In New York, property owners are transforming penthouse apartments in the heart of the city into full-fledged slices of suburbia. With porches, “yards’” and even a cupola, these NYC penthouses provide perks of suburban dwelling within the metropolis. For real estate agents, the lessons of these homes shows that with a vision, anything is possible.
Mariana Franza showed off her East 36th Street penthouse recently to the New York Post. It is a one-bedroom, 1½-bathroom charmer that features an overhang with columns that would look at home in suburban America.
Franza, a real estate broker at Brown Harris Stevens, purchased the 900-square-foot apartment for $1.2 million in 2014 and set out on a renovation that turned it into her own personal slice of suburbia. It also features an 1,100-square-foot terrace that wraps around the apartment on three sides that features couches, a dining set, a hammock, overflowing planters, several sculptures and a daybed.
Another example is on West 85th Street, near Columbus Avenue where a group of residents have created a small suburb by connecting outdoor spaces of three buildings to create a community.
“There’s something about being able to get to a private outdoor space, instead of going to the park,” Lee Larson told The Post. “This is a special thing. I never would have guessed it possible in New York.”
For a cool $1.3 million, you could move into the building and join the group, known as the Rooftoppers.
Other notable rooftop homes include the Upper West Side home of architect Andrew Tesoro and a “cedar-shake structure” on top of a five-story apartment building on First Avenue, originally converted by sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady III.
For more than 25 years, Tesoro has called a 400-square-foot studio atop a building on 78th Street. His dreams of expanding the apartment were dashed when city codes limited his options. But he could add a new roof to his home, which made all the difference.
Today, a 20-foot peaked roof offers 1,000 more square feet of living space. The additional space creates a second floor that contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a skinny third floor — a sleep/lounge/storage space — sandwiched between steeply slanted walls.
Tersoro said it does feel like living in a home with a yard and the view incudes Central Park and the Museum of Natural History.
A cedar-shake structure on First Avenue and East First Street features a cupola and a weather vane.
Shrady purchased the building, vacant and derelict, more than 30 years ago and set out to renovate the property, keeping the fourth and fifth floors — and the rooftop abode — for himself.
The small studio apartment atop the building offers Shrady the feel of a cottage in the country.
And some rooftop escapes aren’t condos.
Twenty feet above West 97th Street is Lotus Garden, a 7,000 square foot community garden atop a parking garage. On Sunday afternoons, the gardeners and volunteers who maintain the flowers, koi ponds, and peach trees open the gates to the public.
“We stumble upon them quite often as we’re going on walks so it’s really quite amazing to see how many gardens and things are available,” Upper West Side resident Sandra Chippas said.
These residents show that with a little imagination, the feel of the suburbs can be offered in the heart of the Big Apple.