A Peek at New York's Fifth Facade

A new book by trained architect-turned photographer/pilot Alex MacLean captures the ironically suburban trappings of New York City's hidden rooftop world. <em>Web Urbanist</em> author Delana pens a review.
May 25, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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For anyone who's lucky enough to have enjoyed an afternoon imbibing on one of New York's exclusive rooftop playgrounds, the photographs in MacLean's Up On the Roof will bring back fond memories of the ultimate in urban luxury - open spaces with luscious landscaping, relaxing furniture, barbecues, and even swimming pools, along with some of the most awe-inspiring views in the world.

"Just like suburban backyards, the roof spaces run the range from sparse and minimal to flawlessly manicured to absolutely chaotic. It is wonderfully mesmerizing to examine each page, leaning in close so as not to miss a single detail. These high-up spaces have been used for everything from playgrounds to restaurants to art exhibits to fully-functional urban farms and even golf courses. In one bizarre case, a replica of a World War I British fighter plane sits on a rooftop runway."

"MacLean's engrossing book can be enjoyed simply for its beautiful photography and glimpses into ordinarily-inaccessible places. But for urban enthusiasts, it also inspires a sort of giddy excitement over future possibilities. As more and more of the world's population settles in densely-populated urban areas, more cities will start to resemble New York and more urbanites will head to the roof for their daily dose of nature."

 

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Published on Thursday, May 24, 2012 in Web Urbanist
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