In this week’s blog post, I’ll be sharing Helen and Sean’s lovely Fort Tryon Park engagement photos, along with construction updates on the park. In case you weren’t aware – surprise! – the park is undergoing major improvements from the back of Linden Terrace to the Cloisters Lawn. I have all the details as well as notes on how this will affect your future photo shoot.
A Venue Check Surprise
Imagine if you will: I take a trip uptown to Fort Tryon Park to scout the area for Helen and Sean’s upcoming engagement photo shoot. I make my visit four days prior to the shoot. The park is beautiful as always, with no signs of construction in sight.
Then I return on the day of the engagement session. I start out walking through the Heather Garden, over the Billings Terrace, and on to the Linden Terrace. Nothing is amiss, the garden is just as serene as it always is.
I take the back stairs out of the Linden Terrace trying to make my way to the Cloisters Lawn and I see a huge, ugly wire fence. Yep, construction has seemingly sprung up overnight.
Fort Tryon Park Fall 2022 Construction
Helen and Sean’s Fort Tryon Park engagement shoot just happened to be scheduled on the first day of construction. I arrived at the park an hour before the session, as I always do for park photo shoots since things can (and clearly do) change overnight without warning. The architects were there walking the site with blueprints in hand, and fences were laid out keeping guests away from Abby’s Lawn and the Cloisters Lawn.
This construction is – I think – part of the Fort Tryon Park path reconstruction project. I say ‘I think’ because the park website indicates that construction for this project was to have begun in July and end in December. So perhaps they are speaking of a different project, but this was all the information I could find online.
How Will Park Construction Affect Your Photo Shoot?
So how will this affect your upcoming Fort Tryon Park engagement shoot? The good news is that the best parts of the park are still construction free, as of this blog post. The Heather Garden, Billings Terrace, Linden Terrace, and the Cloisters are not experiencing any construction. You can take photos here without seeing any ugly fences or orange construction cones. If you were looking to take photos in the more forested part of the park around Abby’s Lawn, you always have the option to go beyond the Cloisters and take photos in the forested sections of the park here.
Fort Tryon Park Engagement Photos – Meet Helen & Sean
For Helen and Sean, the construction on the day of their shoot was definitely a surprise, but because we wanted to concentrate on the Cloisters and the Billings Terrace archway, we were in the clear. Let me back up by introducing you to Helen and Sean. I will have the honor of photographing their wedding at the Nyack Seaport in September of 2023. These two lovebirds met the really old-fashioned way – at church!
The goal of their session was to reenact their first date, which was a picnic in Fort Tryon Park after enjoying a tour of the Cloisters Museum. To commemorate the couple’s shared love of baked goods and the fact that Sean’s family owns a very successful doughnut business in Maryland, the couple had to include a few tasty treats in their photo shoot. I, of course, could not help myself by using the most colorful doughnut as a means of showing off the gorgeous engagement ring.
Fort Tryon Park Engagement Photos – Tips
Our session started in the Heather Garden and ended on the steps of the Cloisters. The Heather Garden is always going to be the most crowded part of the park, so pack your patience. For Helen and Sean’s shoot we ended up going back to the garden to get a few shots of the couple in the pathway since it was too crowded on our first visit.
The next area we visited was the side stairway to the Billings Terrace. In my opinion, this is an underutilized part of the park, and should definitely be on your shot list. The mezzanine level is an excellent platform for dips and dancing, and the lightpost looks great lit up at night.
The Billings Arcade is the highlight of a Fort Tryon Park engagement photo shoot, and it is always a popular spot. We timed it right and pretty much had the archway to ourselves right up until the very end. Try to have your shots planned out well in advance so you can get in and get out in case other photographers arrive to snatch your spot.
We next moved on to the Linden Terrace, which has the best waterfront views of the Hudson River in the park. This time I sat Helen and Sean on top of the bench to get a view of the water. Also, don’t miss the southeast corner of Linden Terrace with a great hidden view of the George Washington Bridge.
Finally, we ended our session in the front yard of the Cloisters. The guards only care about the front door of the museum, so we were able to eat our doughnuts on the lawn in peace. While the Cloisters shuts its doors at 4:30 p.m. in the winter, you are free to roam the park surrounding the museum. We made use of the side gate and also took some fun photos playing ‘Titanic’ in front of the tower. Kind reminder that any photos inside the museum require a photo permit, unless of course you are shooting on the down low.
Helen and Sean are a super fun couple, and I think their photos are a great sign of the images to come during their wedding. They promised me more doughnuts at the wedding, so you know I am game. As I always say, a well-fed photographer tales the best photos.
While we wait for September to roll around, I’ll keep you posted on any developments at Fort Tryon Park. This is my favorite park in all of NYC, and I’m sure the park will look even better after the construction is complete. In particular, I am hopeful that the construction will include repairing the damaged wall of the Cloisters Lawn. This wall juts out so that you can position a couple on the ledge for spectacular photos. Enjoy the images, and I’ll have more photo adventures for you soon!
Interested in scheduling a Fort Tryon Park engagement photo shoot? Drop me a line and let’s talk about your photography needs.
If you would like to view more photos from my engagement photography portfolio, then please visit my website – KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com.