As the summer temperatures climb, so do New Yorkers. Top floor gardens, breezy cocktail lounges and dreamy rooftop pools provide the ultimate oasis high above the steamy streets below. With that, here are five spots (and two Smith stays) where you can rise above it all when in NYC…
Arch your way into a perfect bridge posture guided by clear views of actual suspension bridges from the serene rooftop of The James hotel. Twice a week, yogis practise their pigeon poses as the birds do 17 storeys above the downtown din in this ladies-only class led by instructors from Serene. Later that evening, return and mingle over cocktails (men are welcome, of course) with twinkling skyline views from the sleek rooftop bar Jimmy.
Yoga classes are held at 8am, Wednesdays and Saturdays ($20; free for hotel guests). Rooftop bar Jimmy is open until 2am, Thursday– Saturday; 1am Monday–Wednesday. Rooms at The James, from $299 a night.
FLICKS WITH A VIEW
Catch a movie on a pier that hangs out over the East River or on the wide roof of a historic Brooklyn can factory as part of the Rooftop Films summer series. The outdoor venues (well hello, bobbing waterfront barge) are just as engaging as the indie features, shorts and documentaries being screened.
Relieve museum fatigue with a cool and potent drink at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar. Discuss the collection’s finer points from Rembrandt to Ruscha against an equally wow-worthy backdrop of Central Park vistas and this season’s large-scale outdoor piece painted directly on the garden floor by Imran Qureshi.
The Met’s Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar is open through late fall 10am–4:30pm, Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday; 10am–8pm, Friday and Saturday (Martini Bar opens at 5:30pm).
SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS
Skip the queues at other iconic skyscrapers by scheduling a date and viewing time in advance online for the Top of the Rock. Peep at unobstructed city sights in every direction from a stomach-dropping 70 floors above Midtown. The three observation decks perched off of this handsome art deco landmark building were a gift from John D. Rockefeller to the city of New York.
Top of the Rock is open 8am–12am, daily. Hours may vary on holidays.
SECRET (ROOFTOP) GARDEN
Those craving a little privacy when it comes to their sky-popping patios should check in at The Surrey hotel. This elegant Upper East Side Beaux Arts beauty has a tranquil garden on the 17th floor. It will open in late July to host wine tastings, chef dinners and specialty cocktails (made with herbs plucked from the rooftop garden) exclusively for guests.
The Surrey hotel, double rooms from $495 a night.