If rain is in the forecast for your photo shoot and you were planning on going to any local New York City park, then you are pretty much out of luck. On a recent surprise proposal in Brooklyn Bridge Park, I was facing this same situation and had to come up with some quick solutions. So, for all of you New Yorkers looking at the hourly forecast and praying for sunny skies, I will be sharing my top Brooklyn Bridge Park rainy day photo locations in today’s blog post.
Meet Rachel and Brandon
First, let’s meet the happy couple. Rachel and Brandon met online about two years ago. They had instant chemistry, and in the words of Brandon: when you know, you know. As a Brooklynite who is proud of his borough, Brandon wanted to select a nearby location. He had seen images of Brooklyn Bridge Park surprise proposals from my blog (here, here, and here), and thought the waterfront would be the perfect spot.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Surprise Proposal – The Planning
After many phone calls together, Brandon and I had all of the details planned. The ruse was that the couple was going to be meeting friends at the park for dinner at Cecconi’s restaurant. However, two days prior to the proposal, the forecast turned very grim. We started to brainstorm alternative locations, and I even inquired about changing the date of the proposal. But with an engagement party already set for Sunday, Friday had to be the day.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Surprise Proposal – The Location
The original plan was for Brandon to propose along the waterfront, right at the corner by the Emily Warren Roebling Plaza. In case you have not been to Brooklyn Bridge Park lately, the boardwalk has been completely refurbished. The boardwalk in front of Jane’s Carousel nearest the plaza has an awesome view of the New York City skyline. Furthermore, because the boardwalk near the plaza turns in to create a corner at this point nearest the Brooklyn Bridge, you have the benefit of privacy on two sides. Thus, this is a great spot to create the illusion of privacy and avoid people walking through the back of your proposal.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Surprise Proposal – Dry(-ish) Skies
In the end, the rain held off, and Brandon was able to drop to one knee without drops falling on his head. After Rachel gave a teary-eyed ‘Yes!’ to Brandon’s proposal, we headed quickly over to Washington Street to capture oh, so Instagram-worthy view of the Manhattan Bridge. Please note that this spot is ALWAYS crowded, even with an imminent downpour.
Our final stop was the 1 Brooklyn Bridge hotel. Brandon surprised Rachel with a luxurious stay at the hotel. With rain about to arrive, we decided to make use of the hotel room’s view of the Statue of Liberty. It was the perfect end to a not-so-perfect proposal.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Rainy Day Photo Locations — Partially Covered
If you aren’t as lucky as Rachel and Brandon and the rain really is coming down, then I am sad to report that you don’t have that many alternative locations. That said, here is a list of the best spots to keep you (somewhat) dry:
Emily Warren Roebling Plaza, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge does offer some cover, but keep in mind that the height of the bridge means that you are no doubt going to get rain coming at you sideways. If you stay close to the base of the bridge, then you may be at least partially shielded.
St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Max Family Garden. This is a spot that is only partially covered by foliage. In the summer months, the trees are in full bloom, so you have some branches to hide under.
BQE Overpass by the York Street Subway Station. The BQE overpass right by the York Street F line subway station is one of my favorite photo spots in the area, be it rain or shine. There are two huge murals on either side of the overpass. The left mural is a big octopus, and on the right is a black and white mural with the word, ‘Yes.’ This side is perfect if you have an engagement or proposal planned.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Rainy Day Photo Locations — Fully Covered
Jane’s Carousel. This is a tricky option because you technically have to rent out the carousel for any events, including an impromptu proposal. On my way to the Brandon’s proposal spot, I stopped by the carousel, and Sabrina at the ticket desk was kind enough to say she would allow me to sneak in and take a few photos with the couple if it really was pouring outside. The staff at the carousel is very kind, and I would never take advantage of their generosity unless it was a true emergency. If you have a little bit more planning and want to go ahead and book Jane’s Carousel for your proposal, you can contact the venue directly: email email@example.com or call 718.222.2502.
Water Street archway under the Manhattan Bridge. This is a covered walkway underneath the Manhattan Bridge from Pearl Street to Adams Street. When Brooklyn Bridge Park was first opened, I remember this archway being completely empty. Now the space has lots of tables and chairs, and you often have events happening here (like the DUMBO flea market) on the weekends. This spot will no doubt be crowded, but it is fully covered. You also have a big DUMBO sign there if you are looking for a photo prop.
Pier Two. This is the pier with all of the sports activities for Brooklyn Bridge Park. I have not actually ventured to this pier (or piers 3, 5, or 6), and I would only go here if you were really in a bind since it is located so far away from the rest of the park. What it lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in the fact that it does appear to be fully covered.
1 Brooklyn Bridge Hotel. I like immensely the natural decor of this hotel. But be warned that you cannot take photos inside the hotel lobby or in any other inside public areas without the hotel’s permission. There are outside patio areas where you can sneak in a photo or two, but the lobby is strictly off-limits. I would recommend that if rain is definitely in the forecast, you go ahead and book a room with a view of the water. In Brandon and Rachel‘s case, they had a small suite with a view of the Statue of Liberty. The room had floor-to-ceiling windows, and enough space for photos. I have been in larger suites, during Max and John’s Greenpoint Loft wedding. In Max and John’s case, they booked a much larger suite with a private patio overlooking the park.
Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central Terminal is a classic rainy day photo location for a reason. While you technically do need a permit to take photos here, no one is going to come after you to check your paperwork. This would not be an ideal location for a family portrait, but it will do in a pinch for an engagement shoot or proposal. Bear in mind that Grand Central is actually a very dark location. Still, it beats taking photos in the rain.
Enjoy the images, and I’ll have lots more (hopefully dry) photo adventures for you next week!
Are you planning a Brooklyn Bridge Park surprise proposal? Drop me a line, and let’s talk about your photography needs.
If you would like to view more adventures from my engagement portrait portfolio, then please visit my website – Kellywilliamsphotographer.com