Beyond a few short jaunts on Metro-North weekly, and an occasional Amtrak train to Philadelphia, I haven’t been on trains very frequently this year. I have, on the other hand, been to LaGuardia Airport too many times. Plenty of people seem to have little love for that airport, but I don’t really mind it. Though the newly built sections and renovations are actually quite attractive, my favorite part about the airport tends to be the views you get while in the air.

Subway tiles and mosaics at the new LaGuardia Airport. Many New York landmarks are reproduced in tile, including the Pegasus constellation from Grand Central’s ceiling.

I always try my best to snag a window seat on the left side for takeoff, and the right side for landing, with my camera nearby. When it comes to capturing photos, there’s often a bit of luck involved—from the flight pattern to the amount of gunk on the window—but I find it interesting to survey the city from above. Due to its proximity to the airport, spotting Hell Gate Bridge is always a good bet. Other times you’ll find yourself paralleling the Hudson, with views of High Bridge Yard, Yankee Stadium, Central Park, and Manhattan’s skyscrapers. Other times you’ll fly over Coney Island, and spot Long Island Rail Road trains near Woodside.

Here’s a collection of some of my favorite photos taken in-flight, spotting the trains and tracks from the air. All have been captured within the past year, from at least six different flights through LaGuardia.

6 Responses

  1. Fred M. Cain says:


    Nice pictures from the air ! However, you stated at the beginning of your post that you “haven’t been on trains very frequently this year”. Huh? I thought you were working for Amtrak the last I knew. What happened? Did the lay you off during the pandemic? Or, maternity leave perhaps? I have read that Amtrak is severely short of help.

    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN

    • Emily says:

      Hi Fred! Yes, Amtrak laid me off during the pandemic. A few months later I landed a job with a fantastic engineering firm, and have been with them just over a year now. If Amtrak claims they are short of help, I would take it with a grain of salt, as such problems may be of their own creation. Employment in management (anyone that doesn’t have a contract / not part of a union) is a nonstop revolving door. In my five years I saw two buyouts to get higher paid, longer tenured employees to leave, multiple rounds of layoffs, times where you essentially had to reinterview for your own job, and a reorg of personnel every single time anyone from the outside was hired at the department level or higher to facilitate bringing in their contacts that they trusted (at least once a year). In total, I reported to seven different people while there – one time my boss quit, another time she was demoted, other times I was just being reorged to different teams, etc. After Boardman left Amtrak has been guided by people that have had little intention of staying very long, my only hope is that this dysfunctional behavior will diminish with stable leadership, which I assume that Stephen Gardner can provide, as he strikes me as the type that will want to try and stay there long term.

  2. Al Brecken says:

    Great work (as usual ) Emily; the “Historical American Engineering Record”, Library of Congress. “Search” for “Hell Gate Bridge ” and enjoy aerial photos of this majestic engineering achievement. I transfer these images into my “flashdrive” and post them on Facebook groups

  3. Rich Carthew says:

    Hey Emily,
    Thanks for sharing – great atmospheric images of the City and surrounds!
    The clarity is really good, considering the light has to travel between the thick outer window, the air gap and the inner window before entering your lens. What type of camera are you using? – I’m also assuming there’s no polarizing filter used as in my experience, those add oily diffraction colors into the images. Well done!

  4. Lee says:

    Wow, neat photos. They illustrate the incredible high density of New York City–houses and tall buildings jammed together.

  5. Ran Barton says:

    Lovely collection of pictures, Emily. Pictures from airliners are hard to pull off, so you should be proud of these.

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