One of my favorite things to do when I lived in New York is to grab my camera and take a walk. So much amusement is to be had for free wearing your shoe leather out in the concrete jungle.
The same holds true when I'm being a tourist there. It's so big and overwhelming, I feel like I need a lens to be able to break down the landscape into scenes to be able to understand the city better.
I'm not sure if any other city has a higher skyline as New York. It just keeps getting bigger. Even in my 8 months away, there was a noticeable bump of stilted dwellings. Paris has but one skyscraper- a huge, monolithic black office tower- that is the only real interruption in the landscape aside from the graceful ironwork of the eiffel tower. So much in New York is seen by looking up, as most New Yorkers spend the majority of their lives living and working well above ground.
Very little of old New York still exists. Instead of preserving landmarks, New York generally knocks them flat in the name of progress. Not necessarily a bad thing...it's just what New York does.
Occasionally, you can spy a marker on buildings letting the world know what or who has existed beforehand. Both the East and West Village has long been a place for artist of all types to live cheaply, inspire and create. Now that it's so expensive to live there, only very wealthy, well-established artist seem to live in the area. The ghost of New York is no longer the soulful artist, but an investment banker with money to burn.