Outdoor engagement session in Gantry Park in Long Island City. Photo by OkCrowe Photography.

June 12, 2024

A Lovely Engagement Session in Long Island City | Melissa + Josh

Your engagement session should be all about you and your partner. It should show your unique personalities and style while also creating even more memories for you to look back on in the years to come. For Melissa + Josh, they wanted their engagement session to really highlight the special parts of their love story. So, we worked together to create a lovely engagement session by the Long Island City waterfront that truly represented them as a couple.

A Meet-Cute at JFK International Airport

Melissa + Josh’s love story is a whirlwind romance set against the busy, urban backdrop of New York City. And it all began during a chance meeting in JFK.

Back in January 2016, both Melissa and Josh were traveling abroad during their college years. Although the two had never met before, they happened to be traveling in the same direction and started talking while waiting for their flight. The bonding continued overseas as they explored far-off lands together. From there, it was a rollercoaster ride of long-distance love with Melissa living in the suburbs of NYC and Josh states away in Chicago. 

During Josh’s senior year, he received an accounting internship which brought him to Downtown Manhattan’s Financial District close to where Melissa had also just gotten her first apartment. Ever since then, the two have shared apartments all over New York City before finally settling down in a beautiful, river view apartment in Long Island City, Queens. It’s here that they started to lay down their roots and settle in and also where Josh would later propose. Melissa was on her way home from work on the coldest day of winter. As she hopped off the ferry, Josh was there to meet her already down on one knee. Of course, she said ‘yes’ and ever since then, the two of them (and their dog, Pepper!) have been eagerly anticipating all of the adventures they’ll have next. 

Choosing a Special Location for Your Engagement Session

When it comes to planning your engagement session, couples always ask me to suggest locations that would look great for the shoot. However, even though there are several amazing places in NYC for engagement sessions, there’s never one exact spot that I can fully call my favorite. 

My favorite photos are the ones inspired by a couple’s personal moments and locations that are special to them. So, while I can make suggestions whenever needed, I prefer to ask my couples if there’s a particular spot that’s special to them. Sure, pretty scenery and cool architecture make fabulous photos, but the places that hold warm memories of your lives together always end up being the most sentimental and special.

Since moving to Long Island City, Melissa + Josh have truly fallen in love with the bustling little corner of Queens that they call home. With Gantry Park and the waterfront just a short walk away from their apartment, it was only fitting that their engagement session take place around their neighborhood. Their dog, Pepper, even made a guest appearance during the first half of their session! Pepper has been such a huge part of their lives and having her tag along added an adorable layer of joy and authenticity to their photos.

Engagement Session in Gantry Park

On the day of their session, I met Melissa, Josh, and Pepper by the Gantry Park ferry stop. Gantry Park is known as the ‘Jewel of Long Island City’ and offers a serene escape from the busy urban life. With tons of green spaces and manicured walkways and gardens, it’s both a wonderful spot for a romantic date and an enchanting engagement session. 

Gantry Park borders the East River and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike because of its spectacular views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State Building and the United Nations. The park gets its name from the historic gantries that were once used to load and unload cargo from ships. Now, however, the gantries have been repurposed into huge structures of public art that serve as a wonderful frame for capturing photos of the skyline and the neighborhood’s industrial history. 

For Melissa + Josh, the park has become a staple in their lives. They walk Pepper there every day and have spent countless hours just strolling through hand in hand. We spent the first half of their session wandering their favorite places around the park, including walking along the waterfront with the skyline and river in the background and meandering through the walkways where the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. We even got pictures in front of the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign where Pepper enjoyed rolling through the grass and making Melissa + Josh laugh as they lovingly watched the antics of their silly pup. 

Afterward, we took the short walk back to the couple’s apartment snapping casual, candid photos throughout their neighborhood streets along the way. When we reached their apartment, we took advantage of the amazing view off their balcony. Their balcony overlooked the river with Roosevelt Island and the Manhattan skyline just beyond. With such an amazing view literally at their door, it’s no wonder how Melissa + Josh fell in love with and in this beautiful city. 

Walking Through Long Island City

Once Pepper was snuggled up in her bed after her long walk, Melissa + Josh took the opportunity to do an outfit change before the second half of their session. Now dressed in slightly warmer clothes to fend off the cool evening breeze, we headed back out into Long Island City. 

As lovers of good food and cocktails, the two led the way from their apartment to their favorite pub. They settled down in a cozy little corner booth where I was able to capture adorable pictures of them cuddled up together with drinks in their hands and soft light pouring in through the large window. A few of their friends stopped by to say hello before we headed back out towards Gantry Park once more. 

When Josh was planning his proposal to Melissa, he originally wanted to do it on the ferry itself. The two ride the ferry nearly every day to get to and from work, making it the best place to pop the question. However, because it was a particularly windy day, he had (very valid!) concerns about dropping the ring overboard and proposed on the ferry landing instead. 

Even though their proposal hadn’t gone as Josh originally planned, we were able to make up for it during their engagement session. We ended the evening by hopping aboard the ferry and taking beautiful romantic shots of the two of them with the salt wind blowing through their hair and loving smiles on their faces.

Are you dreaming of a personalized and sentimental engagement session like Melissa + Josh’s? I’d be honored to help you plan it!

Hey y’all! I’m Rachael Crowe of OkCrowe Photography. I’m a wedding and engagement photographer based right here in New York City but I’m always ready to travel wherever you need me to be! I absolutely love helping my couples plan their dream wedding or engagement session. It’s always such a joy to see their vision come to life both in person and in the photos that they’ll cherish forever. If you’re looking for a photographer for your engagement or your wedding, be sure to reach out! Just head to my contact form, and let’s make your vision become a reality! 

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