New York Through the Lens of the Leica Sofort

We shot the city’s architectural gems with the brand’s first instant camera. Here are the results.
In New York City, crowds are harder to find in the early morning. That makes it the most opportune time to look up and to take in the city’s various hues, details, and contradictions. We tasked New York-based writer Kate Donnelly with capturing her favorite examples of the city’s architecture with the new Leica Sofort instant camera.

With its instant film camera, Leica offers a nostalgic eye onto the world, and New York’s diverse architecture serves as the perfect milieu to tell a story through a series of luminous photographic treasures.
Frank Gehry’s IAC Building
Just off the West Side Highway, in Chelsea, architect Frank Gehry’s first building in New York is a puffy, cloud-like experiment sheathed in glass—a floaty mix of white windows that appear to be hovering like a sailing vessel at sea.

Jean Nouvel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue
For an exercise in stark contrast, next door to Gehry’s IAC Building is French architect Jean Nouvel’s glass-and-steel structure of irregular rectangles, colors, and shapes. In the morning light and later in the evening, the building acts as a study in shadow and reflection.

The High Line
The popular elevated park the High Line is already a photographer’s dream. But here, a shot gives way to an overcast day where the iconic Empire State building looms on one side, and in the foreground, contemporary glass buildings are intermixed with wild flowers and dry brush.

The Standard High Line
For a reprieve from the crowds of the Meatpacking district, the red doors of the Standard Grill pop, and welcome those looking for oysters and wine alongside strong coffee and espressos.

SoHo Lofts
The benefits of looking up! Without a shortage of landmarks, SoHo’s grand cast-iron buildings exhibit a canvas of colors and shapes against an azure sky.

Silk Exchange Building
The narrow Silk Exchange Building, in SoHo, stands gleaming against the clouds. Constructed in 1895, it’s an exercise in turn-of-the-century baroque ornamentation.

Katz’s Deli
On the Lower East Side, Katz’s Delicatessen rests under unmistakable retro pink neon signage. Although old New York is fading rapidly, this iconic institution—built on corned beef, pastrami, and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm—lives on.

The hustle of Chinatown emerges in piles of costume jewelry, stacks of produce, and perpetually packed streets. With unmistakable character, the action never stops and the red and yellow colors never fade.

New York’s storefront psychics beckon passersby with their crystal balls and promises of vast fortunes. This is a tribute to human credulity’s role in the city’s genetic makeup.

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