nyc rooftop

An Ode to the New York Rooftop

An Ode to the New York Rooftop

New York rooftop, you are everything.

The grammar seems awkward, but I meant to say that the way girls say Beyoncé is “everything.” Do you understand now, my dear, sun-dappled Five Borough rooftop? You are my Beyoncé.


You are, simply, number one: the first kiss of summer. The first outdoor drink. That first moment I realize I’m too hot instead of too cold. You are the first day of the year that I chuckle at NYC’s bipolar climate; I share that chuckle with you.

You are New York's summertime drinking essence.

Sundresses, sunglasses, linen shirts, short shorts, shiny sandals, cuffed khakis, cut-off tank-tops, and fancy flip-flops. Beach balls, custom koozies, kiddie pools, and other people's puppies. Anything goes up here where the blaring horns sound like background music and the garbage smells like nothing at all.

Look across the river. There’s Brooklyn, and Queens. The Gehry Building, the Freedom Tower. The heights loom uptown. Hell, you make Hoboken worth looking at, New York rooftop. Not even an army of its own insecure inhabitants armed with aftermarket Instagram filters can pull that off. You do it with ease.

I have to tell you something, New York rooftop. You are the essence of summertime day-drinking in this town. Mixed drinks, 40s, Two Buck Chuck, and tasty craft cans. You are Jell-O shots brought up from the neighbor’s fridge. Now, I detest Jell-O shots, but when I’m on you, I feel like anything is possible. You know what? Pass me one of those. That’s what you do to me, you goddamned gorgeous bastard -- you make me want to be a better New Yorker.

You are a daydream of drinking a lot and caring a little.

Oy. This is disgusting. Alright, so I still hate Jell-O shots, but at least I gave them another shot. You gave me the strength, New York rooftop. You made me believe. And you make cheap beer taste expensive, so really, you can do no wrong on the day-drinking front.

You are text messages from friends stuck in traffic on their way to the Hamptons. You are outdoor movie theaters. You are hastily made dinner plans with a new friend. You are sloppy sex and falling asleep at 10pm. You are awkward brunch the next morning, New York rooftop.

Bring on the sticky tar paper, the six-floor walkups, the cranky neighbors. Bring on the crosstown traffic jams and the obnoxious bros from 6B. Bring on the sunburn. Nothing can destroy me, New York rooftop. Not high rent, low self-esteem, or LA’s siren song. Not when I have you.

When days are short and dark and cold, and the city is shitty and busy and bitching about the weather, my mind wanders to you. Not in a weird way, New York rooftop. I don’t want to creep you out. It’s just... I think about us, y'know?

I think about the beach towels and the sunscreen. I fantasize about drinking too much, and caring too little. I daydream about building the cheap lawn furniture I’ve schlepped to you from the closest hardware store, if only to have something to recline on while someone else runs for more ice. No matter how icy the sidewalks and snowy the streets, the mere memory makes me smile.

So here’s to you, New York rooftop. You are excellent, ebullient, and radiant. You are a gem, a pearl, a diamond above the rough. I will shovel NYC’s interminable shit all year just for the chance to worship at your open-aired altar, and there are 8.5 million others who probably feel the same way. It’s just not a summer party if you’re not involved.

I love you, New York rooftop. You are everything.

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Dave Infante is a senior rooftop correspondent for Thrillist. Follow @dinfontay on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.