Camera Obscura-Vanderbilt Republic-Gowanus Loft-George del Barrio-Brooklyn-NYCPhotos by the Vanderbilt Republic

Gowanus’ Vanderbilt Republic is always up to something new and large scale, like their 2015 lighting of the Smith-9th Street Bridge. Now, they’ve turned their cool loft space into a veritable camera obscura – a modern version of the ancient devices that brought forth the modern camera. This camera obscura turns the whole loft into a dark room, with a hole that allows the outside scene to project (upside down) onto the walls inside. The Smith-9th Street Bridge figures clearly as a recurrent muse for the Vanderbilt Republic, along with the skyline of Gowanus itself, forming incongruous visions atop the loft’s walls, kitchen spaces, doors and more.


The Ides at the Wythe Hotel-Williamsburg-Brooklyn-Best NYC RooftopsPhoto via The Wythe Hotel

Summer, and therefore “roof season” has blasted past, and although the weather remains great long past Labor Day weekend, just when it cools off enough to really enjoy the evenings, many of the rooftop bars close. But many don’t! So while you may not have exhausted our list of best off-the-beaten path rooftops for summer yet, we recently asked Leslie Adatto, author of the book Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftopsthe first-ever guide to public access rooftops, to share with us her top 10 for fall.

1. Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook

Brooklyn Crab-Red Hook-Waterfront-Rooftop-Best Rooftops-NYCBrooklyn Crab, photo via Brit & Co.

Brooklyn Crab has great views and great food, and when it’s a bit cooler out, they just roll down the clear plastic “windows.” You can take the Ikea ferry over there so it’s a fabulous day out.

Bowling Green-Tearing Down Statue of King George-New York-Revolutionary War-NYCTearing down the sculpture of King George in Bowling Green (though many details of the scene are off)

Revolution was coming. The American Continental Congress, sensing the inevitability of a break from the British Empire and the ensuing war, had called George Washington, the head of the Continental Army, to come down to New York from Boston. Even though New York’s population of 20,000 was only the seventh largest in the colonies, Washington considered the city of “infinite importance,” as British control of its ports and waterways would “stop the intercourse between the northern and southern colonies, upon which depends the safety of America.”  On April 13, 1776, Washington and his revolutionary army rolled into town.


The story of New York City’s ballrooms form one facet of the city-wide story of a changing entertainment industry and real estate market. Many of the iconic music venues survived Prohibition, only to be taken down by the advent of radio and television. The large spaces necessitated diversification of events and venues, causing their musical cache to fall as real estate pressures were rising. This list of New York City’s ballrooms include those lost, those still standing and those converted, as well as new ballrooms adapted from other types of spaces. Not all were music venues, but all have a unique story to tell as part of the city’s history. Here are 12 historic ballrooms:


Brooklyn-Gowanus-Smith-9th-St-Bridge-Kentile-Floors-Art-Vanderbilt-Republic-Untapped Cities-Nasha Virata The Smith-9th Street Bridge as “Spectrum II” from George Del Barrio, Vanderbilt Republic

From tonight until January 23rd, the Smith-9th Street bridge transforms from its typical concrete structure to a background of colorful pattern. A half-mile wide and 90-feet tall “photographic monument” drenches the bridge as George Del Barrio, of creative agency Vanderbilt Republic, and San Francisco-based Colin Bowring, “Spectrum II” project a beam of lights on the concrete bridge.


Gowanus_Wild_Egret_untappedcities_annabrownImage by Miska Draskoczy

Gowanus is a neighborhood of inconsistencies: its booming real estate market makes it the next hot destination in Brooklyn, while its polluted canal could give a person ecoli, dysentery, and cancer. Upscale restaurants and art galleries are popping up on its streets, yet two blocks away one finds garbage piled up against corrugated tin walls, demarcating a warehouse or a car yard, or maybe the next big housing development.

Miska Draskoczy revels in the area’s contradictions in his photography series “Gowanus Wild.” His photos, taken over the course of two years, try to find the beauty in what many consider to be an industrial wasteland. Draskoczy writes: