On February 7, 2018, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Open House New York for Spaces of Justice, a year-long series of tours and programs that will explore the relationship between architecture, urban design, and criminal justice in New York City. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Spaces of Justice is the fourth installment of Open House New York’s Urban Systems Series, an ongoing project that explores how economic, environmental, and cultural shifts of the early 21st century are transforming the systems that will shape the future of New York. Previous series have explored the changing spaces of contemporary manufacturing; the network of production and distribution facilities that comprise the city’s food system; and, most recently, the possibilities for a zero waste New York.

Over the last two decades, New York City has seen its homicide rate fall 90 percent while its prison population has shrunk by more than half, transforming it into one of the safest big cities in the United States. In a moment of national support for new approaches to policing and incarceration, the City has a unique opportunity to radically rethink the design of its justice system at every level.

Scheduled to launch this spring, Spaces of Justice is a series of tours, lectures, and other public programs that will explore major questions about the architecture and infrastructure of the criminal justice system in New York City. What are the spaces of justice in New York today and how can they be better conceived to support a system that treats all who pass through them with dignity and respect? As the city considers a shift to smaller prisons, what improvements would this allow in incarceration and rehabilitation? How can urban design choices further reduce crime, especially in areas that continue to experience elevated rates of crime? By creating a public platform to examine these and other questions, Open House New York intends to open up the conversation about the relationship between the physical spaces in which justice is enacted and the outcomes they produce. 

“The choices we make about how to shape our justice system are fundamental to who we are as a community,” said Open House New York executive director Gregory Wessner. “This project invites New Yorkers to think more openly, and more critically, about the state of the city’s justice infrastructure, and to envision what a 21st-century criminal justice system might look like. We are enormously grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for this grant, and for its support of Open House New York over the past fifteen years.”

For updates about Spaces of Justice, subscribe to Open House New York’s e-newsletter. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.



Photo: Jannis Werner/Alamy Stock Photo

Over the past year, Open House New York opened the doors to more than 300 sites across the five boroughs for more than 80,000 visitors, connecting New Yorkers with the city–and to each other–for unforgettable experiences and a deeper understanding of how New York is designed, built, and preserved. As a small nonprofit organization, our work would not be possible without the generous participation and support of our members, donors, volunteers, partners, and friends. For this year’s edition of our annual I am an Open House New Yorker campaign, we asked members of the OHNY community why they support our work all year long as Open House New Yorkers. 


Open House New York’s newly appointed Deputy Director for Development and Communications

Open House New Yorker since… 2009. As a public space enthusiast, Open House New York has been on my radar since I moved to this city. Each October, I scour the Weekend Guide and plot my strategy for visiting sites — rooftops are always a go-to. Starting this January, I’ll translate my passion for Open House New York’s mission into a full-time job, joining the staff as the Deputy Director for Development and Communications.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Tough one! Kayaking in the Gowanus Canal and touring Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Terminal rank high on the list. That said, my most memorable OHNY experience is visiting Treasure in the Trash, which takes up an entire floor of an East Harlem sanitation garage. The “museum” features hundreds of items — everything from Pez dispensers to plastic Christmas trees — rescued from curbside garbage and lovingly curated by Nelson Molina, a retired DSNY employee who has spent more than thirty years building the collection. Sanitation garages are typically off-limits to the general public, but OHNY opens up this experience to hundreds of people each year. Seeing this glimpse of beauty in such an unexpected place is what makes New York magical.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… by unlocking the built environment, OHNY has a remarkable way of connecting us to our city – and to each other.



Managing Principal, Dattner Architects
OHNY Weekend Site Host and Getting to Zero Program Partner

Open House New Yorker since… 2001. I heard about Open House New York soon after it was founded in 2001; its ties with the architectural community were well-established from the start. The first site I volunteered for was a new green roof on top of The Calhoun School – back when green roofs were novel in New York City. It was wonderful to be able to show people that it was possible to put grass on top of a school, to demonstrate how it was woven into their curriculum, and to answer questions about how it was part of a sustainable building. The spirit of curiosity and appreciation that I felt back then still permeates the organization and all their events.

Most memorable OHNY experience: This year! For Open House New York Weekend, Dattner Architects hosted two very different sites, and I spent Saturday at the adaptive reuse of a former school into affordable housing in Harlem, and Sunday at a sanitation garage and salt shed touring people through and sharing stories about the buildings. The contrast between the sites could not be greater, yet the pride of those who live and work in the buildings, and the level of engagement of the visitors, were identical.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I am proud of our city and incredibly grateful for the opportunities OHNY provides to explore it with other curious New Yorkers.



Principal, Büro Koray Duman
OHNY Weekend Partner on New Practices New York

Open House New Yorker since… 2012 when Interior Design magazine editor Cindy Allen asked me if she could include my apartment for a special series she was curating for Open House New York Weekend showcasing architect and designers and their homes.

Most memorable OHNY experience: I live in a fifth-floor walk-up, but during the 2012 OHNY Weekend, there was a line of people all the way down the staircase, out the building, and around the block. My neighbors thought there was a celebrity in the building.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… OHNY provides openness and a dialogue between people from all walks of life about the city we share and live in.



Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement, Queens Museum
OHNY Weekend Site Host and Conversations on the City Speaker

Open House New Yorker since… 2017. As the Director of Public Programs at the Queens Museum, I’ve worked on creating programming as an OHNY Weekend host site since 2007. These have always included tours of The Panorama of the City of New York, a large-scale model of New York City that was made by Robert Moses for the 1964-65 World’s Fair when our building was the NYC Pavilion.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Since I host OHNY Weekend activities myself, I don’t get to go too far to experience other sites. However, I loved being able to run next door during OHNY Weekend and get a hard hat tour within the Tent of Tomorrow structure, which is part of the New York State Pavilion designed by Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. While I see it every day from the outside, I had never been able to experience it from the inside, since it’s usually closed to the public!

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I believe that discussions on urban planning and architecture should be something that everyone should participate in. After all, we have to live with decisions about our built environment for generations to come. The impact of these fields on everyday life are so profound and have the potential to reflect our most forward-thinking and democratic tendencies as a society.



Public Health and Public Safety Consultant
OHNY Program Partner and Volunteer

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I first got involved by attending OHNY Weekend, then tried our volunteering, and am now beginning to help plan Spaces of Justice, Open House New York’s next yearlong Urban Systems Series.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Touring the Fountain Avenue Landfill stands out as a favorite, where from Brooklyn’s highest point one sweep of vision can take in the distant spires of downtown Manhattan and the glittering waters of Jamaica Bay.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… New York City presents an awesome spectacle to the world, but so much of its meaning and mechanism is walled off from public view. OHNY pierces the facade, creating a space where we can all pause, share, and marvel at the collective enterprise that is this city.



Marketing Professional
OHNY Board Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I first heard of OHNY while perusing newspapers and was enamored by the idea of discovering new places and spaces throughout the city.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Walking up a four-floor old tenement building on the Lower East Side and walking into a sprawling art-filled apartment with a claw foot bathtub in the living room. Totally unexpected and architecturally exhilarating.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… NYC transforms behind every door.





OHNY Member and Volunteer

Open House New Yorker since… 2016. I read about the M11 Sanitation Garage online and was fascinated. I wanted to go see this incredible space and one of the only opportunities seemed to be through OHNY. So I became a member. When I received the introductory email launching the Getting To Zero series for this year I was just floored by the program. I was so excited by all of it and couldn’t imagine missing out on any of the evemts. I emailed OHNY to volunteer my photography services in the hopes that I could get involved with the organization and luckily they welcomed me.

Most memorable OHNY experience: The two OHNY events that continue to stay with me are Treasure In The Trash at M11, and Dead Horse Bay. Both reflect our history with garbage and challenge us to see garbage from a different viewpoint. Both spaces place garbage in a different context, which leads to so many thoughtful questions.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I am curious to learn about all the people, programming, and projects happening in all aspects of our lives that enable us to live our lives as New Yorkers. The information I learn helps me to be a better New Yorker and responsible global citizen.



Education & Outreach Coordinator, Sims Municipal Recycling
OHNY Weekend Site Host and Getting to Zero Program Partner

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I first heard about OHNY shortly after I moved to New York City, but it was a few years before I reserved a spot in time for an OHNY Weekend Advance Registration site. Over the last year I’ve become involved as a site host at Sims Municipal Recycling for tours as part of the Getting to Zero series and OHNY Weekend, which was the single busiest day I’ve had leading tours here!

Most memorable OHNY experience: Getting out on the water to trace New York City’s waste history and modern infrastructure over the course of two boat tours part of the Getting to Zero series. Drifting up the fragrant Newtown Creek at sunset under the remains of the old Kosciuszko Bridge, past scrap metal yards, refineries, and a wastewater treatment plant was a contemplative and intense experience that somehow still managed to put the “fun” in “Superfund site.”

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… OHNY gives New Yorkers open access to the inspiring but usually inaccessible spaces in their city, and don’t we all need more openness and inspiration right now?


Are you an Open House New Yorker who believes in our mission and is committed to an open and accessible city? As a nonprofit organization, Open House New York relies on the support of people like you and hope you will make a year-end gift today to keep New York open and sustain this important work. 



Open House New York and Wikimedia NYC partnered during the 15th Anniversary Open House New York Weekend to present the 2017 Wikipedia at OHNY Weekend Photo Competition. A festival favorite, the competition invites budding and experienced photographers to submit their best OHNY Weekend photos on Wikimedia Commons. More than 1,100 photos were submitted to the 2017 competition photos and are now part of the largest online repositories of public domain images in the world.

Submissions were judged by a panel of Open House New York volunteer photographers–a group of expert Open House New Yorkers who volunteer their time and photography expertise to help document all year-round programs and OHNY Weekend. Judges included New York photographers David Mark Erickson, Ben Helmer, Nicolas Lemery Nantel, Bella Muccari, Juliana Sohn, and Julia Xiao

Photo submissions were grouped into three categories–Details, Exteriors, and Interiors–and winners were selected in each category. Based on the number of votes, one category winner received distinction as the Grand Prize Winner and additional photos were recognized as Honorable Mentions. Winners are awarded $100 gift certificates for New York City Photo Safari, and the Grand Prize Winner also receives an Insta360–a clip-on that transforms the user’s phone into a VR camera that records 360-degree high-resolution 3K video–courtesy of New York City Photo Safari. 

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who participated!




Interiors Category Winner and Grand Prize Winner: Federal Hall by John Rakis


Honorable Mention: Diana Center at Barnard College by Rvguido


Honorable Mention: Modulightor by Faith Ergun




Details Category Winner: The Bridge at Cornell Tech by Alex Fortney


Honorable Mention: Brooklyn  Army Terminal by Alex Fortney


Honorable Mention: Ukrainian Institute of America by Dthalpern




Exteriors Category Winner: Brooklyn Army Terminal by Ian Bartlett


Honorable Mention: Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant by Shuo Yan


Honorable Mention: Waterside Plaza by Theamazingknight


Want to learn more about Wikimedia NYC? Join them on Sunday, January 14, at Wikipedia Day 2018 at Ace Hotel, one of several worldwide Wikipedia Day events that celebrate Wikipedia’s 17th birthday with a mini-conference about Wikimedia and allied projects.

Open House New York gratefully acknowledges the generous support of New York City Photo Safari for this year’s competition prizes.


Open House New York is pleased to announce the election of two new members to its Governing Board.  Joining the board are Sara Lopergolo and Eric McLaughlin, whose expertise and passion for New York will provide vital support to Open House New York and its mission to keep the city open and accessible. 

Sara Lopergolo is a Partner at Selldorf Architects and a licensed architect with 25 years of experience. Sara has been with the firm for seventeen years and has worked on many of the firm’s large-scale new construction and renovation projects for cultural, commercial and residential clients in New York. She is currently Partner-in-Charge for the 75,000 sf expansion and renovation of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the expansion and enhancement of the Frick Collection. Sara has significant experience with ground-up construction having served as Partner-in-Charge on large-scale projects such as the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility in Brooklyn and 200 Eleventh Avenue, a 19-story residential condominium. Sara has completed galleries for David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Barbara Gladstone among others. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University, and has studied and worked in England, Italy, and Japan. Sara is a member of the American Institute of Architects and The Architectural League.
Eric McLaughlin is a Director of Business Development at Shawmut Design and Construction with 10 years experience supporting the efforts of New York-based, high-end residential builders. He is capable of leading the formulation and implementation of market-driven strategies resulting in significant growth. Eric is an active member of the architecture and design industries and is known for producing events from pop up dinners to wine tastings and architectural tours, as a way to cultivate community and relationships. He’s been a supporter of Open House New York since attending his first event in 2008 when he toured the world’s oldest subway tunnel beneath Atlantic Avenue. Since then he’s become increasingly involved, organizing two benefactor parties and serving on various committees.
Open House New York 
Governing Board
Roy Kim
Karen Stonely, Principal, SPAN Architecture
Vice President
Rob Rogers, Principal, Rogers Partners
Katie Dixon, Executive Director, Powerhouse Workshop
Sherlen Archibald, marketing professional
Cristobal Correa, Associate Principal, Buro Happold
Kenneth Drucker, Director of Design, HOK
Dorothy Dunn, Dorothy Dunn and Associates
Louise Harpman, Partner, Louise Harpman Projects
Stephan Jaklitsch, Principal, Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects
Elizabeth Kubany, Principal, Kubany Judlowe
Sara Lopergolo, Partner, Selldorf Architects
Eric McLaughlin, Director of Business Development, Luxury Homes, Shawmut Design and Construction
Caroline Otto, Senior Associate, anderson architects
Anne Rieselbach, Program Director, The Architectural League of New York
Abby Jo Sigal, Executive Director, James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation
Margaret Sullivan, Principal, Margaret Sullivan Studio
Saundra Thomas, Vice-President of Community Affairs, WABC-TV
Claire Weisz, Principal, WXY architecture + urban design

Open House New York is first and foremost a champion for an open city. The doors we open every year are the tangible expression of a commitment to the idea that access to the city–and to each other–is fundamental to our success as a community and our shared future. This openness has been a hallmark of New York City from its beginning and continues to draw people to it from around the world. It is something that must constantly be nurtured and protected, which is why Open House New York’s mission is more important now than ever. 

Help keep New York open by making a year-end gift to Open House New York. Click here to make a contribution via Paypal or send a check made payable to Open House New York to 1133 Broadway, Suite 802, New York, NY 10010. Want to make your contribution in the form of appreciated stocks? Email Elis Shin at elis@ohny.org to receive information about how to make a stock transfer. 

As a small nonprofit organization, the work of Open House New York is only possible because people like you are committed to an open and accessible city. 



Thank you for your support of Open House New York and best wishes for the holidays!

Image: City Hall by Josef Pinlac.