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A print from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in 1878 shows well-dressed New Yorkers escaping the summer heat by climbing up on to the roof in the evening. Photographs by Jacob Riis show turn-of-the-century New Yorkers sleeping on the roof. New Yorkers grow gardens on roofs. In New York, schools and settlement houses construct rooftop playgrounds.

Girls on roof
c. 1940: Girls cutting up on the roof, Queens
(Fiorello LaGuardia Memorial Archive)

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Taken from City Play, copyright ©1990. Used with permission by

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