Summer in the City: Unique Rooftop Experiences

There's more to the skyline than rooftop bars

Bars and restaurants are popping up on rooftops all over the city, giving locals a plethora of entertaining ways to spend their summer evenings. While we love a great rooftop bar, we thought we’d give you some other options that can take your rooftop experience to new heights.

1. Brooklyn Grange is a one-acre farm located on a rooftop in Long Island City. You could easily walk past the industrial building located on Northern Boulevard  and 37th Ave without ever knowing it was there. Once you’ve seen it though, you’ll never forget it. Did we mention the chickens? Or the communal table made from pieces of the old Coney Island boardwalk? We think it’s worth a visit, but it’s only open to the public one day week. Watch our City Guide for a peek.

Brooklyn Grange
37-18 Northern Boulevard  at 37th Ave
Long Island City/Queens

2. Whether you love a trip to the museum or not, we can’t imagine you wouldn’t enjoy a trip to the Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This year’s exhibit is called Cloud City by Argentinean artist Tomas Saraceno. The interactive sculpture is made up of modules that guests can walk through and climb on. Before you go, check out the wardrobe guidelines on the Met’s website and get there early to score a ticket. If you just want to gaze at the sculpture and take in incredible views of Central Park, head there on a Friday or Saturday evening, when the roof garden doubles as a martini bar from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
Upper East Side/ Manhattan

3. New York offers many al fresco fitness options, but Clay Health Club & Spa is now hosting rooftop yoga during the week. Clear your mind and bust out your best tree pose Tuesday evenings at 7:35 p.m. as the sun goes down behind you. If you’re a morning person, shake your asana over to Clay on Wednesdays. Sunrise yoga is available on the rooftop at 7 a.m. The roof deck is quite luxurious with wood finishes and surrounded by cabanas, a pleasant surprise above the hustle and bustle of Union Square. Call to reserve your spot. You don’t have to be a member, but there is a fee to take the class.

Clay Health Club & Spa
25 W. 14th Street (between 5th & 6th Aves)
(212) 206-9200

4. Rooftop Films has been taking underground films to the skies since 1997. The non-profit organization hosts a summer series at locations throughout the city, ranging from the beach at Coney Island to the Queens Museum of Art. This year’s program includes feature-length films as well as short films, with a mix of both mainstream and independent movies. Films are offered most nights of the week and many of the screenings are free. 

Rooftop Films
Various Locations around NYC

5. If you love prose, the Academy of American Poets is raising the Bard. Teaming up with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, these free poetry readings take place on the picturesque rooftop of The Historic Arsenal Building in Central Park. The poetry flows on several Thursday nights throughout summer beginning at 6:30 p.m. The  lineup includes highly acclaimed poets reading side by side with some newer talent. Events are free and open to the public.

Poetry from the Rooftops

The Arsenal Building
Central Park
64th Street at 5th Avenue

Follow Lauren Scala on Twitter @LaurenScala4NY.

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