7 Harrison Street (L); 203 East 13th Street (R)
Though townhouses, row houses, and wooden houses exist in NYC in lower density areas like Brooklyn and Queens, in Manhattan, there’s often nowhere to build but up. It follows that those who enjoy the conveniences of modern condos sacrifice the feel of a free-standing house, and vice-versa. Penthouse living provides a rare exception; if you’re the top dog, you can basically build what you want, and the highest surface becomes your backyard and front porch. Penthouse bulkheads take a variety of shapes, with the most elaborate ones resembling nothing so much as a modernist masterpiece hovering above it all. In a few notable cases, this allowance is taken more literally than usual. The handful of log cabins, wood houses and such are curiosities atop the city’s tall buildings.
The pair of lofty dwellings below exemplifies this good fortune. The first, a glass-walled rectangle above one of Tribeca’s most coveted converted industrial buildings removes the need for a Palm Springs retreat, though the $22.5 million price tag is definitely New York City-sized. The second, at $4.45 million, is more average-penthouse-priced, but the East Village home is definitely unique–its top floor resembles a country cottage.