Karsten Staiger is in love with New York. Since the German photographer immigrated to NYC more than 20 years ago, Staiger has been documenting a New York love story like no other – from the rooftops of skyscrapers. He’s adventured, scaled, and even risked his life to capture the intrigue and infatuation of one of the world’s most romantic cities, photographing New York City from above to show off NYC’s unique personality like never before.
Whether it’s capturing that perfect light at sunset from the towering terrace of the W New York – Downtown or observing the heart of the city that never sleeps from the top of W New York – Times Square, Staiger isn’t afraid to climb high and take risks for that perfect shot.
“New York is certainly a love affair,” muses Staiger. “Passionate, but it’s a commitment. You have to work at it. To be a part of the beauty and the struggle you have to give yourself New York completely.”
Having balanced off of rooftops to photograph for other NYC creatives such as John Varvatos, Staiger is now climbing high for his own documentary film interviewing celebrities like Robert Redford on rooftops about why they love NYC. “There’s nothing like New York,” Staiger says, “you can find something new you love every day.”
Read on for the reasons why Staiger is so in love with the city that never sleeps.
NEW YORK IS MYSTERIOUS
“I have my studio in TriBeCa. At night I go out and explore, finding these new parts of Chinatown I’ve never been to. It’s like I’m a tourist in my own city. It’s always exciting to live in a place you are still discovering.”
New York is ALWAYS NEW
“When I’m on a roof I can zoom with my camera in and find so many new places. I find gargoyles on buildings that no one has seen from the street. I see how people live their lives from a different angle. It’s fascinating to watch everyone from above. They are the ones that inspire me.”
new york is romantic
“There are places in the city that feel like Europe that are so romantic. Underground bars, vaulted arches. You suddenly feel transported. But the most romantic places in the city are on the rooftops, seeing a sunset from way up high. I always watch the sky for the best light and then run to find the perfect view.”
NEW YORK WILL ALWAYS CALL YOU BACK
“I came here 21 years ago with two bags, a guitar, $500 and no papers. And I’m still here. The first two years are like a honeymoon where everything is exciting and new. At some point you start a love and hate relationship with New York, sometimes asking yourself why am I here? But then you leave, go on vacation or wherever, and you realize as you are waiting impatiently for your food in a restaurant: you are a New Yorker.”
NEW YORK IS YOURS
“All of New York has a feeling of being. I ask myself every day: Why am I here? It’s because I feel home here. I came to NYC to paint. I would go up to roofs to paint, with my aisle. There is something about the free space, the view, just being alone. It’s cleansing and it’s healing. It’s your city.”