Watching the detectives



Picture credit: Jimmy King.


I like to pay attention to the little details. I also like a good mystery to solve and so, when I first saw the above image of Bowie staring out from a Manhattan rooftop, I became taken with the idea of discovering which rooftop it might be.

I figured that it would most likely be in the SOHO area judging by the view of the Empire State Building and the fact that Bowie actually lived on Lafayette Street in SOHO. I didn’t realise it at first but my own visit to Bowie’s apartment was going to yield my best clue.

I took a bajillion photographs that day and one, in particular, would give me the landmark I needed to crack the location.

If you look closely at the Bowie pick, you will notice a white building festooned with water towers.


I noticed this building too – when I was standing on Lafayette Street. The towers drew my eye and inspired me to take this photo;


It looks a little different seen from street level (and nearly three years later) but it’s definitely the same building. That means the photo had to have been taken on the roof  of one of the buildings with an unobstructed view across Houston.

At first, I thought it must be the Puck Building which is right next door to Bowie’s penthouse apartment, between it and Houston, but the angle is wrong. I also ruled out Bowie’s actual building due to its obstructed viewpoint.

The colour scheme of the rooftop was the final tell. If you take a look on Google Earth, not too many buildings in that general area have that form of dark tarpaper roof. In fact, there’s only one that could provide the correct angle. The location had to be 270 Lafayette Street diagonally across from Bowie’s penthouse.

Image from Google Street View.


And that’s how you waste a couple of hours of your Saturday.


Words and image (unless otherwise credited) are my own.







Picture credit: Jimmy King.

10 thoughts on “Watching the detectives

  1. Whoa! That’s some nice detective work! It’s always a fun experiment to do something like that from old or historical photographs. Like when people try to find the actual diner that inspired Hopper’s Nighthawks (probably is a composite and doesn’t actually exist, according to recent stories.) Still fun thought. Next step: Get to the top of the 270 Building!

    Liked by 1 person

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