New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pied-à-Aire

There are many secret worlds in New York City and rooftop houses are one of them. I am sure having a private little shangri-la in the city is a fantasy that many have had, but few realize that these pied-à-aires have been actualized by a fortunate few. I was somewhat surprised to find out how little information is available on this phenomenon - one would not expect a lot in print, allowing for the fact that photographing these properties is going to be difficult without an invitation, but typically one would expect a few feature articles - I found none (I do recall an article many years ago about a rooftop cabin). The gabled structure in the photo is not strictly a rooftop house - it is an extension of an top floor apartment. It sits atop the building at 203 East 13th Street on the corner of 3rd Avenue in the East Village. The building itself was built in 1910 and converted to condominiums in 1986. In the early 90s, the owner of the top floor apartment built the cedar-shingled structure. Originally a spiral staircase led to a small rooftop room - this was torn down and replaced with the rooftop complex which includes a master bedroom and bath, a small greenhouse, a darkroom, a hot tub, outdoor decks and plantings. I wish I had closeups and interior photos of the property but alas, I could not find any ...

9 comments:

Lucy said...

Does seem really idyllic, doesn't it...

Dina said...

Wow!! that is fabulous!! I too wish you can take more pics!!!

Brian said...

I will investigate this intriguing phenomenon and see if I can uncover more with interior shots.

monica said...

What is most surprising for me is that people CAN build on a rooftop. Do they need a building permit? Does the city council agree with these constructions? Here in Barcelona (spain) is absolutely forbidden to build anything on a rooftop!
I love this site, I read it every day!

Sally said...

Very interesting justaposition with yesterday's photo.

This is the NYC we all have inour imaginings and would wish for.

Yesterday's was a sober reminder of what lies beneath.

And I just loved that the young people with the great hair and piercings found your blog and droipped by - added extra vibrancy and immediacy.

(Same happened to me with some goths at Sydney Town hall a while back).

Brian said...

monica - Yes, people can build on rooftops. There are zoning issues etc., but generally if you have the money to build and counsel to guide you through the process, it would not be that difficult in many cases.

Brian said...

Sally - thanks. Wild, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Great shot and an excellent piece -thank you. have just discovered your site and love it - haven't been to NYC for 12 years so v much looking fwd to my next trip. Your site has given me just the kick up the proverbial I needed! PS - Rooftop construction is becoming more popular in Sydney, Australia, as we feel the squeeze of the housing crisis. A lot of body corporates (unit building owner's committees) are taking an interest, as it's a good way for them to raise capitol to help maintain the building, and the city council seems reasonable favourable to it. excellent stuff

Juegos de Ben 10 said...

Wow!! that is fabulous!!