Help a Tribecan: Wedding-Photo Backdrops

This came in yesterday from a reader named Connie: “I’m a native New Yorker living in Tribeca and am a big fan of your site!” :) “I’m getting married at Thalassa in November and wanted to see if you or anyone on your staff could help me come up with photo locations to take my wedding pictures. I plan to start at the South Street Seaport and then move along to Tribeca. The elevated bridge on Staple Street is a great backdrop, but was wondering if you had any other suggestions that I could tell my photographer? I love colored doors, maybe some cool graffiti, cobblestone and buildings in the distance, etc. I’m sure you are busy with more important things, so if you can’t get back to me, it’s not a problem. I figured it would be worth a shot asking Tribeca experts, though!”

Are you kidding? I love this question! It lets me pretend that I might someday get legally married. The first places that came to mind were the pretty ones: The Staple Street bridge, as mentioned; the stairs at Federal Hall; Duane Park; under that crazy tree in the Warren Street cut-through in City Hall Park; the Brooklyn Bridge; Hudson River Park’s boardwalk (or the end of Pier 40, or the curved Port Authority pier that leads to the tunnel vent).

Then I moved on to the classic Tribeca combo of a loading dock and a metal awning. But so many of those have been too cleaned up; you don’t really want to have your special moment captured in front of a random condo building or some office’s frosted-glass windows. These days, the parts of Tribeca that really speak to me are the scruffy ones. I immediately went to Columbine (or is it Clementine? Time for them to rip the Band-Aid off), bought a slice of lemon cake, and walked around scouting locations.

Before I run down a bunch of places I’d personally consider—I didn’t get into northwest Tribeca, but obviously Washington Street is ripe with possibility—I’d suggest two things to bear in mind: Consider shooting wherever you have an emotional connection—where you love to go for dinner, where you get coffee on Sunday mornings, whatever. (All the better if it’s someplace like City Hall or Odeon, where you can sit in a pretty outdoor space. Or you can sit outside at Pécan. Or even inside the Raccoon Lodge!) It’ll be more meaningful years from now vs. a simply textural background. Second, try taking at least one where you walk down the middle of a street. That always looks impressive.

And please, Tribeca Citizen readers, weigh in with your suggestions! Who do you think she was talking about when she said “staff”?

Leonard, east of Hudson. Most of these photos would look far better on a nicer day. Also: Whenever you see a whited-out sky like that in a travel magazine, it means that the sky was cloudy.

Franklin, west of Varick. My favorite.

Varick, south of Franklin. Nothing says "New York" like that color blue.

Staple Street. Cortlandt Alley is another funky street—and much less gentrified than Staple—but you may want to bring a whisk broom because surfaces can get gritty.

Staple Street. It's such a shame the "Fuck Yuppies" graffiti is gone.

Thomas, east of W. Broadway.

OK, staff, where would you go? Not just for scruffy backdrops but also for more traditionally romantic ones. Think of this as research for your second or third wedding.



  1. It’s ironic that one of the traditional downtown wedding photo sites will soon be gone, as you noted in your previous item. Grab the Winter Garden stairs before they are torn down by their greedy owners.

  2. P.S. And good luck on your happy day!

  3. along Hudson River park–at the end of one of the piers (I especially like the piers north of Tribeca, where you can look dowtown and get Tribeca as the backdrop)

  4. Wonder if there’s a way they can hire a boat and take their pictures on the mighty Hudson, with Tribeca in the background. There is also a little section of the promenade, on the way south, just before the field where the Holocaust building is. It’s sort of an alcove with a bridge and pretty lanterns, lovely at dusk. I think you should sell t-shirts that say “Tribeca Citizen – Staff”. All your loyal readers will want one. Red please.

  5. We were walking around one evening and there was a wedding party walking down the middle of one of the cobblestone streets having pictures taken–I think it was Desbrosses, with the sun behind them and a car blocking the intersection at Hudson to keep the street clear. It looked like it would have been a beautiful shot.

    BTW, you need a permit for the Winter Garden.

  6. @David: I’m not falling for that. Next thing, you’ll be suing for benefits.