Given the catastrophic cost of real estate at the southern end of Manhattan, a look at the use of rooftop space reveals a sharp contrast: roofs are either lush garden spaces or barren mechanical utility areas. I had expected to see more “in between” spaces among the penthouses—casually or informally used rooftops. I guess nothing spends more than a few hours on a New York rooftop without a reason to be there.
Neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and the Bowery are remarkably low-rise until they suddenly run into the wall that is Midtown Manhattan. The new pencil towers under construction may look out of place, but at least they don’t block the views of nature to the north.
Liberty Island played such a huge role in the media I consumed as a child—the most iconic symbol of New York (far more recognizable to a child than e.g. the Empire State Building)—that seeing it from One World Observatory was surreal.