Searching for interesting roofs is such a great way to get to know the off-the-beaten track New York City. Last week, I found myself on the 7 train out of Grand Central Station heading to an industrial section of Queens called Long Island City. It’s an area that is full of warehouses, manufacturing and yellow taxi garages. It is home to a ConEdison power plant and the birthplace of the Sopranos and Gossip Girl at Silvercup Studios. In the shadow of the Queensboro/59th Street cantilevered 1909 bridge, Long Island City, for all its modest, low-rise industrial buildings, has a waterfront view over the East River of midtown Manhattan that is postcard perfect. That’s where we LOOKED UP and discovered the gorgeous grapevine covered building known as The Foundry.
Years ago, Tim and Dagne DuVal bought this dilapidated, roofless 19th century metal foundry with views of the 59th Street Bridge and Manhattan. They meticulously and tastefully restored and reinvented it. It now home to a bakery, a catering business and a plant nursery as well as serving as their uber-cool, luxury New York residence. The gorgeous indoor and outdoor spaces are for rent for events and photo shoots. After oohing and ahhing over the spectacular archways of the interior architecture, Julie, who manages events for the DuVals, took us to the first outdoor roof garden. As we inhaled the intoxicating scent of chocolate chip cookies from the bakery ovens below, we had spectacular views of Manhattan from this very stylish rooftop, designed for weddings and events.
The 19th century brick walls of the Foundry are entirely covered in grapevines as one overlooks the interior cobblestoned courtyard. Clever use of mirrors makes the space seem larger than it is. There are two water features and several patios at different elevations on this section of roof, creating an interesting event space with endless possibilities. Very nice, but the best was yet to come.
The DuVals have created a lush and magical private terrace outside their residential loft with west facing views of Midtown Manhattan. Flowering shrubs, succulents, a fountain and several private sitting areas create an urban oasis. Although this is their private garden, it is often used, in conjunction with their state of the art kitchen, for filming cooking shows. This garden proves that paradise can be found in New York City; you just have to know where to look. Modest Long Island City required me to LOOK UP to find her tucked away urban beauty.
There will be much more on Long Island City and its fabulous green roofs in future blogs, but next time I want to tell you about my NYC roof gardens Meet-Up group.