Up, up, and away: New book tours Brooklyn’s best rooftops

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Photo gallery

Book ban-ya: Adatto describes the Russian bathhouse at the roof of Brooklyn Banya in Kensington as “social, casual, family friendly, and unpretentious.”
Pool with a view: The Williamsburg Hotel offers a poolside party venue.
Crowded and crabby: The book offers an inside look at the covered rooftop of Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook.
Roof with a view: The book recommends a trip to the peaceful Empire Stores rooftop in Dumbo, which is less peaceful not that the Time Out Market has opened there.

This book wants to get you high!

A new travel guide takes readers on a visual journey across the city’s rooftops, hopping from the highest hotspots to little-known locales in Brooklyn. “111 Rooftops in New York That You Must Not Miss,” explores the borough’s most interesting top floors and provides a new angle on the city, according to the book’s author.

“Rooftops give you a whole new perspective on the city. You’re above it all. It’s quieter, and you get this amazing view,” said Leslie Adatto. “It’s not just bars. There are things on rooftops as diverse as museums, or soccer fields, or spas.”

Adatto lists some of the most famous landmarks in the city — such as the Empire State Building — but the book also tips off readers to rooftops that feel, ironically, like underground venues.

“The mission when I started was to include rooftops that are off the beaten path for people who live in New York,” she said. “Sometimes, they’re kind of hidden in plain sight.”

Adatto — along with the book’s photographer Clay Williams — offers an insider’s look at spots like the Russian bath house atop Brooklyn Banya in Kensington or the hipster music venue Elsewhere in Williamsburg.

“[Elsewhere] easily accommodates 500 people with its state-of-the-art sound system and outdoor bar offering the requisite rooftop frozen drink options,” writes Adatto. “Late-night noise restrictions are not a factor, so the party, even on the outdoor rooftop, can continue without annoying the sleep-seeking neighbors.”

Among the book’s 32 spots listed for Kings County is the roof of the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, which sometimes hosts films and theatrical performances. Brooklynites with a sweet tooth can get the scoop on the rooftop patio atop the Ample Hills Creamery on Union Street. For those looking to explore the city’s greenery above the ground, Addatto lists the iconic Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, which has a living meadow atop its Visitor’s Center, along with several rooftop farms, including like Brooklyn Grange at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Kingsland Wildflowers on top of an old oil refinery in Greenpoint.

Addatto — who moved to New York from the high-rise-deficient southern California — said she had been gathering a running list of city rooftops since arriving in her adopted home.

“Like a lot of tourists, I spent a lot of time looking up, but I wondered what it would be like to look down,” she said. “There’s all these places you might not even know are there, so this is a great way to explore New York in a way that you might not have thought of before.”

“111 Rooftops in New York That You Must Not Miss” by Leslie Adatto. In bookstores now. $19.99.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at
Posted 12:00 am, July 20, 2019
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