When you think of Central Park, the first things that come to your mind are probably massive crowds of people and warm sunshine. New Jersey-based photographer Michael Massaia, however, stays up late at night to make sure he captures views of the iconic park that few ever witness, and his results are positively haunting.

Back in 2007, Massaia developed a serious case of insomnia. "I sometimes go through long periods of time where I can’t sleep... I would go for long walks..." he told ND Magazine. But rather than seeking medication or therapy, he decided to do something productive with his lucid after-hours; he began photographing the vacant landscapes he came across in large format, using the dawn's faint illumination as his only lighting. Living near the Big Apple, his strolls eventually led him to Central Park, which he shot numerous times between 2008 and 2014.

"The park appears to go through a period of metamorphosis during those late night/early morning hours," he wrote on his official website. "And I was determined to capture it." Taken on black and white film, Massaia's photos truly show Central Park like most of the world has never seen before - empty, isolating, and eerie. Scroll down to see each bone-chilling shot and its location in the park.

More info: Michael Massaia, Facebook, Instagram

#1

Private Gardens, 2013

Private Gardens, 2013

Michael Massaia Report

Lucybaby
Community Member
3 years ago

This is a beautiful shot!

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#2

Southeast View, 2012

Southeast View, 2012

Michael Massaia Report

eco okok
Community Member
3 years ago

i don't feel them terrible to see i find they demonstrate how beatifull can be the calm and darkness. Congrats for your fotography, you are getting the beauty where the most of us don't see them. P.d: If i have any gramatic or ortographic errors please tell because i'm learning english. thanks!

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#3

Gapstow Bridge, 2009

Gapstow Bridge, 2009

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Anne Madag
Community Member
3 years ago

this one is fine, looks peaceful place, I'm still see those lights in a building.

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#4

The Mall, 4 A.m., 2013

The Mall, 4 A.m., 2013

Michael Massaia Report

Anne Madag
Community Member
3 years ago

that trees make me scared.

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#5

South View, 2009

South View, 2009

Michael Massaia Report

Anne Madag
Community Member
3 years ago

so lonely.

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#6

Half Moon, 2009

Half Moon, 2009

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eco okok
Community Member
3 years ago

wow! just woW!

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#7

Northwest View, 2014

Northwest View, 2014

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tiamara azada
Community Member
3 years ago

it's beautiful but it also makes me feel so lonely

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#8

Zoo Entrance, 2012

Zoo Entrance, 2012

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Art Nickel
Community Member
3 years ago

Isn't that the bridge from Home Alone 2?

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#9

5 A.m., European Beech Tree, 2017

5 A.m., European Beech Tree, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

Anne Madag
Community Member
3 years ago

someone is there. Capture-59...3a1519.jpg Capture-59240103a1519.jpg

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#10

Airplane Installation, 2012

Airplane Installation, 2012

Michael Massaia Report

Richard DeArmond
Community Member
3 years ago

Gorgeous.

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#11

North Woods Exit, 2012

North Woods Exit, 2012

Michael Massaia Report

Raquel Bacardi
Community Member
3 years ago

Gorgeous

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#12

Path & San Remo, 2016

Path & San Remo, 2016

Michael Massaia Report

Judy Buczkowski
Community Member
3 years ago

WOW..at this angel there is a person standing on top of a branch squatting and so many other thing in th tree......Love your work

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#13

South Path, 2009

South Path, 2009

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Rich Kearney
Community Member
3 years ago

Hauntingly beautiful..... but it beckons me.

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#14

Westside Sunrise, 2009

Westside Sunrise, 2009

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Gillian Black
Community Member
3 years ago

the different patterns on things made by the sun is amazing

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#15

South View, 2012

South View, 2012

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Diane DesAutels
Community Member
3 years ago

The twisting organic shapes of the trees juxtaposed with the man-made rectangles of the buildings are particularly notable in this shot.

#16

Bow Bridge Predawn, 2012

Bow Bridge Predawn, 2012

Michael Massaia Report

Gillian Black
Community Member
3 years ago

wow

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#17

Sheep Meadow Sunrise, 2012

Sheep Meadow Sunrise, 2012

Michael Massaia Report

Abby Rexroth
Community Member
3 years ago

The city looks like a castle in the mist.

#18

Clock Installation, 2016

Clock Installation, 2016

Michael Massaia Report

Anne Madag
Community Member
3 years ago

12:00 midnight. time for creepy!

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#19

Hallet Sanctuary, 2009

Hallet Sanctuary, 2009

Michael Massaia Report

Anne Madag
Community Member
3 years ago

a haunted hotel?

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#20

January Dawn, 2017

January Dawn, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

Sally Drury
Community Member
3 years ago

It looks as cold as it must feel.

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#21

Center Path, 2009

Center Path, 2009

Michael Massaia Report

#22

Zoo Entrance, 2016

Zoo Entrance, 2016

Michael Massaia Report

#23

Predawn, London Planetrees

Predawn, London Planetrees

Michael Massaia Report

Sally Drury
Community Member
3 years ago

Oooh! Love the light and shadow play.

#24

Pre-dawn, The Rambles, 2012

Pre-dawn, The Rambles, 2012

Michael Massaia Report

#25

South View, 2010

South View, 2010

Michael Massaia Report

#26

January Dawn, 2017

January Dawn, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

Gillian Black
Community Member
3 years ago

well it must be safe there as you lived to show us these beautiful photos

#27

5th Ave. Exit, 2009

5th Ave. Exit, 2009

Michael Massaia Report

cinecalidad
Community Member
3 years ago

lonely place, no one sees :o

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#28

Summer Solstice, 2016

Summer Solstice, 2016

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#29

First Spring, 2017

First Spring, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

#30

Second Spring, 2017

Second Spring, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

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#31

Central Park

Central Park

Michael Massaia Report

#32

Night Fall, The Ramble, 2017

Night Fall, The Ramble, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

Luciana Parazzi Basile
Community Member
3 years ago

Beautiful photographs. I don't think they are haunting at all! Thank you for sharing.

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#33

Central Park

Central Park

Michael Massaia Report

George Foster
Community Member
3 years ago

WOW, these are all so fantastic ... I hope and pray you will make a book of them ... so very great !!!!!!!

Roo Bookaroo
Community Member
3 years ago

Very haunting pics. I know the park very well having run all over (only in full day light), and in some shots I could not identify the exact location. It would be nice to go over all the captions and add a more descriptive legend showing exactly where that part of the park is located, at least by reference to the side streets on the East and West Side, and the direction of view. Saying "East Side exit" is not enough. Which side street? Saying "view to the South" is not enough. Where are we in this shot? etc.For Central Pk lovers the legends here are not indicative enough.

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Warren Newcomb
Community Member
3 years ago

the title of this art expose is wrong...its so far from haunting but deeply enriching when it shakes the mind from the past. I lived on 75th/central park west...no matter how busy and congested the city can be a night walk especially before and after a dusting of snow you fell the calm and quietness of inner peace.. you could actually hear the snowflakes dropping and it takes you into another world.. these photos opened the door of my mind to what the city was before the gentrification boom. and of course you could walk the park anytime day or night... its all changed now and how you manage to bring this gift and this is a gift with all the rules of park restrictions.... and you manage not to show one iota of graffiti....bless you an million times for this extravaganza...warren r. newcomb

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#34

East Side Exit, 2009

East Side Exit, 2009

Michael Massaia Report

#35

January Dawn, 2017

January Dawn, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

#36

4 A.m., Path & Eldorado, 2017

4 A.m., Path & Eldorado, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

#37

January Dawn, 2017

January Dawn, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

#38

January Dawn, 2017

January Dawn, 2017

Michael Massaia Report

Kathryn Sutherland
Community Member
3 years ago

You see the ghosts of past generations strolling along the paths. Time stands still.

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