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The first place my mind went to, is that this is a beautiful urban Shangri La, +Vivienne Gucwa! This is a wonderful and colorful place hidden high up in the mountains, I mean buildings. :-)

Thanks for another amazing photo. I shall NEVER grow tired of the privilege it is to view them.
 
This a part of NY you don't see very often. Looks like a child's painting.
Nice colors.
 
I would never have dreamed that this view existed. Thanks.
 
Such a beautiful and interesting view!
 
It is interesting, but you've got to wonder, do they have enough paint up there?
 
a really urban neighborhood.. nice.. yeah!!
 
love this picture. reminds me of doing the same thing at the brooklyn bridge and train tunnels. love it.
 
This picture just made me think of Machu Picchu.
 
Even though areas like this would be looked down on, I think that it's uniquely artistic and individual. I love that this picture was taken to capture it. :)
 
+patrick kitchell - Thanks so much! That's one of my older stores. I have been slowly migrating my photos over to SmugMug. You just reminded me that I need badly to add the photo you linked to my SmugMug store. :)
 
Very Nice looks like an actual canvas.... well it is an urban canvas.. good job..........
 
+Bela Diaz - Thank you! I think these views deserve their spot right alongside the wonderful iconic views of NYC. :)

+Steven Wright - That's an interesting association!

+vionet vasquez - Thanks! The Brooklyn Bridge has great views too, just a bit different. I have been wanting to explore train tunnels lately too.

+John Hawes - I think they missed a spot.

+Jerry Johnson - Thanks so much! The buildings are a lot like urban mountains with etchings from inhabitants over the years.
 
+Juha Pekka Laine - Thank you. You know skyscrapers are interesting but in a completely different way. But I know what you mean!
 
That is absolutely fantastic, its like a gallery a hundred feet up.......... in my mind I want there to be walkway's going from one building to the other so you can wander between the painting. And When I first looked at the photo I didn't even notice the washing on the lines. It blends into the scene, it could almost be painted on. Love it. Great shot, amazing place.
 
awesome shot! i'm planning a trip to nyc, is it secure enough to visit it with a dslr?
 
+patrick kitchell - It's really incomplete at this point (I have only uploaded around 51 of my photos, I keep adding more and more every day) . What I like is the way it displays my writing with the photos and the overall display is far better (in my opinion anyway). Here is a link to my main NYC collection there. Hope you enjoy:

http://nycphoto.smugmug.com/Photography/New-York-City-Photography/21276087_XtN66k#!i=1694035857&k=SmR8MFc

Let me know if you have any questions as well!
 
+Sebastian Kister - Do you mean: is it safe enough to visit NYC with a dslr? Or do you mean: is the area where I took this safe enough to visit with a dslr? The answer to both is yes, it is fine as long as you are smart with your property at all times and make sure you keep an eye out. Nearly all of my photos are taken with a variety of cameras, one of them being a dslr (ok, well it is a dslt, but same principle :) ) and while I grew up here and am used to it, many people visit NYC every year with all sorts of camera equipment and are fine.

This particular shot was taken walking over one of lower Manhattan's 3 bridges called the Manhattan Bridge which has a walkway for pedestrians. I hope you have a wonderful time when you visit and get some gorgeous photos as well :).
 
+Vivienne Gucwa Thank's :)... i originally meant NYC. I'll come definitely with my dslr and take a picture from the same position as you made :D... awesome work (also your photoblog :))
 
What a beautifully colorful view of an amazing city!
 
I really like this view of Manhattan. What a different view of the world
 
+Neil Medlicott - Thank you. It is very much like a gallery of sorts, I agree. Many of the buildings in this shot are quite old since they are some of the original tenements that went up in lower Manhattan so they are actually quite close to one another.
Sherwyn
 
Next time I will look-up when I am walking through China Town :)
 
I can appreciate graffiti but, that looks like shite....the artwork has been bombed to hell and just looks a mess....poor people who have that view out of their window every day
 
Ambiance of this part of Manhattan well captured.
 
I used to live in the East Village NYC and loved going up on the roof. We had roof parties. 4th of July people would shoot bottle rockets at each other and garbage can cannons were common. A real war zone. Love the graffitti art. Thanks for the photo.
 
wow! I'd so love to shoot this!
 
+Vivienne Gucwa, I so appreciate the education you provide regarding "the other NYC" that many of us would never know about. As always, the colors & detail are amazing.
 
Thanks for the constant reminder of how beautiful, the city that we call, home is.
 
this country has many many Artist'sas long as it's not gangs it should be left as is very nice california.
 
WOW this city looks very messy, i am so surprised>:)
 
Kool pic but needs one more thing, a clen up crew
 
This photo has only just made the yearning in my heart to travel to NYC a whole lot bigger.
 
Wow! Not being a New Yorker, I can say that I've never seen anything like this. It looks like another world. Beautifully photographed, though.
 
who made that???!!! Love the picture!!!
 
......AMAZING.............
 
very creative and full of life
 
This reminds me that there's so much more to New York than the lights; there's an actual culture and story to be told in every brick.
 
Honest, open question to all those who seem to admire defacement of private property: would you offer up similar admiration if you came home to your hard-won piece of suburban ticky-tack to find a stranger had covered it with paint squiggles? I can't say for sure, but I rather think you'd be upset. So I guess its only a vicious crime when it happens to you, not some faceless property owner in New York.
 
i am like the new york city
 
+Frederick Wright - As I am the person who took this photo and posted it and I happen to live in lower Manhattan in a building that is 'defaced' (and I love it), I can say there is a bit of complexity to what you call 'defacement of private property'. Different people like different things and different people tolerate different surroundings.
 
+Vivienne Gucwa , that doesn't answer my question. Would you love it as much if it were your building, that you personally owned? Whether the squiggles are 'beautiful' or not wasn't my point. How would YOU feel if a stranger bashed all the windows in your car because he thought the aesthetic qualities of broken glass were superior to normal ones? Do you not believe in the integrity of personally owned property? Or maybe just not the property of other people? These questions have always puzzled me.
 
Hey +Vivienne Gucwa you should have taken a photo of the phun factory in Long Island City. Now that is Graffiti city.
 
I picked up some cans a little over a year ago and sprayed here and there. I was the first to go tagging around my area in a few years. Now there's more people doing it and the city is a more colorful place...until the city removes the pieces
 
+Paul Moreira - I have been to 5 pointz many times but I have yet to take photos there. And yes, 5 pointz is incredible!

+Blake Hardison - Street art and graffiti are so transient in that way. It makes photography of those little (or enormous) colorful elements all the more valuable in a way because it gives new life to pieces that disappear completely.

+Khrystiane Friedli - Thanks :).

+Kirsten Bowers - Cacophony is a great word to use. Thank you.

+Daniel Enloe - This was taken back at the end of 2010 on the first day that I ever saw this particular urban landscape :). I was completely mesmerized by it!
 
Thanks +Manuela Azevedo !

+Funmi Wolf - Free-running is parkour right? Love parkour. This spot would be an interesting area for it but you would have to really, really know how to jump.
 
Fabulous. Just need a pompous art critique in a beret staring at one of the masterpieces
 
What a great shot!
 
+Alan Shapiro - So, are you volunteering to put on a beret and do your best art critic expression there on the roof the next time I go and shoot this area? :)
 
Viewing your images is as reading poetry. Some are melancholic, others nostalgic, hopeful, beautiful. And many are pure joy. And I love them all. ♥
 
Funny. I looked you up after reading some of you comments in +Billy Wilson's thread about the Suggested User List. You already had me in a circle - likely some shared one or another.

Anyway, the idea of favourite views resonated with me - I had recently posted a second viewing of a view I've been getting to know. Of course, your views are much more vibrant - being from New York city - and mine being from a provincial Canadian city. But even that seemed to have a bit of bearing on the little side discussion on defacement and such things and the choices we make about where we live and what we tolerate. The scenes in Edmonton tend to be clean and modern and often quite soul-less because of it. It's not like I can't find some graffiti - it certainly exists - it's just not really indicative of the city.
 
This is an iconic NYC shot - should be in Rolling Stone or something. Your rocked the houses on this one.
 
Love the way the clothesline is attached to the satellite dish
 
I absolutely city life photographs and constantly changing my background to different photos. I admire your work a great deal.
 
+Vivienne Gucwa not much I can say that hasn't already been said. This is such a great capture of life in the city.
 
It is beautiful i have to say i cant really compare that to anything cause it is so cool
 
tastefull and very inteligent shoot
 
+Kelli Seeger Kim - Thank you so much. ♥♥♥

+Eric Fredine - Nice to see you here! Thank you! I enjoyed what you wrote about soul and city views. I wonder what it is about graffiti vs. cleaner non-defaced settings that imparts more of a soul onto city views?
 
+Vivienne Gucwa thanks, I hope it will come with a day off or two since it will exceptionally be with my band. otherwise I only see a door, stairs, another door, stairs, eventually another door, but that's it probably. And then I hope to get some unique photos! Though you'd have to link me up with some cool coordinates.
 
I love the rooftop perspectives in neighborhoods like this one, old brick ROCKS. :-)
 
'Urban layer cake'. Really well & an exact title for the above photograph. As the title suggests we can clearly see three consecutive 'layers' of buildings one after the other just enough to perfectly explain/signify human growth/emergence/development from the very core primitive, traditional single floored houses to multi-storeyed apartments & finally to sky reaching/kissing/touching skyscrapers. This is the only reason behind saying your title exact/complete in context/comparison with the photograph. Really got a nice camera angle which helped you to encompass/contain all the three layers/segments/groups of buildings into a single piece of photograph. The above photo depicts/shows the natural human habitat from where we all have emerged, grown & shifted to a skyly living/residing society i.e. what we say/call developed society today/now-days. Choosing a nice site & well adjusted position really gave/yielded a nice view +Vivienne Gucwa.
 
This is sensational! I adore the scene, the colors and the hanging laundry just puts it over the top for me!
 
Wow... It's like another planet from where I live. That's neither goor or bad, just different. And that's the wonder in seeing new places isn't it? Thank you for sharing!
 
+Ron Bearry - It really is. I love seeing places in photos that are so unlike what I see the majority of the time. Thanks :).
 
gritty. dirty. beautiful. :-)
 
This what i call graffiti!! Where did you get this boss pic?!
 
I don't like graffiti, but I really like this photo because to me it tells a story -- many stories in fact.  You just wonder about the people -- the taggers, the tenants, the ones who work in the skyscrapers... and the woman who trusts that her clothes won't become someone's canvas.  Very nice.
 
U take amazing Photos u just keep surprising me!.
 
When did you take this photo? That rooftop looks so different now with a bunch of new graffiti on it... Crazy how things change in a matter of a year
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