Look Up! The Coolest Rooftop Gardens In NYC

While we may throw a few folding chairs and a potted-palm on the roof for summer rooftop BBQ’s, there’s a whole other scale of botanic luxury sitting on top of the concrete jungle to be inspired by. For the first time, you can linger in the gardens of New Yorker’s most wealthy home-owners and (almost) feel the breeze as it soars by, twenty stories above the hustle. A newly released book by Denise LeFrak Calicchio and Roberta Model Amon, Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New York, grants you a moment’s access to the most elite sky-high lounges this city has to offer (Michael Kors celebrated the premier book signing with an exclusive shopping event last Tuesday at the new Madison Avenue Collection Flagship Store—100% of book sales from the event benefited The Breast Cancer Research Foundation). Get a sneak peek of the book and our personal favorite rooftop havens in the slideshow below.
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Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New York, $45, available at Rizzoli, 31 West 57th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues); 212-759-2424.
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Wonderful things often come in small packages, as this 735-square- foot terrace makes abundantly clear. This open-air living room is fragrant with the scent of lavender and roses. The comfortable outdoor furniture was imported from France.
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What more pleasant place could there be for a nap or a chat than this daybed overflowing with pillows coordinated with the colors of the garden? Roses cover the trellis, and bamboo and exotic grasses fill in the gaps with green on Park Avenue.
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The position of the Jean Nouvel terrace on the seventh floor al- lows quiet enjoyment of the sunset in the evening and a rare view of decorative elements of nineteenth-century buildings nearby. Blue lights mounted to thespines of the umbrel- las and additional lighting amongst the plantings produce a stunning effect for a special occasion.
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The undulating path of the south terrace was intended to replicate the yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz. At every turn in the path comes a surprise among the mixture of colorful annuals and perennials that change with the season and the whim of the owners and gardeners.
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On a rainy day, Paula Hayes’s inventive juxtapositions are particularly evident in rough and smooth surfaces, waving grasses and solidstone paving. Soft, baglike plant containers impel us to see familiar objects differently and to consider new uses for common materials.
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The dining area on the top deck is reached through two gardens on lower levels. The skylight is amidst a bed of juniper and Russian sage, while blooming variegated yucca rises boldly from a base of leafy fronds. Royal purple wisteria partially covers the pergola to make a shady corner.
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The essence of Manhattan seems laid out in this view facing east across the treetops of Central Park. The lawn is an unexpected feature at this level. Silver King Japanese spindle tree, a broad-leafed evergreen with flowers in yellow and green shades, has pinkish-red berries favored by many species of birds. A red weeping Japanese maple and a sphere of boxwood provide contrast in color and form near the lounge chairs.
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A sense of escape from street life below is heightened by the spire of the Empire State Building in the distance. Two weeping blue atlas cedars and a trellis of Brazilian ipe provide a background for carved Indian columns from Rajasthan.
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Double-bay doors open from the master bedroom onto the engawa, the veranda-like structure that separates the interior from the garden. The path across the mossy lawn takes multiple turns to allow specific sight lines at various points.
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An archway with mandevilla and trellises covered in roses suggest that this is a garden in France. Flashes of red and pink are everywhere, in fuchsia, hibiscus, and New Guinea impatiens. Bamboo at the northeast corner and dwarf Alberta spruce complete a background of greenery.
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