The WWI British Biplane on a Rooftop in Lower Manhattan

For years, Shawn Hakimian has wondered why a World War I fighter plane sits on the roof of 77 Water Street.

It’s not every day you see an airplane taking off from a New York City building, says Hakimian, a developer whose 75 Wall Street condominiums have views onto the roof of the neighbouring Water Street building and the biplane that is parked there, on a landing strip lined with runway lights. It’s one of our buyers’ most commonly asked questions.

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 — via

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