“Up On The Roof” Awesome NYC Rooftops
In New York City where space is precious, every inch of it–from skyscrapers to underground parks–serves a purpose. Aerial photograph Alex McLean chose to focus on the top.
McLean’s new picture book, Up on the Roof, chronicles the city’s growing “roof-scape,” which its inhabitants have begun to cultivate as attentively as if it were a prized backyard. Through his pictures, McLean captures the diversity, peculiarity, and beauty of the eclectic smattering of building tops that cap the city’s skyline.
There is the immaculately manicured shrubbery lining the cemented pathways of the Rockefeller Center’s rooftop, complete with a clear tent-enclosed dining space and aquamarine fountains. Its purity is challenged by the rainbow-splattered covering of the 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center in Queens and the utilitarian public pool surrounded by plastic chaise lounges on the top of an East 34th Street midtown highrise. Gardens bloom atop two 5th Avenue roofs on the Upper Eastside as well as overflow a 176 Grand Street building in Little Italy.
Many roofs are adorned according to the residents’ whim: an East Village apartment boasts a hodge-podge collection of chairs and plants and a tarp-draped glass entry, as well as a red and blue basketball court. The Mill Building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neatly allots plots of roof apparently to its owners’ whim–as a result, a doghouse, mini-trampoline, and couch-filled lounge space fill the area, as well as a picnic table and garden. The Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City, Queens, even sports what looks to be a full-blow farm-scape, complete with a miniature silo.
And so forth.
McLean was inspired by the unique building tops back in 2010, while on an assignment to photograph Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“While flying over West Chelsea, I became aware of multi-use roof spaces that seemed to be everywhere. It was obvious that a recent shift in culture and in financial resources had led to the construction of these new outdoor spaces; it was as if the spirit of the High Line had spread,” he told Fast Co.Design.
Many of the roofs’ designs also now sport white rather than asphalt to reflect the sun and keep the interiors slightly cooler, Fast Co.Design writes.
To view more sweet sky-scapes, purchase McLean’s book here.
Photos from Fast Co.Design