THE BLOG
05/08/2014 05:40 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2014

New York's Rooftop Lounges

by Mackenzie Allison for Where®

After asking Concierge Harald Mootz of The St. Regis New York for his favorite rooftop lounges, these NYC perches are on our summer must-do list.

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(Pictured: Top of the Strand, the lounge atop The Strand Hotel)

In his almost 20-year career as a New York City concierge, Harald Mootz has filled all types of requests -- even recently standing in line at Dominique Ansel Bakery to grab the SoHo shop's highly sought-after Cronuts for a Middle Eastern royal family member and guest at The St. Regis New York, where Mootz has worked since 2008. Requests for novelty pastries aside, the concierge says with warmer weather finally upon us, guests are fixated on finding bird's-eye-view venues to take in this metropolis. Here, he recommends the best rooftop lounges in New York City.

For picturesque views of Central Park, Mootz suggests a trip to the Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar, perched atop the Upper East Side's venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Many people aren't even aware that there's a rooftop to visit," Mootz exclaims, noting that in the past few years the space has played host to a number of amazing and popular exhibits. "What's even better is that they have a small bar up there," he says. "To catch dusk/sunset looking at the West Side and the south of Manhattan while perched above some of the world's greatest collection of art and ephemera, while sipping a glass of champagne or wine, is just a quintessential New York experience!"

In Manhattan's western reaches, hugging 11th Avenue and W. 48th Street in Midtown, The Press Lounge at Ink48, a Kimpton hotel, has become a popular destination in recent years due to its close proximity to the Hudson River (to view the Fourth of July fireworks display), as well as panoramic views of the Manhattan cityscape. Although chilly weather is finally behind us, Mootz says the indoor bar on the roof is great year-round and worth considering during the winter.

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(Pictured: The Press Lounge, atop hotel Ink48)

For so-close-you-can-almost-touch-it views of one of the city's world-famous landmarks, look no further than Midtown's Top of the Strand, located atop The Strand Hotel. "With the commanding presence of the Empire State Building only three blocks away, [Top of the Strand] is a great place to go for a few drinks and nibbles at the end of a long day," Mootz says. "Catching sunset and the changing of the city's energy from day to night, as well as the colors of the Empire State Building -- now entirely LED lit -- will create a lasting impression."

Across the East River in Long Island City, Queens, Z Roof, the 5,000-square-foot rooftop lounge at the Z Hotel, is a favorite neighborhood spot for the Long Island City resident. "The view cannot be beat," Mootz says. "The skyline of Manhattan from the East Side is more stunning than the West Side -- partly due to the interesting buildings that are found on the East side: the Empire State Building stands tall and proud, the Chrysler Building is clearly lit, Citicorp Center [now 601 Lexington] and its slanted roof, the new Bloomberg tower and its changing light scheme, and of course the United Nations."

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Photo credits: Courtesy The Strand Hotel, Courtesy The Press Lounge