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New York City might not be the first place to consider when planning a little road trip to enjoy the scenery; with the hustle and bustle of one the world’s largest metropolises, the East Coast city isn’t exactly ideal. especially in something as potent as a Ferrari 458 Spider.
However, that’s something that failed to deter a team made up of Virgin Atlantic and luxury car specialist Imagine Lifestyles, with New York-based photographer Hunter Williams documenting the result of a New York road trip that took in many of the iconic city’s landscapes, as well as its boroughs.
What has to be remembered about New York is that its surrounding areas offer so much more freedom than the hub of the city. The city’s skyline, in fact, is probably best viewed from across the Hudson, while there are many more locations on the outskirts of NYC itself that bring so much to the area’s vibe.
Taking in such backdrops as Brooklyn Bridge, Liberty State Park and the Met Stadium, Williams as a photographer was certainly in his element.
Explaining why adding such an exotic car such as the 458 Spider to the shoot showcased New York’s features, Williams said: “Driving around in an exotic car such as the Ferrari 458 Spider contributed an epic sense to my adventure around New York City. It allowed me to more easily capture eye catching elements in the background and in the foreground. Especially in Liberty State Park, the red Ferrari stood out against the green fields and the clear blue sky.
“It was fun to see people’s expressions as we slowly passed them – it was almost as if I became somewhat of a tourist attraction myself. While photographing the city, people would come up to me and start conversations about the car and the city. The experience was all around a much more fun time.”
Given one of the most sublime city scares to work with, Williams was handed a myriad of shooting locations, but despite such abundant choice, he was able to pinpoint his favourite spots: “Driving through DUMBO (Brooklyn Bridge Park) in the Ferrari was an amazing experience. The convertible-style car was just pure fun.
“Shooting the car was particularly challenging (as there’s not many places to park it), but I enjoyed jumping out of the car to fire off some shots against the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge backdrop. Many people don’t realise that the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are only a couple blocks apart- both are just as beautiful. I can see myself taking multiple drives down the East River given more time to enjoy the car!”
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Owner of Imagine Lifestyles, Ryan Safady, expanded on the choice of locations for the shoot: “We wanted to hit some major sites in and around NYC. NYC is one of the best backdrops for our vehicles and we have a lot of clients that rent from us in and around the city. We choose the Statue of Liberty along with the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges as they are iconic in NYC as well perfect skyline shots showing one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Like London, New York has become somewhat of a place to show off your metal, with the city having a particularly distinctive car culture. Safady’s business looks to have added to this: “The NYC luxury and exotic rental market is great. There are tons of people that want to rent a exotic sports car for getaways to Hamptons in the summer, people who want to rent luxury SUVs for ski tips in the winter along with those for special occasions: Fathers day, birthdays, anniversaries or just because you want to have a fun day.”
On what people tend to hire from Imagine, Safady added: “That is a tough question. Everyone loves Ferrari and Lamborghini as they are popular in all locations. We have a 65 Shelby Cobra that is more popular in the NYC area than our other locations along with Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls Royce Phantom. When the weather picks up our Stingray Corvette and Porsche 911, along with our Aston Martin, become very popular. For SUVs, most prefer the Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne and Cadillac Escalade.”
Having access to such models does give Safady and his team the ability to really make someone’s day, but some aren’t as fortunate to get behind the wheel of something so exotic – if anything at all – but that hasn’t stopped Imagine Lifestyles from helping them.
“We were having our Exotic Car Autocross event in Boston at Gillette Stadium,” Safady explains, “and a van pulled up with 6 people ready to take advantage of getting in a Ferrari or Lamborghini. All 6 people had a severe multiple sclerosis and were wheel chair bound. We assisted their staff and carried each person into the vehicle and they all had the best Pro-ride (ride-along) of their lives. It was exciting. We also had moments like this with different organisations such as Make a wish.
“The smiles on people’s faces when they get a car delivered to them as a surprise from their significant other. They go outside and we pull out the vehicle and they cannot believe it is their car to drive.”
Take a look below at the route taken by Hunter Williams and Imagine Lifestyles, and on a personal note, as an individual visiting New York itself in just over a week’s time, I seriously can’t wait to see these locations in person.