JC Lemon Photography » Capturing love in a modern and relaxed style.

Exploring Powerless Manhattan

Halloween night was spent on my bike exploring the half of Manhattan that is still without power due to Sandy. Here's what I experienced.

The transition into the dark side of Manhattan was instantaneous. Only large buildings like the Empire State Building and Chrylser Building were lit up below 42nd Street. Cops were posted at major intersections to facilitate traffic flow. Car headlights provided occasional illumination down the blocks, but most of the time was spent in darkness.

The further south I biked, the more deserted it got.

I found a few food trucks open in SoHo and the Financial District, which were the only spots of light for multiple blocks.

Essential buildings and services were powered, including fire stations and the NYSE.

A few large companies also had power, providing for some interesting lobby views.

It was also a full moon last night, which lit up familiar views in new ways.

There were a few people scattered around the Financial District performing repairs.

When I took a break under the moon-lit Frank Gehry building, I finally noticed a clear sky. The light pollution levels were extremely low down in the Financial District.

A few news vans were posted up at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Biking down pitch black streets was fun…I kept my headlight off until I needed it. Just after I took this photo, a court house police officer gave me a hard time. I guess with no one around, he got bored and wanted to yell at someone.

There were a few bars open by candlelight in the East Village (This is Madam Geneva on Bleecker Street). Spirits were still high.

Things looked so amazing by moonlight! Who wants to do a moon-lit portrait session here?

Urban camping.

Van Leeuwen was open, because who couldn't use some ice cream during a blackout?

People used flashlights to flag cars to stop at intersections throughout midtown.

There was a 3-block line of ambulances and school buses waiting for dispatch outside Bellvue and NYU Medical Center. Lots of medics, drivers, etc standing around, some taking a smoke break.

More news media out reporting.

And more people working hard into the night to restore power.

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  • Katie Jane - These are really amazing photos, Jon. Nice work.ReplyCancel

  • Adam S Doyle - Stunning documentation buddy. It’s tough being on the other side of the world during the disaster. Thanks for letting me feel like I’m right there with you.ReplyCancel

    • jclemon - You definitely would have enjoyed biking around and exploring.ReplyCancel

  • Jason - Do you remember which bar that’s a picture of?ReplyCancel

  • jon - Hi! I saw this on reddit. My name is also Jon. Yay for Jon’s in the world!
    Anyways so i just want to compliment you on this photos, they turned out fantastic!!! Simply amazing, and i say this because i went out last night and tried getting some shots, but didn’t turn out as amazing as yours did. Granted I’m SURE you have a better camera than mine, seeing that you are a professional photographer. Anyways, just wanted to show some love!
    -Fellow JonReplyCancel

  • jon - Oh Hi its me again. So i was thinking if its possible you can share the specs of your camera for taking those pictures? Im a total noob to photography so all the advice I can get helps! Thanks! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • jclemon - Hi Jon! I used a D800 and 50mm f/1.4 lens. I was shooting ISO 1600-6400 the whole night out, and mostly wide open.ReplyCancel

  • Tara Sharma - really great stuff JonReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Beautiful photographs. I was supposed to be back in NY Friday, it’s nice to see some photos from a non-news perspective – just someone exploring the normally familiar sights. Looks lovely – great photos and great job!ReplyCancel

  • homodemon - so goth it hurts. thanks for sharing these.ReplyCancel

  • Design Work Life » JC Lemon Photography: Exploring Powerless Manhattan - […] Photographer JC Lemon took this series of haunt­ing pho­tographs while rid­ing around lower Manhattan on his bike the other night. See more here. […]ReplyCancel

  • anon - thank you for capturing theseReplyCancel

  • Lluis - Another face of Manhattan, another world without power…
    Manhattan without trick, only JC Lemon talent!
    From Catalonia, LLReplyCancel

  • THE BEST THING I SAW TODAY – NOVEMBER 2, 2012 - jenlea.com – blog - […] Exploring Powerless Manhattan by JC Lemon tweetmeme_url = 'http://www.jenlea.com/the-best-thing-i-saw-today-november-2-2012/';tweetmeme_source = 'j3nl3a';tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by Jen Lea in photography, the best thing today […]ReplyCancel

  • John - Very cool, thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • The Weekly Seven: 5th November 2012 | Sevenstreets - […] During the blackout following Hurricane Sandy, NYC photographer JC Lemon got on his bike, pedalled round his neighbourhood, and shot these beautiful, simple shots of a powerless city powering on through the darkness. Go to website […]ReplyCancel

  • Inspiration: Exploring Powerless Manhattan « G2 creative - […] JC Lemon captured images while rid­ing his bike around lower Manhattan after Sandy hit. “Halloween […]ReplyCancel

  • wear it: oxblood & peplum | joannakam - […] brunch Sunday. Joy makes christmas not so daunting This would make a great coffee table book These photos of ny without power is so haunting You said it sista! Instant volume? okay =) I’ll be […]ReplyCancel