Posts Tagged ‘Rooftop Apartment New York City’

The penthouse dwellers of early 1900s New York

March 18, 2019

Living in a New York penthouse is synonymous with wealth and luxury. But it wasn’t always that way.

In the early 20th century, well-heeled New Yorkers began giving up their single-family mansions in favor of apartment living. But no one wanted to reside on or near the building roof, where smoke belched from chimneys and unsightly water tanks were constructed.

Instead, rooms and shack-like houses near or on the roof were given to servants, like these two New Yorkers, happily posing for photographer George Bain on top of an unidentified “skyscraper” apartment residence that city resident today would kill for.

When penthouses were rebranded for the elite in the 1920s, rooms for building staffers and servants were relocated to the lower floors.