NYC’s Summer Rooftop Culture Explosion

In the last few days, I’ve been to a “Rooftop Reading Series,” “Poetry from the Rooftops” and a full-production play, “Slowgirl,” at the fabulous new LCT3 Claire Tow Theater, which was built on the roof of the Beaumont Theater.

View from the green roof of the Claire Tow Theater overlooking Lincoln Center

The Rooftop Reading Series was above the 5th floor of a building near the corner of 23rdStreet and Fifth Avenue.  During the five short play readings, which happened to be excellent, a hundred or so spectators had close-up views of splendid architectural detail from the beloved Flatiron building, plus a bonus of terrific views of the Met Life buildings in Madison Square Park.

First Annual Rooftop Reading Series on 23rd Street near 5th Avenue

Poetry from the Rooftops 2012, an annual series, is taking place in one of the gorgeous roof gardens atop the Arsenal at E. 64thStreet and Fifth Avenue.  There is one more reading scheduled for this year so put it on your calendar:  September 13 at 6:30 p.m.  I’d suggest you get there early as the rooftop capacity is only 115 souls.  Three poets selected by the Academy of American Poets read their works while the audience sips complementary wine from plastic cups.  When I attended in July, the poetry was graphic and overtly sexual; last night it was political and sentimental.  Who knows what the September reading will bring.  Come with an open mind and enjoy the views over Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

Ariana Reines at Poetry from the Rooftops 2012

Finally, I’m thrilled to tell you about the brand-new Claire Tow Theater in Lincoln Center.  This 112-seat rooftop venue, where every ticket is $20, is state-of-the-art, plus it has a gorgeous outdoor deck and sedum green roof where you can enjoy drinks and snacks (that are less expensive than at other Lincoln Center venues) before and after the play.  I strongly recommend going early and staying late, especially if you have perfect weather as I did the night I went.  At the moment, the only way to get to this amazing roof deck that overlooks the Henry Moore sculpture and the green roof atop the Lincoln Restaurant as well as Avery Fisher Hall and the rest of Lincoln Center, is with a ticket in hand for that evening’s performance.  Lincoln Center is reportedly working with the Fire Marshall to figure out a way to make this beautiful roof space open to the public so it can be enjoyed for more than just a few hours a week by such a small number of people.

View from the green roof of the Claire Tow Theater overlooking Lincoln Center

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