A new book by trained architect-turned photographer/pilot Alex MacLean captures the ironically suburban trappings of New York City's hidden rooftop world. Web Urbanist author Delana pens a review.
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
"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
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