By Valentina Solci, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at the Citi Habitats UES Office
Rooftop season is arguably the best season in NYC. From elegant bars to low key concerts to open lounge areas to serene pools, the rooftops of NY leave both locals and visitors in awe with their timeless city views and diverse service offerings. With the multitude of choices that one has throughout the boroughs, it can be difficult to pick where to go. I have narrowed it down to three great options, each with a specific niche sure to intrigue you…
127 West 28th Street, New York, NY 10001
The first on my list is the majestic Mykonos Blue rooftop, located in Chelsea at Hotel Hayden (just a few blocks south of the Empire State Building). This Greek Isle escape is decorated in a way that connects New Yorkers with the lifestyle of Mykonos. The indoor portion of Mykonos Blue has simple decor topped with elaborate rope finishes. In contrast, the outdoor area is all white, complementing the white mountainous villages of the Greek island. All the while, the entire deck is surrounded with views of Manhattan, and this experience is elevated through the live DJs that often play at this location.
Mykonos Blue is a full-service restaurant and bar open for lunch and dinner. On their beverage menu, some popular choices to bring your Greek Isle experience further to life are the following cocktails: Mykonos Blue (infused with coconut rum, tropical fruit juices, etc), the Island of the Roses (mixed with red wine, bourbon, lemon juice, and Greek honey), and Santorini Sunset (gin, topped with cranberry and lime, etc). As far as the eats on their menu, try their Horiataki (Greek) salad, Seafood Orzo (also known as ‘The Greek Paella’), and a side of roasted lemon potatoes.
Through the fresh cocktails and seafood they serve, the vibrant live music they play, and the all-white color scheme (with the mostly downtown Manhattan backdrop), guests can experience the island life of Mykonos, all while being surrounded by the fast pace of NYC life.
96 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
On the southeastern side of Greenpoint, near East River State Park, lies this rooftop oasis. The Williamsburg Hotel’s rooftop is special in that it has a pool deck (pictured above), lounge area, and, to top it off, a water tower. However, this is not just any conventional water tower. From the outside, it takes the appearance of a classic NYC water tower, however, in the interior, the water tower functions as a bar and nightlife scene.
The Water Tower at the Williamsburg Hotel was opened in November 2018. It is made of steel and glass and stands at about 175 feet. Historically, the Water Tower actually never held any water in it, but, rather, it offers views of the city and surrounding (real) water towers. Offering 800 square feet of space with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Water Tower is decorated with plush sofas, graphic posters, and dim, twinkle lights.
DJs spin every night, and reservations are mandatory during cocktail hours. The Water Tower is open Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm to 4am; all guests must be 21+. Beyond the Water Tower, the rest of The Williamsburg Hotel’s rooftop space features a pool, seating/lounge chairs, bar, and patio area (home to daily yoga classes in the morning, which is open to the public and only costs $25 per class). For hotel guests and the public, it is required to meet a minimum dining fee in order to reserve a daybed or dining table. Visit their site for more information on fees and reservations.
400 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036
The Polynesian is an elevated tiki lounge located at the Pod Hotel Times Square on West 42nd Street. This is a one-of-a-kind bar and lounge scene because it incorporates a tropical, mystic atmosphere while being in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. The Polynesian came about from the dynamic and innovative collaboration that occurred between owner, Bryan Miller, and Major Food Group. According to The Polynesian’s website, Miller is a bartender, globetrotter, and self-described pirate. Through the combination of a menu filled with fine, creative cocktails and opulent decor, Miller was successfully able to create an indoor and outdoor tiki bar like no other.
The menu exclusively serves drinks and bar snacks. Though they are most known for their cocktails, The Polynesian also offers a wide range of wine and beer options. Three cocktails to keep an eye out for are: Vaya Kon Tiki, Captain’s Last Breath, Tropical Itch, and Mai Tai. Great beverages for large groups include Kilauea Punch (served in a large conch-like shell) or the Exotica Bowl (served in a glass cup that rests atop a wide, white seashell). The Exotica Bowl is meant to resemble a pearl in the middle of a seashell; this look is amplified by the dramatic smoke effect that oozes out of the seashell. Lastly, for bar snacks, try out the Polynesian salad, coconut rock shrimp, or the tuna sliders.
The Polynesian is the ultimate spot for island glam feels. The indoor lounge and bar area is furnished with turquoise decor, palm trees, and a golden, warmly lit scene. This scenery flows to the exterior rooftop section, where views of NYC are truly amplified.