Thursday Doors – New York Photo Rules

Take the shot!

I lived in New York City (Queens) for a little over a year, beginning in 1977. I’ve been back too many times to count, both for business and pleasure, and one thing remains true: “if you think it would make a good photo, push the button.” You might end up with a “what was he going for?” Kodak Moment, but at least you won’t be kicking yourself over the opportunity you just lost.

I was thinking about this rule as I walked around New York back in November. I arrived at Grand Central Station on Tuesday morning and I returned home Thursday around lunch time. Ample time to collect a few door photos, one would think. However, I violated the above stated rule and I missed a great opportunity.

After leaving Grand Central, I was heading north on Vanderbilt Avenue. I saw a wonderful door on the building just west of the station. I was dragging a suitcase, and I thought: “I need to make sure I return to this street later.” Later, when I returned, the building was hidden by box trucks making deliveries.

At least I remembered my lesson early. Below is a short list of reasons you might not want to release the shutter in New York (or any city) and the reason you should just push the button:

There are people in the entrance, on the stairs, near the door – There are ten million more people where they came from! The next people might be part of a tour group, or they might be delivering a sofa, or they might stand in front of the door while they are waiting for someone to sign for a package.

The only clear shot through the traffic has me reflected in the door – So what, you’re pretty good looking. Besides, your readers might want to get a glimpse of you.

I’ll get that shot when I’m on my way back – No you won’t! You won’t come back this way because New York is best walked in opportunistic fashion. That means, as long as you still have blocks to go in both ways, you always cross with the existing light. If you get three straight walk lights while going north on Fifth Avenue, you’re going to miss that door that was on 42nd Street.

There’s a (whatever) in the way – Decide now if that shot would look better if you crossed the street. If the answer is yes, cross the street. Cross now (it’s often safer than crossing at the corner) take the shot and move on.

There’s a sign on the door – Since Norm remains steadfast in his reluctance to post bail for us, take the shot. If the sign is that bad, look at it as an opportunity to learn how to use Adobe’s healing brush.

The door is open – There’s a better than 50% chance that it either won’t be closed for a long time, or that when it is closed, they will also close a gate in front of it. This is particularly true of church doors.

I’m not sure it’s that interesting of a door – Have you ever seen a door like that in your town? It’s not like you’re shooting film, paying to have it developed and printed. Take the shot.

It’s an OK door, but it’s not much of a building – Today, it’s not much of a building today. For all you know, this is where someone famous lived, was shot, shot somebody else or died. The building could have all kinds of historic significance, or it might just be a building that hasn’t been torn down yet.

That’s not a door, it’s a crane – Take the shot. Dan will like that photo!

There are many such rules, but you get the picture. Well, you do if you take the picture…

Welcome back to a new year of Thursday Doors. Thanks to our host and inspiration, Norm Frampton, we have a wonderful eVenue in which to share our favorite doors. If you love doors, visit Norm’s site to look at his doors. From there, you can enter the gallery to see everyone else’s doors.

Note: If you are sharing doors this week, please click on the blue frog near the bottom of Norm’s page and add your link to the list. You only have to add the URL from your blog, your name and your email (and only Norm can see your email). Then your doors will be seen by all the other visitors.


  1. Any door to the NY library is a great one. I particularly like the taxi stand. Looks like a London call box in retro. Great tips. Once I started using digital and didn’t have film and developing costs, all shots are taken. It’s the beauty of the delete button. Heck, I have dozens of not so great shots still in my library that I use now and then. Welcome back to #thursdaydoors Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice doors, Dan. I understand many of your rules, but not just for doors. They are for most anything. I don’t know how many times I’ve been walking around town or on a bike trail and think, “Yeah, I’ll get that on the way back.” I forget about people and cars and the way the sun’s rays make things interesting, but not for long. It’s the best rule of thumb to take the shot on the spot because you’ll be happy you did later. Oh, and I found that turning some color photos into black and white photos hides many a sin. Happy Thursday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks MAry and thanks for reminding me about B&W. I’ve seen so many people do that, with great results, but I always forget. I ride by a lot of good photos when I’m on my bike. I don’t want to stop, or I think I’ll get it later, or net trip, or…never.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Part of the fun of riding the bike, especially on new trails, is stopping to take photos. Some biking purists might say that I need to keep going, but I say stop and take a picture of the roses.


  3. I love the taxi stand. At first I thought you’d lost your mind because it’s an old phone booth. But then I saw “TAXI” written on it. Oooops, my bad! This is a super collection of doors. Thanks for not waiting until later to get these shots. —-Ginger—-

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Dan! Such great doors. That is usually the first thing I look to see–am I reflected in the window? Delete. I do have photos of cranes! **Dan would like these.** Waiting for the daily prompt to be ‘Cranes” and they will appear.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent recap of the “rules”, Dan, which basically can be boiled down to one simple rule: Take the shot!! Never assume you’ll be going back!! Especially with digital, if you don’t like it, it’s gone without paying for developing (who else remembers developing?) Your photos here are remarkable people-free considering the place and thanks for the light-hearted look at Thursday Doors protocol.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet. It’s funny, I have multiples of so many of these because there were people and then there weren’t people but there was a truck and then the truck pulled out to reveal people – ugh – take the shot and figure it out later. There are always more doors.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Consider this me hitting the *like* button … since WP still won’t recognize me.

    I can vouch for each of these tips – learned the hard way. I’m getting much better at simply taking the shot and worrying about its quality later. Sadly, I still let opportunities go by.

    It’s been so very long since I visited NY … just the once. I would like a revisit so badly. I love the entrance to the Bryant Hotel as well as the taxi booth. It looks well used!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can remember when the line at that taxi stand would curve around the block. These days, there aren’t many people using the yellow cabs.I like to walk in New York (anywhere, really). If I’m in a hurry, I’ll take the subway. I figure I can usually walk faster than a cab can drive in that traffic. Thanks for the comment and the *like*


        • They are. They have been several articles about the way ride services have affected the cabs. One big way is in the value of the medallion which was a monumental investment.


          • That is the same problem here. The cab owners have made huge investments in these licenses and these licenses are becoming next to valueless.
            It doesn’t seem fair to them that they have been forced to play by a set of rules that now isn’t applied to the ride sharing services.


  7. The Nat Sherman door brought back memories of hand-made cigarettes, Dun Hill lighters and feeling cool in my youth. Nothing like standing in the Oak Room bar and pulling out a Nat Sherman dark to go along with that Tanqueray on the rocks. Maybe in heaven someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great advice Dan. Especially in the digital age where the fear of wasting film on a less-than-ideal shot is long gone.
    Just take the shot!
    If an opportunity for a better shot comes along later, well you can take that one too.
    And if not, well at least you’ll have that first one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No New York for me yet, but I agree with your rules and how you call this our eVenue. <3 I love it too how you assembled these, and I might or might now have taken a shot of a crane for you recently. Will include it sooner or later.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “It’s not like you’re shooting film, paying to have it developed and printed. Take the shot.” Yes, you got there! As I was reading the post, this was all I was thinking about. TBH, I think in 2018, it’s the only rule you need — it’s digital, so take as many photos as you can/want, and then worry about purging later.

    The “Take the Shot” rule also reminds me of some sound advice from Rod Serling.

    “The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act, the physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence. Once you get that prod, that emotional jar, that “I have witnessed something.” Or “I have felt something.” Or “I have seen something.” Or, through observation, “I have been moved by an event.” I think the answer is, “Get it down. Get it down quickly. Write it down.”

    So in today’s digital age where your camera/phone can hold literally thousands of photos, and you don’t have to pay to develop a single one? Yeah, take the shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. These are fabulous rules and you’re going to smile when I post my doors from when I didn’t cross the street. It’s a long time coming, and I don’t know when I’ll post it, but I think I’ll pingback here if it’s alright with you?
    I appreciate the phone box. WOW on the phone box. It’s a spectacular specimen. That Nat Sherman facade is also a real winner for me.
    I did try to get that crane for you the day I was on the southwest side of the circle, but the crane was running away from me. (Or, you know, very big and thus hard to pin down without great height!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to the post that fits these rules. Pingbacks are always welcome, unless they begin with “That idiot over at…” The phone booth is a taxi stand but I thought phone boot when I took the photo, and I love it.

      I always appreciate cranes and attempts at cranes. I love how people are looking out for me. I did try to snag a light fixture for you in this mix. Ah, the influence of the community – it makes me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ringing in the new year with rules to live by but as many of us Americans do, we don’t read the instructions and dive right in, or not… I agree though, take the shot whenever you can but regardless, I have to admit missing my fair share of shots but that’s a lesson you have to learn to make it stick. The door shots you posted sure define your rules well and I liked them all! I know you appreciate a good crane photo but don’t expect doors on the cranes that I posted this week!
    Happy New Year, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I think Norm understands that sometimes, we might include a picture of something other than a door. You’re right about the rules, we only learn some things the hard way.


  13. As a not-as-yet paid up member of the Doors Club, I thank you for your tips. Noted.
    New York City has some pretty cool doors. I wonder if there are any lurking in my photos from our visit a couple of years ago? I think there’s definitely one. I recall taking a photo of the front of a particular coffee shop. Significant because it is run by an Australian so I knew I could trust the coffee to be good.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My two favorites are the ones on the left side of the first horizontal row, as well as the old phone booth! Thanks for taking us there! Your thoughts of what and when to shoot a pic made me smile. Life in the country side is definitely more simple.
    I do love architecture, but often it’s too bland (here) to be worthy of a shot. The only famous person in the area I know lived around here was the painter Thomas Kinkade, and according to some of my friends, he’s not even a painter:):)
    Thank you for this (always) interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha – yes, I am familiar with the comments on “the painter of light” (I think that’s right).

      I’m glad you liked these. It’s hard to know which ones will be useful but I do tend to just point and shoot.


  15. NYC has some of the best doors evah! I took a lot of images of doors while there, and I followed those rules, and I didn’t.
    There are doors I photographed then got home uploaded them and thought, “Oh I wish I had photographed the building too!” And there are several I asked myself,
    “What were you thinking?”

    All of them should have a post one day right? :)

    I’d like a redo on all those doors, but who knows when I’ll get back and I know I’ll never find most those doors again.

    I love that first one Jack’s with the big window on top. There’s a story there with the hair stylist and his client.

    The clock over the door is wonderful, and I loved Grand Central Station. I wish I had more time there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh, I saw the typo but hit send by accident. And, I wasn’t done !

      I could spend an entire day in Grand Central. I just got a dvd story of the station for Christmas.

      I should offer the hair stylist photo as s prompt. Someone should write that story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • :) I can think of a couple of your readers who probably would write great stories from that prompt.

        My mind fixes the typos so don’t worry about those. I make a whole lot more than most people anyway. I’m grateful my readers don’t drop me over it.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. LOVE LOVE LOVE your list and I heartily agree – and have learned the hard way – and my fav (wish they were numbered) but it was this one:

    I’ll get that shot when I’m on my way back – No you won’t! You won’t come back this way….

    seriously – this has been so true for me.
    and one time, i was getting some photos at a wedding – they had a pro doing the real photos – but I wanted to get some extra shots cos they were my friends – and it did work out cos I I got one of the preacher praying for the bride – ooooo
    anyhow, with my spouse I walked through this corridor and behind a bush was a bunch of flowers that had been dumped there.
    Like someone needed the vase real quick and tossed them – there was such color and variety – and they were all crumpled and the bark was still wet and I decided to catch a pic on the way out. Um, nope – never went back that way and forgot about it – but on the drive home remembered and it would have been a cool photo…

    also – noticed the door photos here had a tan/cream colored theme – nice.

    oh and wow- reading this shows a phrase that i am sure some folks will not know in a few years – the “Kodak Moment”


    • Your flower photo is exactly the kind I’m thinking of. And you know you should stop and click, but you don’t.

      I didn’t notice the color theme going on. Now I have to go back and check that out. My wife suggested that maybe I should add a footnote about “Kodak Moment”. That’s kinda sad.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • oh I know – it is sad that the kodak moment might be (will be) a time sensitive phrase.
        But then again, I am so glad for digital and for options – so it is okay with me – and actually – side note – I have had a bad taste in my mouth with Kodak (just the name) ever since the Aerial America show covered new York State and skipped Buffalo NY completely and then spent all this time on Kodak out of Rochester. Cool company and legacy – but not better than Buffalo (IMHO) – haha
        have a good day D

        Liked by 1 person

          • yes indeed…
            and it was quite fortuitous for me to marry someone who is a bronco fan – because coming from a Buffalo Bills area – well there would have been some tension had I married a fan of the Jets, Patriots, or Miami – lol – not really – but it truly was nice to have a team out of our Division.
            and speaking of football – rooting for your Steelers tomorrow –


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