Today we're sharing the twelth, thirteenth, and fourteenth of twenty-two paintings (all of them views of The Bronx) by Bronx artist Daniel Hauben for the new Robert A. M. Stern Library on the Bronx Community College campus. The
panels are titled "Rooftop Sunset 1", "Rooftop Sunset 2", and "Sholem Aleichem Roofs 2"(below) and takes inspiration from other paintings Hauben completed earlier in his career.
"On hot summer nights on Manhattan's Lower East Side, my parents, in their childhood, would often sleep up on the roofs of their tenements. During my own childhood I also spent a fair amount of
time on the 4th story roof of the building I grew up in (3458 Fenton Avenue, Bronx, NY 10469). How many times I watched my mother hang up our laundry there to dry. I caught my first butterfly on
the roof, and discovered that its delicate colors came off on my fingers. Our family watched Freedomland's fireworks display on the Fourth of July from our roof. At age eight I would go up there
and loudly call, "EEE AHH KEE!" -- a rallying cry for my friends on the block to come out and play.
I was also eight years old when my mother found spent syringes on the roof, and my parents decided it was time to move out of the neighborhood.
With modern day dangers and paranoia, most city roofs are bolted shut or have alarms that prevent everyday access. What a loss, what a wasted resource! Perhaps in a more enlightened future we
will, at the very least, paint our roofs white to reflect back the heat of the summer sun, and more than that: we will make the roofs green with trees and vegetable gardens like they do so
successfully in Munich and other European cities. And we will not deny ourselves access to this magical realm -- one that gives us a whole different perspective from which to view our amazing
The only time we spent on roofs growing up was when we tried to tan without leaving the block. Unfortunately, the black tar made it really difficult to stay up there for more than half an
Did you spend a lot of time on roofs growing up? Which roof in the BX has your favorite view?