This shot is a threat to the security of the United States

This security paranoia is becoming really tiresome.


A few weeks, ago, a magnificent new steel and glass ferry terminal opened on the west side of Manhattan, serving commuters across the Hudson river to New Jersey. It was designed by the architects William Bodouva & Associates, and was hailed by most of the city's architecture critics as a dazzling new addition to New York's incomparable skyline.


But of course, you can't take photographs of it. After all, you might be a terrorist.


The $56m structure has been ingeniously wrapped around possibly the ugliest structure in the city - a massive brick ventilation shaft for the Lincoln commuter car tunnel below. It really is the most splendid space, a long pavilion filled with air and light. There's an elevated walkway on the river side, with a tiny but brilliant splash of colour in a trio of bright blue plastic loungers for waiting passengers to enjoy the view.


But of course you mustn't take photographs. After all, you might be a terrorist.


There's no sign forbidding photography, however, and I wandered along the walkway snapping to my heart's content. Then a large security guard sprinted up the stairs and ordered me to halt. Many of you are familiar with this kind of discussion. There's no point in arguing. He's just obeying orders. And you're on private property.


My only question is this: why does the New York Port Authority (or whichever municipal body built the place) spend $56m of the public's money on an expensive avant garde architect who builds a beautiful Modernist structure that they don't want anyone to look at ? Why didn't they just build a $5m concrete bunker underground ?


There are now countless locations in New York where you will be harrassed if you attempt to take a photograph. But rest assured that there are also plenty of photographers in the city who will quietly continue to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression - whatever the idiot security twerps say.



  • Ashi Fachler PRO 7y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Photography is not a crime, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.
  • Waterford_Man PRO 7y

    Beautiful Capture !!!

    Please add your photo to the group
    Paths (Caminhos)
  • StephaniefromSeattle 7y

    I work security and I can let you know that as a security person who has taken terrorism classes - The rules about photography aren't about stopping art. The rules are about trying to make it so terrorists can't do extensive research of targets without having to leave their laptops. Photos taken of targets and posted on the internet can make it a snap for whackos to figure out how to destroy that thing you think is so pretty you want to take a photo of it.

    It's about safety of persons and property - and protecting the beauty around / our way of life - when a security person approaches you and asks you to please not photograph a potential target. It's sad that our world has gotten like this. It's sad that some few twisted people make us have to take such massive precautions- but think of it this way - would you feel safer if the security just didn't care??

    If it's not too much can I ask that you guys try to think of the security not as your enemy but as your staff trying to protect the beauty around. Some security personnel love taking photos just as much as you!
  • Atomische * Tom Giebel PRO 7y

    Terrorism classes? If security guards really are taking such classes, I would hope they would balance them with a few constitution and law classes.

    I was recently (8/22/08) on a city street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that dead-ended on the waterfront. While taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, a security guard came running and screaming at me: "NO PHOTOS ACROSS THE WATER BECAUSE OF 9/11!"

    She did not care about any of the rules, the fact that I was on public property (she left her post to yell at me) , and so forth. She only cared about stopping art.
  • Fasolatido 7y

    How can we(photographers) pose a threat to national security if you can just go on Google Street View and see pretty much any building in any major city. It's a friggen double standard.
  • ADW44 7y

    Good story and we've all experienced it!
  • Tucker_G 7y

    Those are all very engaging stories. I'm sure there are others with bad intentions that agree with you too. That's the base issue. Why don't you take some photos in Tehran or Damascus and see how free you are there?
  • Peter Manzari PRO 7y

    We're not in Damascus or Tehran. We are in the United States. Are we so meek that we are threatened by people with cameras? As I recall, terrorists hit the WTC with airplanes, yet we do not ban air travel. The terrorists communicated via cell phone and email, yet we do not ban those. Why are photographers sigled out? It just a grand gesture so that weak minded people think that the government is actually doing something.
  • Tucker_G 7y

    What’s wrong with a photo of the ventilation shaft for the Lincoln commuter car tunnel?
    Naiveté is the sanctuary of the weak minded. The world has changed. We can no longer train anyone who has the money to fly jumbo jets. You simply can’t ignore those who stay here on expired visas. I love the composition, color and character of the photo too. But isn’t it naïve to not question if it could jeopardize security?
  • Peter Manzari PRO 7y

    Actually, there is nothing wrong with a picture of a ventilation shaft. If the shaft is in full view of the public, a photo, or for that matter a pencil sketch or a detailed description from memory is not, in and of itself, dangerous. This photo is of a walkway where hundreds of people pass every day. It is not a secret location. Do we redraw maps to hide locations of infrastructure (the Soviet Union did that)
  • Zoe Delay 7y

    Hallo, ich bin der Administrator der Gruppe 100.000 Views, und wir würden uns freuen, wenn Du dies zu unserer Gruppe hinzufügen würdest.
  • vkrippen 6y

    You can't have a go at the people doing their jobs. Security is there to protect us. I tell people they can't take photos where I work. I'm sick of the whinging I get. At least there's a reason to why you can't take the photo.
  • Danny Liv 6y

    The reason being, they've got something to hide and they think I actually care about their sordid little secrets. If it wasn't them it would be someone else, and you'd still be working for them. Still, better that than the traditional "I was only obeying orders" defence.

    If you don't want "shot" at you shouldn't join up. So, since you are averse to whingeing I suggest you keep drawing your little wage and smile for the camera.

    What are americans supposed to think when the president who has taken the oath of office to protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic, comes up with a plan which will absolutely put this nation at a major risk?

    What are we supposed to think? Let me say that there are many thoughts about this decision being weighed in the minds of millions of americans at this very moment. What an assinine idea: It is unbelievable. It is beyond imagination. It is totaly outrageous and an insult to the american people. Charity is wonderful. Let us save it for the downtrodden americans whose only sins are too much substance abuse.

    How many of our tax dollars will be given to these thugs? In my opinion and the opinion of millions of others, this is grounds for a congressional investigation. I want to know who is putting these subversive ideas into the mind of the man we elected president?

    And now, the names of the cia agents who questioned these thugs, these vermin, are made public. Whoever did this should be tried for giving aid to the enemy.

    It is obvious that this outrageous idea was drafted by obama and his close associates. Therefore, if these men are flown back to dc, it is only proper and fitting that these detainees scheduled for release in the united states be released within the beltway, somewhere near their benefactors and those that have so much humanity to spread around on these thugs, these murdering and vile individuals who hate american children as much as they hate americans of all ages and colors.

    If these thugs are released, release them near the white house, perhaps inside the white house. At least the secret service will be able to keep an eye on them.

    Mr. President, if you release them in the american homeland, you need to remember your oath of office. If they are released in america and cause the loss of one life, there will be some legal ramifications that will begin that will take the focus off of the economy, for sure.
  • Danny Liv 6y

    I'd have thought that proving causality of any future events would be a pretty tall order given a half-decent defence attorney, and it IS all about the law, isn't it? Or so you say.

    Further to which, quite how Mr. O's actions agreeable to you or otherwise ramify from a picture taken in 2005 when Mr Bush had 3 years remaining in office is not immediately obvious.

    While I disagree with the lady 3 posts up at least she kept to the point.
  • G. Sommerfeldt 6y

    Private property is private property, but buildings and sites owned by the government, and publicly accessible are not that.
    Everyone needs to stand up for their rights, but do it the right way...

    Check out this page; - an "article titled "Photo, Film and the Security Divide".
  • PredictorX 5y

    1. Nice shot!

    2. Good for you: Fight the good fight.
  • Kent Smith PRO 5y

    I have experienced this myself. Last year I was shooting just outside of our local sewer treatment plant for Livermore, California (I know, it is a hotbed for terrorists). Within 5 minutes of my arrival a cop pulled up and questioned me. He spent 10 minutes asking what I was doing photographing a sewer treatment plant. I guess some people don't realize all the cool things you can see in a sewer treatment plant.
    IMG_5163-b3 Red Meets Yellow Welded Rusted Steel
    In the end he did not ask me to leave, but he was sure to get my name and address in case I stole some sewage later I guess.
  • mountain-sea PRO 3y

    LOL Come to China, everybody takes pics here at all places and nobody asks boring questions.

  • Cairlinn PRO 1y

    I lived in Northern Ireland through 30 years of "The Troubles", taking thousands of photos of buildings around Belfast and other trouble spots. Nobody ever tried to stop me or challenge me on security grounds, even though the place was crawling with police and Army. I was not a terrorist and not a threat to anyone. I fail to understand the logic behind the past decade of "no photography" paranoia; especially when the governments on both sides of the Atlantic have been illegally spying into every facet of our lives 24/7. Its all just a security company money-making bandwagon. I suppose they have to justify themselves somehow, Its fear and not sex, which sells these days. And its costing us a fortune in money and liberty.
183 faves
Taken on November 9, 2005
  • ƒ/11.0
  • 85.0 mm
  • 1/50
  • 200
  • Show EXIF
This photo is in 6 groups
This photo is in 1 album
  • NYC 320 items
This photo is in 1 gallery

Additional info

  • Viewing this photo Public
  • Safety level of this photo Safe
  • S Search
    Photo navigation
    < > Thumbnail navigation
    Z Zoom
    B Back to context