Unsightly Rooftop Debris

In the city they don’t built out they build up. When you first move into your condo you are amazed at the city view (if you have one). But then, after a while, you start to notice the details.

While buildings may lavish effort on their facades and interiors, often times they forget the roof. After all, who cares what the roof looks like. Your neighbors up above, that’s who. Those in the middle of the photo collage, to give a feeling for all the condos in the mostly beige and white skyscrapers look down onto the smaller (mostly commercial) buildings. In the loop it is businesses looking at businesses while in River North and the Gold Coast it is mainly condos and hotels looking down on commercial buildings.

Upper left – ever wonder how they hang signs and lights off the side of the building? In this case it is a series of planters filled with concrete in a grid. At least they are neat, I guess. Upper right – there has been a puddle with floating debris (including that rope and those boards) up on that roof for SEVEN YEARS. I can’t believe it doesn’t drive the people beneath them crazy with leaking but, rain or shine, in all seasons, there is a big pond on that roof (in the winter it does freeze). Middle left – there is grass growing (it is dead now) in the large puddle on that roof. Middle right – a roof is a great place to store your cinder blocks, un-needed antennas, and the like, apparently. Also been there almost a decade. Lower left – a bunch of boxes and cartons have been strewn about on that roof for a while. Lower right – of all the rooftops this is the most amazing. That is a fully grown tree (in the winter it sheds its leaves) on the roof of the old firehouse. I have no idea how it gets enough purchase to stay on that roof in the high winds but it has been up there for at least seven years, changing with the seasons. Kind of like those trees that live on the rock face in the wilderness.

Dan asked me over at LITGM why I used the word “purchase”… I was using it as a synonym for “grip” which I thought I heard somewhere but maybe I am just confused.

Cross posted at LITGM

7 thoughts on “Unsightly Rooftop Debris”

  1. (Ypu are using ‘purchase’ in the correct sense)
    Your pics reminded me of this story last month in the UK Daily Mail – about NY rooftop gardens. Perhaps that lonely tree is just a start.

    I understand that such aerial gardens can be done, at a cost of waterproofing the roof, and reinforcing it to bear the weight of soil, etc. I used to spot full-grown trees on balconies and roofs in Athens, years ago. The mayor of Athens then was encouraging this kind of thing, IIRC.

  2. Primo real estate in NYC when I worked there. Installed, and maintained numerous gardens, some modest, others, well, it was New Yawk. Numerous tricks can be utilized to deal with weight issues, as well as drainage, etc. Of course, urban roof-tops, like parks are spaces often used to commit crimes, so access has to be controlled. We always kept a pair of binoculars in the truck, also. Bird watching, you know.

  3. This is pioneering work. You could set up a website to highlight outstanding (good and bad) rooftops around the country or even the world.

  4. I love the purchase quote, thanks a lot much appreciated, that is a great movie.

    A family member of mine is way into green roofs for summer cooling purposes and often people spend exorbitant amounts on their gardens in the sky in my neighborhood.

    I like my tree on the tar roof better :)

  5. A good flat roof, and the ones on buildings like that will be good, often have puddles and some are designed to have water on them full time.

  6. I’ve seen pictures of a few – in Manhattan I think – that are a sight to behold – grass – a pool – but most probably fall inthe “crap” category

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