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Outward Bound

Great spots for a wedding en pleine air beyond central Manhattan.


The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers   


MIDTOWN LOFT & TERRACE
267 Fifth Ave., at 29th St., Ste. 100; 888-435-4979; midtownloft.net
Cost:$4,000 to $8,500 location fee, which includes taxes and a doorman as well as minimal lounge furniture and a full sound system.
Capacity: Loft, 180 seated and served; terrace, 100 seated and served.
Exchange your vows while looking out at the Empire State Building on this 3,600 square-foot rooftop with a wraparound terrace. After a recent renovation and years of an Astroturf existence, the landscaped gardens on top of this eleven-story building now sit on a wood mahogany deck. While the roof itself is an independent space (with bathrooms, a kitchen, and an enclosed lounge area equipped with fireplace), couples generally choose to utilize the airy loft space below for the reception. Four walls of windows provide a continued panoramic view.


L’Olivier Downtown  

620 LOFT & GARDEN
620 Fifth Ave., at 50th St.; 212-698-2000; topoftherocknyc.com
Cost: Price upon request.
Capacity: 120 seated and served; 165 for cocktails.
A favorite among fashion and entertainment location scouts (yes, Spiderman scaled these walls in the trilogy’s last installment), the rooftop garden on the seventh floor of Rockefeller Center’s British Empire Building showcases views of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Saks Fifth Avenue (an equally religious landmark to some). The stone pathways, manicured hedges, and reflecting pool offer an ideal ceremony location while the Soho-style interior loft space provides a blank canvas for you to make all of your reception visions a reality.

THE PRIVATE ROOF CLUB & GARDEN AT THE GRAMERCY PARK HOTEL
2 Lexington Ave, at 21st St.; 212-920-3300; gramercyparkhotel.com
Cost: Price upon request.
Capacity: 125 seated and served; 250 for cocktails.
For the “chi-chi, frou-frou more intimate wedding,” 4PM Event’s Tatiana Byron, who runs the Wedding Salon showcase in Manhattan twice a year, recommends the lush surroundings at the top of Ian Schrager’s seventeen-story boutique hotel. Connected by garden terraces, where receptions are usually set up, the three interior living rooms (underneath retractable roofs) house a selection of twentieth-century masterpieces from Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst—great talking points for your guests should there be a lull in conversation during cocktail hour.

THE LIGHTHOUSE AT CHELSEA PIERS
23rd Street at the West Side Highway; 212-336-6144; piersixty.com
Cost: From $190 to $250 per person, including the space, a cocktail hour, a four-course dinner, wedding cake, full open bar, chairs, tables, linens, dishes, and maître d’.
Capacity: 175 to 300 people seated and served.
With floor-to-ceiling windows offering southwest views of the Hudson, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazzano Bridge, the four largest windows enclosing the terrace here are completely retractable for that “outside ceremony” feel. In addition to the bonus of in-house catering form Abigail Kirsch, the Lighthouse provides a maître d’ two months in advance to help plan all the details for your affair and be on site the night of the event. Since you’re right on the water with no neighbors (and no noise restrictions), your party can rage on into the wee hours of the morning for an additional $10 per head, per half hour.


Studio 450  

STUDIO 450
450 W. 31st St., nr. Tenth Ave., twelfth fl.; 212-290-1400; lofteleven.com
Cost: Location fee starts at $6,000.
Capacity: 220 seated and served, with a dance floor.
As one of the select properties under the Penthouse 15 umbrella, the huge windows and less-developed location of this duplex loft make its rooftop and wraparound terrace a choice location for serious Hudson views. Ceremonies on the roof generally proceed into the contemporary, white-on-white loft space for the reception, where four walls of windows provide a panoramic portrait of Midtown Manhattan.

CENTRAL PARK ZOO
830 Fifth Ave., at 64th St.; 212-439-6509; wcs.org
Cost: Price upon request.
Capacity: 600 seated and served; 1,200 for cocktails.
Looking out onto the city skyline—or the sea lion pool—the landscaped gardens here can be tented and heated for your ceremony and cocktails. (Dinner is best spent with the snow monkeys.) Reserve at least a year in advance—June 2008 is already booked solid.

COOPER-HEWITT, NATIONAL DESIGN MUSEUM
2 E. 91st St., nr. Fifth Ave.; cooperhewitt.org
Cost: $25,000, $15,000 of which goes to staffing your event, $10,000 to your membership.
Capacity: 1,000 guests for a standing reception; 500 for a seated dinner.
You have to be a member of the Cooper Hewitt to utilize its event spaces but the membership fee ($10,000 of which is tax deductible) gives you an all-access pass to Carnegie Mansion and the Arthur Ross Terrace and Gardens so if there are exhibitions going on, you and your guests are welcome to roam the halls of the turn of the century mansion and its grounds—on your best behavior, of course.

L’OLIVIER DOWNTOWN
213 W. 14th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-255-2828; lolivier.com
Cost: Location fee is $4,500.
Capacity: 60 to 80 in the garden for cocktails; 150 for cocktails in the gallery and garden.
The downtown installment of this Upper East Side staple has a 1,500 square–foot “secret” garden in the back, maintained by the atelier’s famed proprietor. Receptions are usually held in the floral gallery itself, where two high countertops are converted to tables for family-style dining.

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