Five Tips for Roof Deck Etiquette

Your apartment’s roof deck can be a great place to make friends, impress neighbors, throw a great party, and maybe even meet that special someone. However, there are things to keep in mind so you don’t become “that guy” or “that lady” at your building—let alone get on the bad side of the building’s management. For example, as much as you are trying to get that perfect tan this summer, tanning in a speedo or thong may not be the way to go. We’re certainly not here to judge! But buildings often have regulations about proper attire in public spaces that tenants might not be aware of. 

There’s also some other NYC building codes that are important to know. So to help you out, we put together five roof deck etiquette tips for impressing your neighbors, staying out of trouble with your building’s management, and hopefully, having fun along the way.  

1) To Smoke or Not to Smoke?

For the last 6 years, smoking inside has been banned in NYC buildings. However, each building has its own policies on whether you can smoke inside your own apartment or in an outdoor space. Be sure to keep up to date with your building’s policies. Some may ban smoking on the deck. Others may allow it. But even if they do, be sure to smoke downstream of your non-smoking neighbors. 

2) Rules on Noise: 

Buildings usually have set hours of operation and times when the management asks tenants to be quiet so they aren’t disturbing their neighbors. Some roof decks might be technically open from 7am to 10pm, but will ask residents to quiet down after 8pm. So your roof might not be the best place to party like a rock star on a Tuesday night (as fun as that sounds). 

3) Avoid Items That May Break or Fly Away:

While Mary Poppins might be able to fly away with her umbrella when a strong gust of wind comes, that unfortunately doesn’t work for the rest of us. Powerful winds can make a standing umbrella fly away and potentially hit a bystander below. Many buildings have rules about only using secured or weighted down furniture on the deck for this reason. 

4) Clean Up After Grilling:

If you have the privilege of a roof deck with a grill, summer is the perfect time to refine your barbecue skills. Grilling is a great way to enjoy the Fourth of July, Father’s Day, a cocktail party, a picnic, or any other summer soiree. 

If you are the champion of hamburgers, that’s great! Your neighbors will love you! Just remember to clean the grill after use, so you don’t become the lord of the flies instead of the queen of the grill. No one likes having to cook on a sticky, gross grill afterward, let alone all the critters that come with it.  

5) Be Mindful of Overcrowding: 

Before planning an impromptu soiree, see how many people are already on the roof. Overcrowding can not only be a safety hazard, but it can also create an uncomfortable environment. Some buildings also have rooftop occupancy limits. 

Keeping a Shared Space Fun for Everyone: 

As long as you are conscientious of your building’s rules, and your neighbors’ space, a roof deck can be a fun place for connecting with your neighbors and enjoying life in your NYC home. And if you want to know how to host a dreamy block party in Brooklyn, check out our comprehensive guide.


If you’re interested in learning about buying or selling in Brooklyn, download our free Buying Into Brooklyn Ebook or our Seller’s Guide. We share a ton of valuable resources to demystify the buying and selling process.

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