Street Photography in NYC by Suzanne Stein

Street Photography in NYC by Suzanne Stein

Suzanne Stein walks the streets of New York City, investigating New Yorker Life through intimate street photography and powerful writing. Follow Suzanne on Instagram and visit her wildly popular first blog with us: Hasidic Jews of Williamsburg.

When I Was a Street Photographer – Suzanne Stein

I know someday I’m going to be desperately sentimental about the long hours I spend every day walking the streets of New York City. I often wonder if I will live long enough to become an elderly woman, occasionally looking over my images, and miss these often tedious days with an intensity I cannot yet imagine. Occasionally I feel a sense of dread when I consider the perfect certainty, the virtual guarantee that someone I’ve met on the street and photographed extensively passes away. I don’t know if I will be able to glide through a loss so substantial. I consider the odds of avoiding assault or other violence directed at me as a lone female constantly outdoors with expensive camera equipment and try to calculate how many lives I have left as an active and productive street photographer, having been very lucky most days. I have not always been fortunate, though, and my physically damaged right eye and two concussions from assaults on the streets have removed some of my naïve perceptions that nothing bad could ever happen to me… My perception of that sense of personal specialness we all have has evolved, and I understand that the inviolate belief that we all possess for a time in our lives that says no true harm will ever befall us is a falsehood.

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The New Yorker Life Shop is Coming Soon

The New Yorker Life is launching its online shop with exclusive art pieces created by top artists.

We are thrilled to announce that our tiny little community of 300.000 people will soon be able to buy what they love in prints, textiles, ceramics, and other forms. Soon, we are launching The New Yorker Life Shop.

To make things more exciting, we will collaborate with world-class illustrators/graphic designers on monthly limited edition prints. These will be exclusive to The New Yorker Life, limited to 50 copies in A3 size and printed in museum quality on fine art paper. The prints will only be available in the NYL Shop and never elsewhere – guaranteed. And once the 50 copies are gone, they’re gone forever.

Over the years, we hope to have an incredible collection of artwork representing each month of NYL as an online publication, starting on May 1st, 2022. Artists will keep a considerable part of the income from these prints as part of our goal to support the artists and the art community. So exciting!

We’re collaborating with Ayse Deniz Sahin, a renowned illustrator from Istanbul, Turkey, to kick things off. She is incredibly talented, and her work represents what we all need at the moment: peace, love, silliness, warm and leisurely summer days… In short, the nice things in life we all miss and deserve. She is hard at work, and we cannot wait!

If you are an artist or know someone you think would be great for this project, please send us an email, and we’ll discuss the details: hey@newyorkerlife.com. Please keep in mind this is a once-a-month gig, and we’ll be extremely picky with our choices. It is essential to deliver great work that represents The New Yorker Life and its values.

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Thanks,
Guney Cuceloglu
Founder/Editor

New York City Street Photography: Satmar Hasidic Williamsburg

Street photography is the perfect medium to record the rapidly changing nature of our lives. It’s illuminating, educative and it triggers curiosity in the viewer about its subject. Suzanne Stein‘s photos of Williamsburg’s Satmar Hasidic Jewish community are the perfect example. Combined with her powerful writing, these photos open a window into the lives of our fellow New Yorkers from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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New York City Street Photography: New Yorkers

Throughout the decades, many photographers produced excellent works documenting New Yorkers and the New Yorker life. Ernst Haas, Melissa O’Shaughnessy , Vivian Maier and Robert Herman are the first ones that come to mind. In recent years an Instagram account grew in popularity so much that it eventually turned into a book titled Humans of New York, and sold millions of copies. (All highly recommended)

The attraction makes sense, though. New York is one of the most diverse places on earth, a photographer’s dream, and New Yorkers are equally as colorful. Anthropologically speaking, an exciting case study in diversity at the very least.

Race, religion, and cultural differences make the city multi-layered and richer. Millions of New Yorkers embrace diversity for the most part and manage to co-exist on a tiny piece of land. This unique situation allows us to meet people from many other countries and learn about the world without traveling away from NYC.

Who is a New Yorker anyway?

We are happy to announce that we are hopping on the “documenting the New Yorker” train as well. Through photography, we’ll further investigate the question “Who is a New Yorker?” This series will get richer by the day, and we’ll see where it goes in the future. Take this post as a starter, part 1, if you will.

The beautiful photographs in this post come from Ohad Kab, our contributing photographer. He connects New Yorkers to the city and gives clues about who they are in a single frame. Ohad being an immigrant adds another layer to his great work. His previous post on NYL, “Dogs of New York” was wildly popular! You can follow Ohad Kab on Instagram.

If you would like to hear other stories from the city’s residents, we highly suggest picking up Humans of NY’s latest book, Humans of New York: Stories. If that’s not quite your vibe, there’s a great film with an all-star cast that exhibits similar, although fictionalized, stories from New York City residents called New York, I Love You, which you can also stream on Prime.

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New York City Street Photography: Snow in NYC

Snowy New York City Streets

New Yorker life is waking up to a snow-covered winter wonderland sometimes, and I love it more than anything!

I’ve found these photos after almost 10 years and decided to post them here. They are from January 2012. It was the day Leonard Cohen released “Old Ideas.” I went out for a walk in my neighborhood, Upper East Side, at 8:30 am. After walking around in the UES, I ended up in Central Park. I met many people that day; dog walkers, parents taking their kids to the park for sledding, other people taking photographs.

NYC offers so many photo opportunities in such a short time. All of these photos are taken in about 2 hours, max. Not too many other cities are full of fantastic architecture, friendly and interesting people and of course, streets full of life. Maybe, Istanbul. I always thought that I could sit in a corner all day, watch the world go by, and end up satisfied and accomplished at the end of the day in NYC. This city is very, very special!

The child in me will never stop getting excited, running out the door when it snows, I know that for sure.


List of recommendations:


“The sight of snow made her think how beautiful and short life is and how, in spite of all their enmities, people have so very much in common; measured against eternity and the greatness of creation, the world in which they lived was narrow. That’s why snow drew people together. It was as if snow cast a veil over hatreds, greed, and wrath and made everyone feel close to one another.” ― Orhan Pamuk, Snow

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New York City Street Photography by Ozgur Aydogdu

New York City Street Photography by Ozgur Aydogdu

Street Unicorns by Robbie Quinn is now available on Amazon. Read our interview with Robbie Quinn and see amazing photos from the book.


Ozgur Aydogdu is a visual artist from Turkey who works as a “character technical director” at Pixar. His timeless black and white photography results from his genuine curiosity towards The New Yorker Life. You can follow him on Instagram and visit his photoblog.

The most exciting thing about moving to New York was the opportunity to search for this fascinating city’s soul. New York took me to places I had never imagined and always surprised me with its dirt, rust, and incredible energy. I tried to become a part of it while observing it as an outsider.

Wandering the streets of New York aimlessly, following strange moments and expressions, was my way to understand this city. Following little details like a hat blown away by the wind or an obscure silhouette made me feel alive and present. These things felt like they were happening in full-blown chaos yet in perfect order. They forced me to look inside myself through others.

Like Bruce Davidson once said: “New York is a state of mind. It’s about vitality and taking chances and the surprise. It’s vibrant, sexy, beautiful, ugly, and depressing”.

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Deep Park by Bruce Polin

Deep Park by Bruce Polin

Deep Park is an ongoing series of chance portraits by Bruce Polin, a native of Brooklyn, New York. Bruce meets and photographs people in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which he calls his outdoor studio, with his large-format 8×10 film camera. The results are pure, honest, and timeless portraits of a diverse group of New Yorkers who are the protagonists in what we call The New Yorker Life.

Photography is perfectly suited to depict, and enable, the transformative nature of people.

While, on the surface, the work may not appear all that political, this series of portraits — of random and seemingly disparate people — has been a very organic and physical reaction to the polarization that has enveloped this country since before the presidential election. It’s no coincidence that my need to leave the insularity of my studio and go out to connect with “strangers” began in earnest during the campaign that let up to November 2016.

Prospect Park is the optimal microcosm of New York’s profound diversity. My use of its natural assets as the backdrop somehow imparts additional political resonance, given that our public lands and environmental protections seem to be eroding by the minute, and climate change denial is now, incredibly, a governing principle. The park, designed in 1867 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert B. Vaux, is a vast organism, fertile, with secret winding paths and infinite textures and sounds. There are many unique ‘neighborhoods’ within it. The park has become my studio in a way — one in which I don’t have much control, an aspect that can be frustrating but often liberating.

My use of these large outdated cameras for this project is very intentional. I wouldn’t be able to achieve the same thing with a small modern camera. With these big cameras, a lot of patience is required on both myself and the sitter. At some point, though, my subject becomes invested in the process, and it becomes more of a collaboration. They see that I’m building something, and I need their help. The process can effectively isolate us as if an invisible room takes form. And it all happens in a public space. I’m fascinated by how we construct very private spaces within public spaces. I look for people who might already be in that space, so I approach with care, trying hard not to break what they built.
I try to be aware of the transition.

Photography is perfectly suited to depict, and enable, the transformative nature of people. –Bruce Polin on “Deep Park”

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Christmas Time in New York by Ohad Kab

NYC by Ohad Kab

Israeli photographer Ohad Kab walks the streets of New York City, documenting The New Yorker Life.

Being a modern-day street photographer in New York is no easy task. Not only does one compete with the wealth of current photographers, but there are the legendary greats who produced incredible work for many decades.

But Ohad succeeds in creating unique and timeless photographs that are unmistakably New York. He does it by focusing on individuals and framing his shots expertly. Each photo makes you think: “this person could be a movie character.” In the process, he shows us how diverse and colorful New York is.

For years I dreamed of this moment; Christmas time, I’m standing on Fifth Avenue, the heart of the World Consumer Culture Center, the land of brands and plastic in the busiest time of the year. I observe the diverse and fascinating people who paint this city so colorful. These photographs will go with me for the rest of my life.

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