The City of New York asked city dwellers to submit their best snapshots of the Big Apple in its first Facebook photo contest, #lovenyc.

Now the city has released its top 10 photo choices — and wants you to vote for your favorite photo by April 15.

Mashable got an early look at the 10 images in the above gallery, which were chosen by a panel of judges.

“We already knew New Yorkers were incredibly creative and expressive, but we could never have imagined how beautiful the body of submissions was,” says Rachel Sterne, City of New York chief digital officer and #lovenyc contest judge. “The photos show what New Yorkers love about the city, from an inside perspective.”

Sterne estimates half of the photos submitted were shot by professional or conventional cameras and half were shot by smartphones (some of which were edited with apps). The contest encouraged photographers to filter their photos with tools such as Instagram and Hipstamatic.

The photo contest is the first crowdsourced social media initiative from the recently launched NYC Gov channels, which aggregate content from the city’s roughly 250 social media accounts. Sterne hopes the contest will provide a template for what will be monthly digital initiatives designed to increase community engagement.

Other cities have expressed interest in replicating the #lovenyc photo contest, Sterne says, though they are yet to be announced.

In addition to Sterne, the judges included Spencer Tucker, director of the mayor’s City Hall photography unit; Willy Wong, chief creative officer at NYC & Company; Jen Bekman, founder and CEO of 20×200; and Mal Sherlock, Instagram photographer @fashion.

There’s a fun prize at stake for the winner — a day as NYC’s official Instagrammer — which will include covering an event with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The winning photo will also be displayed on a Times Square billboard and be featured on the NYC Gov Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Which photo is your favorite? What do you think of NYC’s use of a social photo context to encourage urban exploration?




Robert Caputo




Stefan Johansson




Alexis Lamster




Charles Mintz




Kenji Mori




Brian Podolsky




Jamie Verderame




Milton Washington




Tim Young




Steven Jackson