In a vertical city like New York, the roof deck can signify quite literally the pinnacle of fine living. In the summer, there is nothing else quite like a nighttime gathering at the top of a building with the stars above, the bright lights of the city all around and, if we’re lucky, a breeze off the river at our backs.
And these days, rooftop gathering spaces are much more than a few chairs and tables covering an otherwise barren expanse dotted with mechanical equipment. From outdoor kitchens to pergolas, retractable canopies and elegant privacy screens, more and more buildings are turning their topmost living spaces into an extension of the ultra high-end amenities offered in the floors below.
Tony Malatos, a principal at KNS Building Restoration in Flushing, estimates that “at least 70 percent” of buildings in New York City have rooftop decks or living spaces.
And that number may continue to grow as more and more buildings find that having a rooftop deck or terrace has become an essential part of keeping up with the competition. Many residents and prospective residents of co-op and condo buildings in the city expect to see these types of outdoor spaces and may turn away from a prospective purchase without one.
“Every place needs to have one these days,” says Al Terry, president of New York Decks, based in Manhattan. “We find it with older buildings (that have to add one) in order to compete with new buildings that have a lot more amenities. In order to keep values up, they’re putting in roof decks to compete.”