Just about everyone who lives in New York City craves more fresh air and sunshine than they get, which is why so many crave and are willing to pay so dearly for a bit of outdoor space, even if it’s just the tiniest shard of terrace.
In the days before air conditioning (and even long after), weary, heat-bedraggled New Yorkers in search of a summer breeze would hang out on what was called “Tar Beach,” the roofs of tenement buildings usually being tarred.
Nowadays it’s usually not quite that easy to climb up on the roof of an apartment building. As developers recognized the value of all the Tar Beaches around town, they began to sell exclusive rights to occupy and develop rooftops, typically to buyers of units on the top floor of the building.
Since these private outdoor spaces are so prized today, well-heeled owners go all out to customize and maximize their outdoor spaces. We’re talking about people dropping millions and millions of dollars! Gorgeous plantings with automatic irrigation, chef-quality outdoor kitchens, fire pits and fireplaces, pergolas for shade and glass pavilions for lousy weather, and perhaps most extravagant of all, private pools and hot tubs. The cherry on the cake is a stunning view, hopefully one with a landmark building in sight.
Below, we’ve selected from among the best New York City roof terraces we’ve seen this year. Which one do you find most enticing?