The streets of New York usually allow only two viewing directions: People either stare upwards or gaze down from the city’s skyscrapers, either looking to catch some rays of the rare sunlight or exploring the urban canyon far away from the noise of the busy streets.

But this wouldn’t be New York if it didn’t offer another perspective. Besides the streets, the subway, the skyline, and the skyscraper, there is another, seemingly neglected dimension to this multi-faceted place: The rooftop. Thanks to the roofscaping initiatives of the past years, the tops of dozens of buildings have been transformed into amazing outdoor living spaces. A quiet place invisible to the intense urban activity below; a little green oasis to refresh the mind from the monotonous palette of the concrete jungle.

MacLean01 176 Grand St, Little Italy, Manhattan

MacLean02 Soho House New York, 29-35 9th Ave, Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Up on the Roof: New York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces, a recent book featuring the works of American photographer Alex MacLean, pays tribute to New York City’s fifth dimension. A trained pilot, MacLean is best known for his beautiful aerial photographs of the U.S., taken in flight from his lightweight plane. MacLean’s work reveals a stunning urban landscape which is made up of strong contrasts and unexpected findings. Among the top floor installations there are not only the famous water towers, lush gardens, and swimming pools but also cafés, restaurants, and even tennis courts.

MacLean03 230 5th Ave, Chelsea, Manhattan

MacLean07 601 W 112th St, Morningside Heights, Manhattan

MacLean08 W 2nd St ET 23rd St, 9th and 10th Ave, Chelsea, Manhattan

MacLean04 60 E 8th St, Noho, Manhattan

MacLean10 Kent Avenue Apartments, 175 Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

MacLean09 The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd St, Midtown, Manhattan

All Photos © Alex MacLean/Schirmer/Mosel Verlag. Photos and Addresses via ZeitOnline and Schirmer/Mosel.

Cordula Schaefer Cordula Schaefer is a photography enthusiast who loves to venture out to explore new places and hardly ever leaves the house without a camera. A New Yorker at heart, she is especially fond of city trips and has a soft spot for beautiful beachscapes. She currently bases herself in Berlin and keeps the visual documents of her travels at Cordugram.