No Balcony? No Problem. Here Are Some Of New York City’s Most Lavish Roof Decks
When 8.5 million people live in 300 square miles, outdoor space to relax and breathe fresh air can be hard to find. To help fix this problem, more New York City property owners, who typically look upward for expansion opportunities, are converting residential rooftops into luxurious courtyards, experts said.
The open-air amenities offer the immediacy that New Yorkers, who have their groceries delivered and Uber to the movies, famously crave. They can feature everything from swimming pools to vegetable gardens and barbecue areas, but perhaps their most popular features are the parties and other gatherings buildings host on them, Sarnell added.
He has represented numerous properties with access to verandas in the sky. Instead of trekking to parks or meeting friends at bars, “a lot of younger people like to have events planned for them,” he explained. “It’s a shift from staying in your apartment to community living.”
In the spirit of summer, here’s a look at some of the most lavish roof decks built into the New York City skyline:
“There’s something beautiful about being on a New York City roof in a pool,” One Museum Mile resident Kim Soderstrom said dreamily. She lives in a two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath in the Carnegie Hill condo with her husband and their pet rabbit. The building’s heated 20-by-40-foot lagoon, which sits 21 stories into the sky, is an oasis for residents.
“We don’t have any tall buildings south of us and so when you’re in the swimming pool floating on your back you just see the sky and it’s amazing,” said Soderstrom, a children’s book writer who’s loved to swim since childhood. Her building’s 1,570-square-foot roof deck provides full views of Central Park and the city’s bridges, an outdoor kitchen and grills, and showers and lockers.
Soderstrom’s husband is an attorney and works long hours, so the couple is happy to avoid spending time in traffic to get to the beach. “We feel like we’ve gotten away for the weekend and all we had to do was go to the roof,” she said. “It’s an elevator ride away and it’s a completely different world.”
525 W. 52nd St.
Average rent price: $4,655 (StreetEasy)
Above the 16th floor at 525 W. 52nd St., residents can picnic on real grass or head through a garage door-style entrance to a private party room where luxury service brand LIVunLtd hosts events like wine tastings and barbecues. Resident Kyle Wilkinson and his wife, whose firm designed the 3,000-square-foot roof deck’s plantings, moved into a one-bed, one-bath rental in November 2017 and their daughter followed them into the building this spring. Though she and other younger tenants like to lounge on cabana chairs in the unblocked sunlight, Wilkinson said he prefers the shaded areas, where he works as a data science consultant or takes time to think.
“Every once in a while I just go up there and actually just sit and look at the river,” Wilkinson said. “[A roof deck] is a dimension adding to your well-being and happiness,” he added. “You know you can go up there and that means a lot.”
555 Tenth Ave.
Average rent price: $5,332 (StreetEasy)
To cool off on warm days, tenants in 555TEN can take a dip in a 15-by-43-foot saltwater plunge pool 56 stories above the city street. The Hell’s Kitchen building’s 7,151-square-foot roof also has an all-seasons clubhouse and chaise lounges, along with private cabanas. The deck provides a reprieve from the busy city, resident Andrew Ackerman said. “New York is hectic and there’s lots of cars and buses and honking and people, and we’re not that close to Central Park,” resident Andrew Ackerman said. “A roof deck is your own little relaxation area where you can lie in the sun, read a book and just get away from all the hectic pushing and shoving and noise [in the city].”
The building’s 7,151-square-foot roof also has an all-seasons clubhouse.Ackerman, who is enjoying his retirement in a 500-square-foot loft in the rental building, added that he enjoys the roof year-round since the pool is heated and the event space has a fireplace for winter.
510-524 E. 14th St.
Starting rent price: $7,500
Spanning 19,000 square feet, the seventh-story deck atop Extell Development‘s new EVGB (short for the East Village’s Greatest Building) “just doesn’t feel overcrowded,” said Dr. Jamie Royal. And if that isn’t enough outdoor space, its second-floor terrace is divided by fencing to give its units a private garden, so Royal’s two-bed, two-bath rental has a backyard. The rooftop amenity, meanwhile, features grills and fire pits, a bocce court and putting green, a screening area, garden plots and an outdoor shower.
Though Royal currently spends time up there with her husband and two kids, she intends to use it to entertain colleagues who give referrals to her orthodontist practice. “The views are insane and if I can bring a couple doctors up there and have drinks one night it’s a cool, different thing to do,” she said.
30-02 39th Ave., Queens
Average rent price: $3,000 (StreetEasy)
Across the river in Long Island City, ARC’s 70-foot saltwater pool, bocce courts and grilling areas are “the perfect trifecta of stuff,” said resident Andrew Haynes. He recalled a work-from-home day when he used the roof as his office space. “Being able to sit by the pool and check some emails and jump in to cool off, it kind of felt like I was in Miami,” he said.
The development takes outdoor space seriously – residents also have access to a half-acre courtyard and a greenhouse for gardening. The eleventh-story rooftop, meanwhile, provides unblocked views of Manhattan thanks to its location in western Queens. Haynes, who lives in a one-bed, one-bath rental with his wife and their dog, added that being in an outer-borough is kind to their budget too: “Having those things and not having it cost an arm and a leg is awesome.”
Update: This article originally included a deck in the Gateway complex in Battery Park City, which is on the fourth floor of the building.