The Excel itinerary – check! Bike tires have air – check! Helmets on – check! Time to explore roofs – at last, it’s Open House New York weekend!
Open House New York (OHNY) is one weekend each October when scores of landmark buildings and institutions throughout the five boroughs open their doors – and occasionally their rooftops – to the public. This year’s offerings: Nine rooftops in total. Three I have already written about* so we had two days to cover six roofs in three boroughs.
We cycled to midtown and found a new construction luxury apartment building, 505 W. 37th Street. Krista, the project architect, took us up to the 36th floor rooftop and let us battle the high winds and enjoy the city and river views from this exclusive perch. We also enjoyed the elevated gardens on the second floor where we didn’t get the same views, but we didn’t have to contend with being whipped around by gusts of wind either.
Back on the bikes and down to the six-week-new boutique Hotel Americano on W 27th Street. They have a wonderful little outdoor rooftop pool that is somewhere between a plunge pool and a very short lap lane. From the other side of the roof deck, we were just west of the High Line and got a great bird’s eye view of it.
We donned our helmets and crossed the Manhattan Bridge, but because of maintenance, were diverted from the northern exposure bike lane to the southern promenade, usually designated for pedestrians only. I had not previously seen these southern views of the DUMBO neighborhood below so when I spied a gorgeous rooftop tennis court, I hit the bike brakes and stopped to take pictures. The Excel spreadsheet allowed no time for diversions so I promised myself that as soon as I got home, I would Google my way to the exact address. Rest assured, I found it and there will be more on the DUMBO roof tennis court in a future blog.
Across the East River in Brooklyn, nestled on the border of Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant is the Pratt Institute, a prestigious art and design school with buildings dating back to the 1800s. In contrast to that, their recently opened administrative building, Myrtle Hall, just earned a LEED Gold designation. With some disappointment we learned that the tour included only a view through a window of one of the building’s green roof areas, an efficient trays system planted with sedum. We were not given permission to go out on this roof or to see the other roof elevations designed with three things that earn LEED points: more sedum to reduce storm water runoff and insulate the building, some reflective white paint to keep the building cool during summer and photovoltaic solar arrays that generate energy to keep Myrtle Hall humming. We were told about more interesting roofs on this building than we were allowed to see, but the serendipity of spotting the rooftop tennis court made the ride over the river completely worthwhile.
Back in the saddle to lower Manhattan, North of Little Italy (NoLIta), to the Nolitan, another brand-new Manhattan boutique hotel, this one open for just two and a half weeks! After checking out some very hip rooms, we were taken to their still-being-worked-on 4,000 square foot roof deck and allowed to enjoy the dead center view across the Williamsburg Bridge and the classically styled rotunda of the Police Building in Little Italy. After a coffee and some homemade tiramisu at Epistrophy, a great bistro around the corner, night was falling and it was time to pedal home.
Check back soon for more on day two of OHNY roof exploring.
*Eagle Street Roof Farm in Brooklyn, the Arsenal on the edge of Central Park and PS 333 on W. 93rd Street where the high-tech hydroponic/aquaponic roof farm sits atop K-8 classrooms are the three OHNY rooftops I’ve previously shared with you on Looking up with Leslie.