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Picture this: all of the vibrant activity that comes with living in the heart of New York City … but up away from the noise, with your own yard, porch and/or patio. If not an urban utopia, this is most certainly a significant step up from the sardine-can experience of a typical cramped apartment or shoe-box condo.

They are a strange and fascinating anomaly – whole houses ranging from traditional to modern,  modest to luxurious, perched atop other (larger) multistory buildings right in the middle of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

And who better than film-location scout Nick Carr (featured on The Huffington Post and Inhabitat, as well as his own site: ScoutingNYC) to find and capture these on camera, from ski-chalet-style retreats and ultramodern condo pods to big brutalist monstrosities.

Some even have chimneys along the side, green gardens out front (or back) or share their rooftop space with other small stand-alone residences. Yes: effectively a whole little semi-suburban (essentially gated) private neighborhood in the sky.

“Did a tornado rip through Cape Cod and drop an ocean-side beach house onto an East Village apartment building?? Note not only the double-level bay windows, but also the octagonal window on the right, the fantastic cuppola, and the horse weathervane. No kidding, a horse weathervane.” A certain air of mystery surrounds oddities like this as well, with rumors, for instance, that this home is surrounded by sand and beach chairs. As you might imagine, this proves hard to confirm one way or the other, given its somewhat lofty out-of-the-way location.