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British WWI fighter plane lands on NYC roof


There's an odd attraction perched atop the roof of 77 Water Street, a 26-story office building at the southern tip of lower Manhattan -- a World War I fighter plane. Well, it's an exact replica anyway.

And why would someone build a miniature runway and park the historic aircraft 26 floors above the Big Apple?

Because this is America and you can.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

When the William Kaufman Organization built the 26-story office tower in 1970, the owner wanted to adorn its roof with something more interesting than air-conditioning machinery.

“When you’re in a building that’s higher, and you’re looking down, it’s pretty ugly,” says Robert Kaufman, the company’s president. “So we said: ‘what can we do?’ And we got the idea of putting an airplane on the roof.”

Though Kaufman delights in onlookers wondering if a plane did indeed fly in and land on 77 Water Street, the aircraft is actually just an artistic re-imagining of a 1916 British Sopwith Camel, designed by Rudolph de Harak and constructed by sculptor William Tarr. It was hoisted into place by crane in 1969 and hasn’t moved since.

Also adorning the roofs of other Kaufman-owned buildings around NYC:

At 767 Third Avenue, an otherwise bland cement wall abutting the property is decorated with a three-story chess board, on which historic matches have been recreated. Explore the plaza at 77 Water Street, and you’ll find a full-size replica of a turn-of-the-century penny candy store, open for business. And neighboring buildings with a view of the setback at 127 John Street have a view on a cat chasing a canary, set in tile.
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