Open House New York challenges you to show how much you know about New York’s recent past!

A lot has changed in New York City since the first Open House New York Weekend took place on October 11 and 12, 2003. From the High Line and Hudson Yards to Citibike and the Second Avenue Subway, the city and our experience of it has changed dramatically over the past fifteen years. 40,000 new buildings were built, 450 miles of new bike lanes were laid, and more than a third of New York’s neighborhoods were rezoned.

Through it all, Open House New York was there, opening doors and giving New Yorkers access to the changing city. Now Open House New York invites you to test your knowledge about this vibrant and volatile period in New York’s history! To celebrate the 15th anniversary of OHNY Weekend, Open House New York has organized a citywide scavenger hunt of recent architecture, planning, and development. Travel the five boroughs while answering clues that send you to New York’s most breathtaking new buildings. Relive some of the city’s most heated preservation battles and uncover the policies and politics that shaped contemporary New York. Join us in celebrating a city that remains the greatest metropolis in the world!

Closing Reception Hosted by


How it Works:

  • Players must register in advance, as space is limited, and may play solo or in teams of up to 6 people. One person will register for your team and will be asked to submit a team name and the names of team members.
  • Each team will also be required to designate one Instagram account from which they will submit photos during the course of the scavenger hunt. Only photos submitted via this account will be counted toward your team’s total.
  • The person who registers your team will receive a follow-up email prompting them to send in any key info not provided on the registration form. If you don’t know your team name, all of the team members, or your preferred Instagram account when completing your registration, that info can be sent later, but must be confirmed prior to the event.
  • On June 17, check in at Open House New York (1133 Broadway, 2nd Floor) between 10 AM and 12 PM to receive clue pamphlets and New York Now Scavenger Hunt t-shirts, which will need to worn in each photo submitted in order to earn points.
  • From 10 AM – 5 PM, decipher clues and race across the city posting photos of you and your team in front of the key zoning sites hinted at in more than sixty clues. To level the playing field, teams can walk, run, or take public transportation between sites—the use of bikes, private cars, or taxis is not allowed.
  • At the end of the day, join us for a closing reception from 5:30-7:30 PM at A/D/O (29 Norman Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn) where drinks and snacks will be served, winners announced, and prizes awarded!


Event Details
New York Now Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Check-in: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Hunt: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closing Reception: 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Tickets: $35 per team member




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Photo: Teri Tynes via Flickr

Over the past year, Open House New York opened the doors to more than 300 sites across the five boroughs for more than 88,000 visitors. 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 Open House New York campaign, we talked to members of our community, from board members to volunteers, to ask why they are Open House New Yorkers and support our work all year long. 



Business Development, SilverLining Interiors
OHNY Program Partner and Benefit Committee Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2009. I first heard about OHNY when I saw a posting for a tour of the world’s oldest subway tunnel, which runs beneath Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and was rediscovered in 1980 after many decades of abandonment. That space itself was really spectacular, a relic that few knew about. To get to it, we climbed into a manhole in the middle of Atlantic Avenue and got lots of strange looks from passersby. The tour guide was very passionate about the tunnel and was the person that rediscovered it. The story of how he did so was fascinating. I bought a t-shirt and have supported OHNY ever since!

Most memorable Open House New York experience? It’s a small scale site but I really enjoyed touring the Little Red Lighthouse beneath the George Washington Bridge as part of the 2016 OHNY Weekend. It’s in my neighborhood and I’ve admired it for years. It was fun to finally take a peek inside.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I’m always looking for new things to explore, to refresh my perspective and deepen my understanding of my home city.




Job Captain, FXFOWLE
OHNY Scavenger Hunt Enthusiast

Open House New Yorker since… the New York Art Deco Scavenger Hunt in 2014. I was aware of Open House New York before then, but it was my love for Art Deco buildings got me involved as a participant. It was an opportunity to see exceptional design that we usually do not have means to experience. I continue to participate as much to see a building as I do to learn more about other landmarks lying in plain sight.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? Seeing the Belasco Theatre on Broadway during the Landmark Dash in 2015.  I had been to the theatre on more than one occasion before it, but like many others, I had only ever gone into the dimly lit space, seen the usual dazzle of the show, and walked out. Which is why the interiors – the geometry, the layers of lines created by the wooden lattice, and the murals – took me by surprise. I owed it to the task at hand as part of the event, which was to count the Tiffany lamps on the ceiling. Now I make sure to thoroughly ogle around every stage before a show!

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I see the city to be a museum with shutters over every art piece, and to see them sans locks is something everyone should have access to.



Director, LHMQ; Vice President, Economic Development Programs, Downtown Alliance
OHNY Program Partner

Open House New Yorker since… 2006. I was in grad school and I remember hearing that for this one weekend, private spaces would be open…for free! It’s hard to believe there was a time before OHNY when we didn’t have an organization galvanizing New Yorkers to explore the amazing public and private spaces throughout New York City.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? This past OHNY Weekend I managed to snag tickets for the catwalks of Grand Central. Having access to view this extraordinary landmark five stories up is truly unforgettable. While it’s one of New York’s most visited sites, I consider myself lucky to have viewed it from this special perspective, behind the scenes.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I believe all New Yorkers should have access to the buildings and spaces that tell the story of our city and are defining its future.




Interior Designer / Materials Consultant
OHNY Member and Volunteer

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I don’t know when I first heard about Open House New York, but by the time I felt empowered to volunteer, I was a full-fledged design geek eager to share her love with other New Yorkers. For my first OHNY Weekend in 2011, I was assigned to a private residence on Prince Street. I was paired with a veteran, who taught me to deal with the minor stresses with a smile. I had a blast and knew I would be volunteering again and again. I made sure to work my schedule around the Weekend no matter what else was going on in my life or career.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? It’s always the last one! This year, I was asked to be a volunteer captain at the Municipal Building. I was nervous and a little anxious about letting folks down. But again I had a blast. Bridget, my District Coordinator, was incredibly helpful. And the site, though busy, was a familiar one so even with the hiccups it ended up being another great experience. And the building’s cupola! Just… wow.

My favorite visit by far was to the TWA Flight Center in 2015. That building is beautiful. To be able to see the architecture and interior design as an educated design consumer was humbling and inspiring. It was a reminder that gestures both large and small can change perceptions and the world. Eero Saarinen knew that. He didn’t waste his opportunities. I’m so pleased that much of it will be restored and preserved.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I’m a proud native New Yorker and I love my city! Any chance to volunteer to show off my home’s very best is time well spent.



Senior Account Executive at Harrison and Star
OHNY Weekend District Coordinator and Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2014. I first heard about Open House New York six years ago when I was volunteering for a similar organization in Wisconsin called Doors Open Milwaukee. When I moved here, I knew I had to get involved and learn as much as I could about New York City.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? Taking a boat tour of Gowanus Canal. How many people get the chance to take a boat ride on a SuperFund site? As a neighbor of the Gowanus Canal, it was amazing to learn about one of New York City’s most polluted waterways, the much needed cleanup project, and what will happen once the canal has been restored.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I love my city and want other people to experience and appreciate the amazing design and architecture it has to offer.




Principal, SPAN Architecture
OHNY Board Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2013. OHNY is a well known institution in the city. I decided to become passionately involved as a board member – in addition to continuously marveling at the incredible spaces that become physically and educationally accessible as a participant – after repeatedly engaging with diverse, inspired New Yorkers and individuals from countries afar, who believe we all have a consequential impact on our shared built environments.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? A momentous tour of the United Nations Council Chambers in 2013 that included a range of docents from designers and architects to members of the UN, who discussed how decisions about renovation – introducing fresh invention and restoring key historical elements – would be received and perceived by the important political members convening within the chambers.  It was a masterful renovation and the tour was genuinely inspiring.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… every New Yorker is an Open House New Yorker, they just might not know it yet!



In 2017, Open House New York will celebrate the 15th anniversary of OHNY Weekend and our mission to connect New Yorkers with their city and each other has never been more important than it is now. It seems like such a simple thing to do, opening a door, but the experience that it makes possible helps nurture and protect the values that have made New York the extraordinary city that it is.  Make a year-end gift to Open House New York today and sustain this important work.


On December 13, 2016, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Open House New York for Getting to Zero: Cities and Waste, a year long series of tours and programs that will explore the architecture and infrastructure of New York City’s waste system. 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.

Getting to Zero: Cities and Waste is the third installment of Open House New York’s Urban Systems Series, which has previously explored issues such as contemporary manufacturing and the architecture of New York City’s food system. Launching in 2017, Getting to Zero takes its inspiration from New York City’s 0X30 campaign, which aims to eliminate the 3,000,000 tons of residential waste that New York City sends to landfills each year. The series will deepen public understanding about how our built environment has been shaped and reshaped over time in response to changing attitudes about garbage, and consider what possibilities a radical transformation in waste management could have for new forms of architecture and urbanism. Through tours of infrastructure facilities; lectures and conferences; and other programming, Getting to Zero will raise public awareness about the architecture and infrastructure of waste and about collaborative possibilities for designing a better, more sustainable future.

“In many ways, our waste management system was intentionally designed to keep our garbage out of sight,” said OHNY executive director Gregory Wessner. “But that invisibility also hides from public view the full consequences of the enormous amount of waste we generate each day. Through Getting to Zero, Open House New York will help the public better understand the complex challenges of how we manage waste in a city like New York and to open up the conversation about the future of these systems. We are very grateful for the NEA’s generous support of this project.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit



This fall, Open House New York partnered with StreetEasy to create “NYC Uncovered,” a nine-part video series that celebrates our city’s incredible architecture and urban design. Each video highlights a single Open House New York Weekend site, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most popular OHNY Weekend destinations – some that New Yorkers know and love, and others that they may not have had access to before.

Each image below links to a post on the StreetEasy blog with more information about the site and a short video. Enjoy!



Eldridge Street Synagogue

“Built in 1887, the Eldridge Street Synagogue was one of the first temples built in the United States by Ashkenazi Jews. As such, it served has major center for Jewish life and prayer on the Lower East Side. Seamlessly blending understated beauty and historical significance, the site to this day remains an active place of worship as well as museum.” Watch Here



Lowline Lab

“Located at 140 Essex Street just off of Stanton Street, the Lowline Lab is a technical laboratory that mimics the environment of Lowline Park, a proposed underground community space built in a former trolley station. The concept behind the park is to create a green public space in one of the city’s least green and most dense neighborhoods – the Lower East Side.” Watch Here



New York State Pavilion 

“The New York State Pavilion is one of the only remaining structures built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The Fair, organized by Robert Moses, was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens where the 1939 World’s Fair also took place. The New York Pavilion, designed by the renowned modernist Philip Johnson, was one of the Fair’s main attractions and stood as a symbol of the Space Age and the promise of the future, two of the fair’s central themes.” Watch Here



VIA 57 West

“Architects and engineers refer to Via 57 West as a tetrahedron, a more technical term for describing a triangular pyramid. Due to its carved-out core, the building forms a saddle-like structure, which [Danish architect Bjarke] Ingels has also referred to as a hyperbolic paraboloid. The 709-unit luxury tower is the newest addition to the residential superblock along West 57th Street developed by the Durst Organization.” Watch Here



Masonic Hall

“Since the 19th century, an unassuming office building in Flatiron has been home to the largest Masonic Lodge in New York state. Formally known as the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, the lodge is still active today and regularly hosts more than 60 other lodges. The hall was built by Harry P. Knowles, a master mason and architect, and spans two office buildings on 23rd Street and rises 19 floors.” Watch Here



General Grant National Memorial

“When [Ulysses S.] Grant died in 1885, he was enormously popular, recognized as both the savior of the Union and a role model of rare political diplomacy, military strategy and masculine brawn. Upon his death, New Yorkers immediately rallied to design and build a memorial commensurate with his impact and legacy.” Watch Here



Apollo Theater

“Few other points of interest are as deeply entwined in a neighborhood’s character and history as Harlem‘s Apollo Theater. Equal parts neighborhood institution and international attraction, the Apollo and its famous marquee are recognized across the city and across the world as symbols of black music and culture.” Watch Here



Brooklyn Army Terminal

“Spanning 95 acres across the waterfront in Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Army Terminal was built in 1919, serving as an important military and supply base. It was designed by Cass Gilbert, the renowned architect of the Woolworth Building and was completed just 17 months after construction began. The complex encompasses 4 million square feet.” Watch Here



Kings County Distillery

“The Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to New York City’s oldest operating distillery, Kings County Distillery, which was just founded in 2010. In 2009, New York state loosened laws that had been restricting local production of alcohol since the time of prohibition. Colin Spoelman, a Williamsburg resident born and bred in Kentucky, and David Haskell, an editor at New York Magazine, immediately saw a business opportunity.  Shortly thereafter, Brooklyn’s first micro-distillery was born.” Watch Here


“NYC Uncovered” is presented by StreetEasy in partnership with Open House New York. To learn more about StreetEasy, visit



Images: Eldridge Street Synagogue by Peter Aaron/OTTO; Lowline Lab courtesy of Raad Studio; New York State Pavilion by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks; VIA 57 West by Iwaan Baan; Masonic Lodge by Nicolas Lemery Nantel; General Grant National Memorial by D. Stanko/NPS; Apollo Theater courtesy of the Apollo Theater Foundation; Brooklyn Army Terminal by Nicolas Lemery Nantel; and Kings County Distillery courtesy of the site.

Open House New York and Wikimedia NYC partnered during the 2016 Open House New York Weekend to present the 2016 Wikipedia at OHNY Weekend Photo Competition. Budding and experienced photographers were invited to submit their best OHNY Weekend visitors photos via Wikimedia Commons for a chance to win prizes. Photo submissions were not only reviewed by a panel of expert New Yorkers, but they also are now part of one of the largest collaboratively compiled and edited media projects in history!

More than 1,200 photos were submitted to the competition, all of which are now part of Wikimedia Commons, the online repository of free-use public domain images that are used across Wikipedia. A select number of photos taken during OHNY Weekend are already being used to illustrate Wikipedia articles including New York City Hall, FDR Four Freedoms Park, and Eldridge Street Synagogue.

Photo submissions were grouped into three categories – Details, Exteriors, and Interiors – and judged by a panel of jurors including Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director, Museum of the City of New York; Pat Kiernan, Morning Anchor, NY1 and Author, Good Morning, City; Sylvia Kollar, Director, Municipal Archives, New York City Department of Records and Information Services; Christopher Payne, Photographer; Frank Rocco, Photographer, New York City Photo Safari; and Saundra Thomas, Vice-President of Community Affairs, WABC-TV, and Open House New York Board Member.

Winners were selected in each category, one of which was also selected as the Grand Prize Winner. Based on the number of votes received by the jurors, additional photos in each category were also recognized with an Honorable Mention. Prizes awarded to winners include a $100 voucher for New York City Photo Safari and a copy of 100 Years, 100 Buildings by John Hill. The Grand Prize Winner also receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card a brand new Tamrac HooDoo 20 camera backpack.

Congratulations to winners and warm thanks for all who participated!





Category Winner and Grand Prize Winner: Brooklyn Army Terminal by Ailin Jin



Honorable Mention: General Grant National Memorial by Ellen Bryan



Honorable Mention: Ellis Island by Rich Lemonie






Category Winner: Westbeth Artist Housing by Ofer Maor



Honorable Mention: Ellis Island by Rich Lemonie






Category Winner: United Place by Alex Fortney



Honorable Mention: Gould Memorial Library by Peter Halikias



Honorable Mention: Ellis Island by Rich Lemonie


Want to learn more about Wikimedia NYC? Join them on Sunday, January 15 at Wikipedia Day 2017, one of several worldwide Wikipedia Day events. Highlights of photographs part of Wikimedia Commons, including photos submitted to the Wikipedia at OHNY Weekend Photo Competition will be displayed at the daylong celebration and mini-conference.

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