By Siddhi: (Updated Sept 23, 2014)
Who? Anyone who loves photography, filmmaking, music, or the media arts in general and wants to experience a one-of-a-kind, over the top shopping experience in the Great Apple.
What? The B & H Photo and Video Superstore in New York City.
How? The store is located at 420 9th Avenue at 34th Street in Manhattan. Several subway lines stop at 34th street. The most convenient method would be taking the A, C, or E line to the 34th Street station at 8th Avenue and walking from there. You can also take the M34 bus which stops at 9th Avenue right in front of B and H.
Why? The first time I walked into the B & H superstore in New York City, I think my high-school self probably experienced some sort of an adrenaline-induced heart attack. The “super” in the store’s title was in no way overstating the grandeur of the place. This was my birthday, Christmas, and every other exciting holiday of the year combined in the glory of a single multistory building. Sheer wonder for the media junkie.
As I looked above me, conveyor belts carried packages in the air in a labyrinthine motion, as if I was part of the workings of intricately designed clockwork. And that’s exactly what it was. The mega shop has so many background workings to keep it running that you can’t help but look around you in complete awe when something as ordinary as purchasing batteries at a register turns into a complex series of belts, chutes, and complex machinery snaking up and down floors.
If you’re looking for something you haven’t been able to find in other media stores, especially obscure photo and video accessories, chances are B&H will have it (and that too, in abundance). I recently set off to begin shooting a documentary on a rather minimal budget and was looking for specialized audio/video tools that I couldn’t find in any local photography shops. When I walked into B & H, I was led by the first class staff to shelves of accessories manufactured by different brands and suddenly went from fearing for the production of my film to being overwhelmed with just how many possibilities there were.
Walking into the store can most definitely be intimidating, but the staff will work one-on-one with you to tailor your store experience to what’ll most benefit your creative endeavors. It all sounds a bit geeky, but if you’re into any sort of production, the B & H superstore is a nirvana.
Just make sure you have a solid block of time in your schedule (and maybe some money). Because once you walk into the doors of this enchanting domain, leaving is no easy task.