Space of the Week: Greetings From the 35th Floor

Taking in the view from lawyer and author Frederic C. Rich’s 35th-floor penthouse living room might be the closest you will ever come to paragliding over New York Harbor. Then you notice that there is a door leading out to a rooftop garden ” Photo: Wendy Goodman

The nearly 2,000-foot garden is divided into three areas. Rich and his team (Mark Morrison for the landscape design, Annie Novak for the farming and produce) designated this corner, where the vista is most spectacular, a “secret garden,” which they planted with alpines. The flagstone paths are laced with sedum. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This little seating area leads up to the secret garden. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here, from a small bench in the secret garden, one can gaze out at the harbor”and beyond. Photo: Wendy Goodman

As you make your way out of the secret garden toward the orchard, you pass a seating area where espaliered pears are growing in open-bottom planters. Apparently, on a green roof, all planters have open bottoms. Photo: Wendy Goodman

A garden path winds through the orchard, which features four varieties of apple trees as well as Moonglow pear trees. The double-helix glass sculptures flanking the path are by Eve Vaterlaus. They were designed to circulate water in a spiral flow to minimize spray in the wind. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The vegetable garden is currently brimming with carrots, lettuce, cabbage, chives, beets, asparagus, and kale. As we passed a raspberry bush, Rich handed me a raspberry, saying, “The last time people harvested raspberries and blueberries south of Wall Street in Manhattan was probably sometime in the late eighteenth century.” Photo: Wendy Goodman

The fences in the back of the garden are covered with Malabar spinach. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This open area is designated for yoga. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This cold frame box, designed by Mark Morrison, sits on top of a larger storage unit and is made of aluminum and safety glass. Traditional cold frames were made by placing old windows over wood boxes that were then set against a wall with a southern exposure. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The section of the garden designed to be seen year-round from the living room is based on a Japanese courtyard garden. Here the foliage consists of a cutleaf Japanese maple surrounded by evergreens, including dwarf Japanese white pine and Japanese dwarf Hakonechloa, along with a variety of grasses. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The harvest-slash-dining table sits under the grape arbor and climbing melon vines. Rich hosts events and invites scholars and scientists to use the garden throughout the year. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This is what Rich hopes the garden will look like in the coming months. Rich’s blog offers a feast of photos and information about how this incredible green roof garden was created and charts the changes throughout the seasons. When he’s not in the garden, he works as a financial lawyer with Sullivan & Cromwell. He’s also involved in farmland preservation in New York State, serving as board chair of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust and head of the New York State Environmental Leaders Group. His first novel, Christian Nation, which imagines our world in a Sarah Palin presidency, was published by W.W. Norton in July. Photo: Courtesy of Fredric C. Rich

Space of the Week: Greetings From the 35th Floor