As told to Lydia Geisel

Published on May 16, 2020

My family and I live on the 34th floor of an apartment building in New York City’s Financial District, so suffice to say our plant-covered terrace is a small slice of paradise amid the towering skyscrapers. While our tomatoes and Persian cucumbers thrive, it does get sunny and hot, not to mention very, very windy—think: tornado from The Wizard of Oz. I knew I couldn’t put just any ordinary umbrella out there. It had to be sturdy and it had to offer privacy (the people above us are sometimes too curious about our festive garden in the sky). 

The thing about most backyard and pool-lounge umbrellas is that they’re rarely aesthetically pleasing, and even when you do find one that is a shape you like, it often comes with not-so-chic fringe or tassels. Serena & Lily’s Eastport umbrella, though, is different from anything I’ve seen. The pagoda-style design provides a ton of coverage, and the scalloped border, lined in navy, is interesting without being fussy. 

At $728, I’ll admit it’s not the cheapest thing in the world, but I’m a believer that you get what you pay for. This thing has withstood two summers on my terrace without blowing over (it’s connected to a heavy metal base that surprisingly doesn’t take up a lot of room). So far I haven’t had to clean it. When winter comes around, we simply slip its cover on and leave it outside. 

We originally thought about putting it over our outdoor dining table, but that area gets a lot of shade as it is, so we situated it next to a little sofa and a rug. Because our apartment is so small, during the summer and spring months we treat the terrace as another living room. So yes, this umbrella  provides shade, while also accenting a spot where my daughter can have breakfast and my husband and I can take a nap. The canopy is essentially a grown-up version of a fort. At night I’ll take a glass of wine out there and look up at the stars. It instantly transports, like I’ve gone on some magical vacation without ever leaving home. 

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