I have a fondness for viewing things from a height. When I traveled to Italy in college, I climbed to the top of something (usually a cathedral, but once a tower) in most of the cities we visited. When I studied in London, I climbed to the top of St. Paul’s, and loved the view from there much better than that from the London Eye. There’s something about being up high and out in the air that makes a view so much crisper than it is when viewed through the thick walls of the Eye’s capsule, or through a window in a building.

It’s been years since I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building (I’ll write about it if I ever go again), but I’ve come across a few spots that cater to my love of Being Outside While Up High, and neither of them requires climbing 320 steps, like my trek up to the top of St. Peter’s in Rome did. One spot is the view from my office’s roof, mentioned in my September 11 post.
The other is the view from the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I first found my way to the Met’s roof garden on a visit to the museum sometime last year, while the Cloud City exhibit was there. Cloud City was a twisty, reflecting structure that visitors could climb—perfect for me, only my sandals weren’t flats, and flats were required for entry. I was disappointed, but I still took time to lean against the wall of the garden and look out at the view.

The next time I visited, I brought a friend from home, and I was wise enough to take pictures. Here’s what the view from the Met roof garden looked like on an afternoon back in June. (You may notice a striking resemblance to the header of this blog!)


I love the way the skyscrapers frame the park, and the way the park stretches out toward the skyscrapers. The roof garden is a tiny observation deck overlooking a huge, sprawling green space. The skyscrapers look small in comparison, but they form a fence that keeps the park tame and doesn’t let it creep out into the streets. Someday I want to be up there at sunset.
The garden (and its café/martini bar) is open from May till late fall, weather permitting, and there’s an exhibit there now that closes after November 3. I don’t remember seeing the exhibit there in June, but it sounds interesting. If you can, go visit this weekend. If you can’t, make sure to check back next spring!
Any suggestions on tall buildings worth visiting, in NYC or elsewhere?