And there you were thinking that New York rooftops were only places to drink on while you admired NYC at sunset. Think again, bon viveur! We've put together a list of the coolest rooftop venues in the city, with nary a sniff of booze about them (okay, we've included one of the best rooftop bars in NYC, but it's a true class act). In fact, we'll go so far as to say there's something for everyone here: outdoor movie screenings, fitness classes and events for music lovers. So what are you waiting for? The warm weather is here and it's time to get high.
Things to do on NYC rooftops
What’s up with that? Professional instructors offer the best full-body and core workouts during this sunset yoga class. The classes take place on Alvin Ailey's own rooftop, which overlooks Lincoln Center and beautiful views of the Hudson River.
Get up there: Alvin Ailey, 405 W 55th St at 9th Ave (alvinailey.com). Wed and Fri 7:30pm, Sun 5pm; regular class fee. Starts early summer.Read more
What’s up with that? The fireplace, cozy sofas and club chairs at this rooftop bar suggest the decadent penthouse apartment you’ll probably never afford. The enclosed greenhouse and the outdoor terrace (in less frigid weather) are both ideal perches for sipping luxurious $15 cocktails and enjoying the multimillion-dollar view of midtown’s soaring skyscrapers.
Get up there: Mon–Thu 4pm-midnight, Fri–Sat 4pm–1am, Sun 2-10pm
What’s up with that? New Yorkers’ biking obsession has spawned countless riffs on the two-wheeled workout, from cycle karaoke to aqua cycling. But this Astoria gym is the only place in the city to Spin under open skies (unless you count, you know, riding a two-wheeler).
Get up there: While classes are generally open to members only, interested newcomers can hop onto a bike with a free one-day guest pass. The 2015 season starts mid-May—just make sure you don’t show up on a rainy day (when classes are relocated to the indoor studio). 31-11 Broadway at 32nd St, Astoria, Queens (718-545-0004, clubfitnessny.com)
What’s up with that? Find your green thumb at this 6,000-square-foot plot in Greenpoint, which boasts breathtaking views of Manhattan. Folks are needed for watering, weeding and turning compost, all in the name of nurturing organic fruits and veggies, some of which end up on plates at local restaurants like Paulie Gee’s and Eastern District.
Get up there: Volunteer season returns at the end of May, so keep an eye on the farm’s website and Twitter feed (@rooftopfarmer) for sign-up opportunities. 44 Eagle St between Franklin and West Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (rooftopfarms.org)
Equinox Printing House
What’s up with that? Rooftop pools in NYC aren’t hard to find, but like a shimmering desert mirage, they’re always somehow out of reach—either open only to hotel guests or serving as a mere backdrop for cocktails (no swimming allowed). This West Village branch of Equinox gym has what you’ve been thirsting for: a tranquil 15-meter pool and sundeck alongside the Hudson.
Get up there: We know what you’re thinking: Don’t you need to be a member? That’s one way to get in (memberships start at $175 a month). But there’s also a loophole: Book a treatment at the on-site spa and you’ll get complimentary access to the gym (including the pool) that day. Massages and reflexology start at $70, so work out those knots—then work on your tan. 421 Hudson St between Clarkson and Leroy Sts (212-243-7600, equinox.com)
What’s up with that? Rooftop drinking is NYC’s unofficial summer pastime—staring out at the city lights is even better with a cocktail in hand. Adding its services to Gotham’s already plentiful options is this just-opened spot. The swanky, nautically inflected lounge atop the 29-story Viceroy features a 1,200-square-foot terrace with postcardworthy vistas of midtown and Central Park.
Get up there: 124 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-707-8008, theroofny.com)
What’s up with that? Should you find yourself at the Bloomingdale’s flagship on 59th Street, you could combat shopper’s fatigue with Magnolia cupcakes and Forty Carrots fro-yo—or you could dine in a posh train car on the roof. Modeled after the Calais-Mediterranée Express, a luxury train famous for transporting wealthy passengers to the French Riviera in the ’20s and ’30s, the narrow space replicates a refined dining car—complete with white tablecloths and brass luggage racks. And while the Côte d’Azur may not be rolling past the windows, the view of midtown isn’t too shabby.
Get up there: 1000 Third Ave at 59th St, sixth floor (bloomingdales.com). Mon–Wed, Fri, Sat 10:30am–5pm; Thu 10:30am–7pm; Sun 11:30am–4:30pm.
What’s up with that? Starting in May, Serene revives its open-air yoga sessions on the roof deck of the James hotel in Soho. Instructor Brigitte Bourdeau leads each hour-long Thursday class, walking a small group through vinyasa moves. (Mats are provided.) If you can’t locate your center while enjoying panoramic views of Manhattan, we fear you may never find it. Dudes, you can come to class the first Thursday of the month, but after that, ladies only!
Get up there: The James New York, 27 Grand St at Thompson St (serenesocial.com). Thu 8–9am; $25. Starts May 1.
What’s up with that? The hardest winter in the history of ever will be all but forgotten when the Met’s gorgeous haven finally reopens. This year French conceptualist artist Pierre Huyghe brings an exciting site-specific installation to the garden. The project itself is a surprise, but viewers can expect anything from the range of film, performance, magic, biology and even animals.
Get up there: 1000 Fifth Ave, (at 82nd St). Sun–Thu 10am–4:30pm; Fri, Sat 10am–8:15pm. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free. Open from early May to October.
What’s up with that? The rooftop reopens to the public with a lush salad garden, filled with antioxidant greens like Epazote, a South American culinary delicacy, plus an array of heirloom tomatoes. Not only can you unearth the plants, specially selected by MoMA PS1 Gardener Julia Sherman, but you can prepare fresh, ready-to-eat salads during workshops with guest chefs throughout the summer.
Get up there: Head to MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave at the intersection of 46th Ave, Mon, Thurs-Sun 10am-6pm (http://momaps1.org/about/rooftop/).