Picture yourself sitting in a nice hotel, gazing out on the New York skyline, ready to head out and take on the town for the first day of your Big Apple vacation. Across the rooftops you spy a familiar shape, and think to yourself, ‘No, that can’t be a Sopwith Camel on that roof.’ So you grab your trusty binoculars, that you brought another for, uh, sightseeing, and take another look. There sits the WWI era biplane, rusting away on what appears to be a truncated runway!
The plane is there, up on the 26-story rooftop of 77 Water Street. The building was built by the William Kaufman Organization in 1970, and they wanted to give it a little something special. And while first time viewers often wonder if the plane actually landed there, “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.” (wsj.com)
Images and info from wsj.com, with the current photos taken by Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal, and the early photos of the installation from the William Kaufman Organization.