When Leslie Adatto moved to New York City in 2010, she did something that most New Yorkers simply forget to do–she looked up. By choosing to explore a side of the city hidden right above our heads, Adatto uncovered a bevy of elevated urban oases across the five boroughs and distilled them into her new book, “Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftops.” Read on for our thoughts on the book, which showcases a wide variety of urban rooftops that will appeal to everyone from the contemplative garden-lover to the adrenaline-seeking explorer!


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Written as a handy pocket reference, “Roof Explorer’s Guide” is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for toting around town in a purse or backpack (the book can also be purchased as an e-book for even greater portability). Although most of the rooftops included in the book are not on public property and some places require pre-arranged tours and reservations, Adatto says that all 101 locations featured are easily accessible to the urban explorer and can be reached by public transit or walking. With such a wide variety of rooftops, this book definitely has something to offer for both the wide-eyed tourist and the native New Yorker.

The book is divided into six color-coded sections: Hotel Rooftop Bars and Restaurants; Rooftop Bars and Restaurants; Elevated Parks; Museums, Theaters, and Green Roofs; Elevated Farms; and Rooftop Classes, Entertainment and Sports. Adatto also includes a short description of each rooftop, details on access, public transit directions, location, and more in a sidebar located opposite to several glossy images of the location. To make urban rooftop exploration even easier, Adatto organized the listings within each section geographically, starting at the bottom of Manhattan before heading north, then hopping over to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. She also includes suggested itineraries at the end of the book, grouped by interest with titles like “Citi Bike Downtown Manhattan Roof Tour” and “Theater Lovers Rooftops”–it’s one of our favorite parts in the book.

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Adatto, who blogs about her NYC rooftop adventures on Looking up with Leslie and organizes two active Meetup groups (The New York Roof Deck and Roof Gardening Meetup Group and Rooftop Drinkers NYC), has compiled a list of rooftop spaces so diverse that they range from the Hustler Club’s lavish Roof Deck and Cigar Lounge (she has a tip for scoring free admission) to the tranquil, meadow-topped Irish Hunger Memorial. The pocket guide is concise and thorough and the only thing we felt it lacked was a foldout map to help visualize all 101 rooftop locations.

We heartily recommend the jam-packed “Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftops” for urban explorers and rooftop lovers—Adatto will likely surprise you with just how many amazing and unknown urban rooftops are located just above your favorite haunts.

+ Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftops

Images via FenstenPR