Recently I started brainstorming locations in an attempt to figure out whether there are any locations I really have my heart set on for wedding photos, both portraits before and after the ceremony. Before the ceremony, I'm getting ready at a small hotel in a residential neighborhood near where I grew up in Queens. The area around the hotel is nothing to write home about aesthetically so I initially started thinking up nearby locations to take photos with my bridesmaids in the half hour or so before leaving for the ceremony. I immediately thought of a park by the waterfront. It is about a mile from the hotel and is conveniently located right next to the bridge that will take us into Manhattan with a straight shot to our church.
So I did some searching on the website to get a feel for the renovations that have occurred since I moved out of the city. And you know, so I could start day dreaming about my amazing wedding photos with scenic views of the Manhattan skyline. To my surprise, I discovered that we need a permit which costs $130.
Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet? It's ok I haven't either.
I emailed my photographer about this and she said she went there once to photograph a couple and as soon as she stepped in to the park, two park employees zoomed up to them in a golf cart and asked that they produce a permit. When they couldn't, they were asked to leave the park. A friend who took wedding photos there (she had a permit) also told me park employee's came up to them and asked for a permit. In short, this permit thing is serious.
As I'm writing this post I just got an email from the State Parks Department with all the necessary paperwork for obtaining a permit for wedding photography in this park. I shot off an email to my photographer so she can get started on collecting the necessary insurance information. Luckily, it seems like the paperwork is really just a formality (as long as the photographer has the necessary insurance) and a way for the park's department to generate some revenue.
Well, this discovery led me to think of places I wanted to take photos after the ceremony like Central Park, The Plaza at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus, and the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center. Do I need permits to use these locations as well!? Would the process be long, tiring, and expensive?!
So I started doing some research and made some phone calls. Here are my findings:
- Central Park requires you to get a permit. It took a lot of digging around and sorting through conflicting information from actual Parks Department Employees and the Parks Department Website but a permit is needed. Is anyone else really surprised by this? I most definitely am. Am I seriously supposed to believe the every wedding party and huge quinceanera party I've seen in that park taking photos over the last twenty eight years had a permit? I doubt it. But better safe than sorry I suppose. Luckily a permit only costs $25 and the paperwork is really easy. In all likelihood I'll be submitting it tomorrow.
- Lincoln Center does not allow you to take photos on the plaza. Um boo! As the PR woman said "We get a lot of inquires and we don't allow photos. For weddings, Lincoln Center charges a hefty fee and I mean really high." Apparently you only get photo privileges if you are super rich Daddy Warbucks style can afford to rent Avery Fischer Hall or Alice Tully Hall as the venue for your wedding. You know, the places I used to go see the ballet on school trips. Argh. Anyway, she was helpful and told me that they usually recommended taking photos in the small park across the street from the plaza to get views of the plaza and the opera house in your shots.
- Fordham's Public Relations guy (who I finally got in touch with seven connections after my initial call) was super nice and is looking into the approval process for me. He also alerted me to the fact that there is construction going on at their campus (they're building a new law school! ha! everyone is getting a new law school these day!) but not all views are obstructed so I have to go there on my next visit and check out how it looks. This location would be nice to get photos at considering my parents took their wedding photos there (30 years ago this August!). The Plaza is above the law school, has great views and is very scenic.