New York is a city of many different publics; every park, every street, every traffic island is home to myriad overlapping communities, each with their own interests, customs, and needs. The mixing of people from every imaginable walk of life is what gives this city’s public realm its incomparable energy. It is New Yorkers, in short, who make New York, New York.

Whenever a new public space is created, or an existing space re-designed, architects must consider a broad range of competing demands that people will put on the completed project. The process of creating a great public space in this city is one of setting the stage for the greatest show on earth: the “street ballet” of daily life in New York City.

During this year’s NYCxDESIGN—New York City’s official citywide celebration of design—Open House New York, the Times Square Alliance / Times Square Arts, and Brooklyn Bridge Park will give New Yorkers the chance to take a closer look at how architects and designers respond to the distinct design challenges and opportunities presented by the city’s singularly robust public realm.

First, OHNY members will get a sneak peek at the newest sections of two of the city’s most intensely used public spaces through OHNY Previews tours of the Times Square Plazas (May 14th) and the Main and John Street sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park (May 18th).

Then, on Tuesday, May 19th, the public is invited to a panel discussion at the Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium, where public space managers and architects from both projects will discuss the process by which they work together to create public spaces that are flexible, dynamic, and able to support the immense diversity of people and activities that animate them every day.



Program Schedule


OHNY Preview: Times Square Plazas

Thursday, May 14 / 4:30 PM

Explore the new Times Square Plazas with Times Square Alliance VP of Planning, Policy, & Research Ellen Goldstein and Snøhetta principal Claire Fellman. Get the inside story on how one of the most heavily trafficked spots on the planet is being re-imagined to create more space for public life, and learn about how the project team has worked to ensure that the new plazas will enhance the area’s already legendary street life. You must be an OHNY Member to reserve tickets for this tour. Reservations go live at 10 AM on April 30th!


OHNY Preview: Brooklyn Bridge Park/Main & John Street Sections

Monday, May 18 / 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM

Go behind the construction fence at Brooklyn Bridge Park on a hard hat tour with BBP President Regina Myer and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. principal Matt Urbanski to explore the park’s newest sections, set to open later this year. Learn how MVVA and BBP have collaborated to reposition Brooklyn’s waterfront as a destination with an incredible mix of activities and flexible spaces, and get a peek at new features including a tidal salt marsh and a bouldering wall. You must be an OHNY Member to reserve tickets for this tour. Reservations go live at 10 AM on May 4th!


Setting the Stage: A Discussion on the Design of Shared Spaces for Public Life

Tuesday, May 19 / 6:30 PM
Cooper Union, Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square

Join us for a discussion about public space design in contemporary New York City. Creating spaces intended to serve so many different communities at once is a tall order; hear from the people working on some of the most heavily used destinations in the city about how they’re tackling the challenge. With panelists Claire Fellman, principal, Snøhetta; Regina Myer, president, Brooklyn Bridge Park; Tim Tompkins, president, Times Square Alliance; Matt Urbanski, principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.; and moderator Katie Dixon, OHNY Board Member. This event is open to the general public. Click here to register now!


This series is organized by Open House New York in partnership with:

TSA_Horizontal_FullColor TSArts_OnBlack_Large_Stacked_FullColor BBP Logo

How are architects’ ideas about design and urbanism expressed in their buildings, and how do those ideas evolve over time, in different projects and circumstances? Open House New York announces Monograph in Motion, a new series of tours that will periodically explore the work of a single design firm to consider how its ideas about architecture and the city are translated into built form. Monograph in Motion celebrates the architects and designers who have done so much to positively shape our experience of the city and to help us better appreciate the complexities of what it takes to design, build, and sustain New York.

This spring, the inaugural Monograph in Motion will explore the work of FXFOWLE Architects. With an unflagging commitment to improving the public realm for nearly four decades, FXFOWLE has been a forerunner in sustainable design and pioneered new models for more integrated building processes. In projects that span scale and typology–from neighborhood schools to iconic office towers that have transformed the skyline–FXFOWLE has left an indelible mark on New York City.

FXFOWLE’s new monograph Reveal Filter Evolve Effect (ORO Editions, 2015) is a four-volume set that adheres to shared bodies of ideas, and celebrates key concepts that define the firm’s creative philosophy and design methodology. The four terms crystallize the ideas that motivate FXFOWLE’s work–from individual structures to city plans. We invite you to explore these themes through the following sites with us over the coming month:


150421_The Julliard School_credit Chris Cooper

The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
6:00 pm

Explore the home of one of the most revered places in New York City’s performing arts world with FXFOWLE principal Michael Syracuse. Learn about the firm’s collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro on the renovation and expansion of Alice Tully Hall, which created an additional 39,000 square feet of rehearsal and performance space atop Juilliard’s 1969 building, part of the Lincoln Center campus.





Jacob K Javits Convention Center, Green Roof

Javits Center Revitalization
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
6:00 pm

Get an inside look at the revitalization of the city’s premier venue for large-scale conventions and trade shows with Bruce Fowle, FXFOWLE founding principal, Alan Steel, President and CEO, New York Convention Center Operating Corporation and Susan Elbin, Director of Conservation and Science, New York City Audubon. Go behind the scenes to learn about FXFOWLE’s design for adapting this massive building to make it more sustainable and better integrated into the fabric of the city. The tour will include a trip to the top of the building to see the largest green roof in New York City, and the city’s newest bird habitat.




11TS Exterior full view /w PA @42nd /01

Eleven Times Square/Times Square Redevelopment
Thursday, April 30, 2015
6:00 pm

Join FXFOWLE senior partner Dan Kaplan for a walking tour of 42nd Street to learn about the integral role the firm played in the area’s dramatic transformation over the past two decades, through the design of projects like 4 Times Square, the Reuters Building, and the New York Times Building (in association with Renzo Piano Building Workshop). The tour will end with a trip to FXFOWLE’s Eleven Times Square for a nighttime view of the Crossroads of the World.



Landmark Dash participants will compete to win private tours of some of NYC's stunning landmarked interiors, from the New Amsterdam Theater to the Woolworth Building lobby (pictured here) / Photo: Nicolas Lemery Nantel for OHNY
Photo: Nicolas Lemery Nantel for OHNY

On Saturday, April 18th, 2015, Open House New York and the New York School of Interior Design invite you to participate in a day-long race that will take you and your friends through some of the most spectacular landmark interiors in the city, competing against the clock—and each other—to complete challenges, earn points, and win prizes. The Dash is being organized as a companion event to Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Landmark Interiors, a featured exhibition of NYC Landmarks 50, a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Read on to learn how you can participate!

Get Ready for a Race

The Landmark Dash will take you through about a dozen landmark interiors (many of which are not normally open to the public) across three boroughs of New York City to complete challenges, solve puzzles, and learn about the architectural and historical significance of some of the city’s most important interiors. Players should be prepared to walk up to several miles over the course of the day, ride many more miles on the subway, and make extensive use of their smartphones. The sites are all surprises—you won’t know where you’re headed next until you complete a challenge at each location along the route. Please plan ahead and make sure that you and your team are ready for a race!

Register Your Team

Players must register and play in teams of 2-4; no solo racers are allowed. One person will register for your team, and will receive a follow-up email prompting them to send in a list of all team members and a team name. Please be sure to respond as soon as possible to ensure that your team’s registration is complete and your team’s materials are ready on the day of the Dash.

Read Up on Interior Landmarks

The Landmark Dash will begin at the NYSID Gallery, where  Rescued, Restored, Reimagined is currently on-view, but you are welcome to visit the exhibition in advance to learn more about New York City’s interior landmarks in preparation for game day.

Play to Win

Top-scoring teams will each win a private tour of one of New York City’s interior landmarks. Teams will choose their prizes in order of the total number of points, highest to lowest. The tours available include:

•  Appellate Division Courthouse of the State of New York
•  The Park Avenue Armory
•  New Amsterdam Theater (with Hugh Hardy)
•  The Rainbow Room (with Gabellini Sheppard)
•  Weylin B. Seymour’s in the Williamsburg Savings Bank Building
•  Woolworth Building Lobby (with Helen Post Curry) [pictured]

Event Details

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Check-in: 10:00-11:00 AM
Dash time: 11:00 AM–6 PM
Closing Reception: 5:00-7:00 PM
Cost: $40 per person (teams of 2-4)

Please note: Participants must be able to walk a mile at a time; must have their own Metrocard; and each team must have at least one member with a smartphone.





Landmark Dash FAQs


What buildings will I visit during the Landmark Dash?
The participating sites are a secret; each site along the route will be revealed to you and your team once you have completed a challenge at the previous site.

Are the sites places that I could normally go on my own?
While there will be a few publicly accessible interiors on the route, most of the participating sites are not normally open to the public.

I’m not sure I want to pay to register for an event if I don’t know what buildings I’ll be getting into…
The Landmark Dash is being organized by Open House New York in partnership with the New York School of Interior Design—two organizations that have a pretty good idea of what an interesting interior looks like. So trust us when we say: you’re going to get into some really amazing spaces!

What will I be doing at these sites?
Each site will feature a challenge related to the landmark interior’s architecture and/or history. Challenges will be designed to take approximately 5-10 minutes each, so that participants can move quickly from site to site. While you’ll need to be able to walk quite a bit over the course of the day, the challenges themselves will not be physically intense, so don’t worry about lifting, running, etc.

What if I want to spend more time at one of the sites, or take a full tour?
Longer tours will not be available at sites on the day of the Landmark Dash, but information about how to return for a more in-depth tour will be on hand at any sites where tours are regularly offered. The Landmark Dash is intended to be a fast-paced game—you’ll see a lot of wonderful spaces, but you won’t be able to linger too long.

Can I play by myself?
No, everyone must participate as a member of a team. Teams can be comprised of 2-4 people. One person will register for the team, and will receive a follow-up email from OHNY staff prompting them to supply the names and email addresses for all team members, as well as a team name.

How far will I have to travel during this event?
The Landmark Dash will take participants to three of the five boroughs.

Is transportation between sites provided?
No. You’ll need to use your wits, your sense of direction, and your own Metrocard to travel between sites. It is estimated that participants will take at least 9-10 trips on the subway.

How long will the Landmark Dash take?
The Dash will begin at 11:00 AM sharp; each team will finish at their own speed, but it is expected that people will generally wrap up between 5:00-6:00 PM.

Is this event handicapped accessible?
Unfortunately, due to the nature of this event, the Landmark Dash is not handicapped accessible.

Where will the Landmark Dash start and end?
The Dash will both start and end at the New York School of Interior Design on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Can I register on the day of the event?
No. All teams must register in advance in order to participate in the Landmark Dash.

What’s included in the cost of registration?
Registration will gain you entry to the opening and closing receptions (with light refreshments provided at both), as well as the Passport and Challenge Cards that you will need in order to participate.

If I don’t want to race, can I volunteer?
We are actively seeking volunteers to help out throughout the day in 2-3 hour shifts at various sites. If you are interested in volunteering, please email All volunteers are invited to join us for the closing reception at the NYSID Gallery from 5-7pm.

Still have questions about the event? Email us at

I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Rebecca Karp has been an OHNY fan and supporter since moving to the city from the Hudson Valley in 2006. “I took my parents on a ‘behind the scenes tour’ of Brooklyn via OHNY Weekend,” Rebecca recalls. “I was hooked—what more incredible way to connect New Yorkers to their environment than by sharing unique places that we all may pass by daily? Architecture, design, and planning do not have to be high-brow disciplines, and in this one day, allowed me and my family to connect with my new home in an inspired way.”

Thank you, Rebecca, for your support of Open House New York!


What do you love most about New York City?
Secret discoveries of all kinds that I might miss if I move too fast: the church garden that is actually a public space and becomes an oasis. The mews tucked away in the West Village that peek out. The fraternity among dog owners at 5AM in the park. The gargoyles that seem to appear on entire blocks of buildings in some neighborhoods. The incredible variety of food.

I also love the fact that we are city built on and around the water, and I deeply love our bridges—in particular the Verrazano-Narrows and Manhattan bridges.

What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
I am drawn to interstitial spaces: parks, plazas, wherever people seem to gather or plants seem to grow despite the fates. I love Park Slope, Brooklyn for its grand brownstone blocks, community parks and playgrounds, people clustered on stoops all over the neighborhood no matter the season, and local businesses of wide variety.

What was your most memorable OHNY experience?
Hands down, the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons in Manhattan takes the cake. Being let in to not only a unique space, but to what felt like a secret society, was an otherworldly experience. How many of us walk down 23rd Street and pass by that building every day without knowing about the dozens of uniquely ornate rooms and secret rituals that are hidden inside?

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go, and why?
Access to the Red Hook Grain Terminal would be fascinating, particularly as the city and state considers the future of the Brooklyn waterfront. The Red Hook Grain Terminal is an incredible structure that attempted to boost the harbor but was never successful, yet remains a significant part of the physical landscape. I worked on the Columbia Waterfront in Brooklyn in 2012 at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and watched the daily push-pull between supporting a working waterfront and providing public access to the waterfront. As the city learns how industry and residential/community uses can (or cannot, in some instances) coexist, the future of buildings like the Red Hook Grain Terminal will be hotly debated. A peek inside the building would give interesting perspective.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It connects New Yorkers with the places in which they live in new ways, and reminds New York about the importance of incredible spaces.


Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Join OHNY as a Member
Gift an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY with a donation


From the Annual OHNY Weekend to its year-round public programs, OHNY offers you opportunities to see the city like you’ve never seen it. With your support, OHNY can continue to open the city to tens of thousands of people throughout the five boroughs, tying us closer to the places, people and stories that make New York the most extraordinary city in the world. Together, we are OHNY.

I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Robin Nagle is a cultural anthropologist, professor, and author of Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City. In her unique role as the anthropologist-in-residence at the NYC Department of Sanitation, Robin reached out to us earlier this year to get the ball rolling on a collaboration between OHNY and the DSNY, leading to several amazing new sites being added to the roster this past OHNY Weekend

“While I didn’t get involved officially until this year, I first experienced OHNY seven years ago,” Robin recalls. “When my son was in third grade, he and I went up the Highbridge Water Tower during Open House Weekend. It was a wonderful adventure.” Thank you, Robin, for working with us to arrange more adventures for New Yorkers!


What do you love most about New York City?
I most love many things about New York City. I love that the city’s energy feels boundless and utterly impersonal, like a force of nature. An ocean current doesn’t care if it helps you swim faster or if it drowns you. New York City is the same. It is the urban ouroboros, forever eating and birthing itself, fueled by the kinetic energy of its history and its people. New York generates its own perpetual motion, and if you’re lucky, some of that force osmoses into you. It is always changing and always exactly only itself. No matter where you’re from, if you decide to live here, you’re a New Yorker. If you live here for decades, you can look back and feel as if you lived in dozens of different cities – but it’s all New York.

What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
My favorite neighborhood is any that’s still authentic – that is, any neighborhood that still has mom-and-pop businesses in its storefronts, that has at least one good diner, and that hasn’t been corporatized or overrun with chain stores. Authentic neighborhoods are in every borough, but they’re getting scarce.

My favorite building is the New York Public Library’s flagship cathedral (the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) on Fifth and Forty-Second.

What was your most memorable OHNY experience?
That trip to the Highbridge Water Tower was pretty memorable; the neighborhood was new to us, and we met a rooster hanging out on the street on our way from the subway. The cast-iron spiral staircase at the Tower was a work of art, and the view from the top was spectacular. We watched a few people make their way up and then collapse to their knees in a trembling sweat; they were climbing the tower specifically to face their fear of heights, and we were impressed by their bravery. I was okay on the Tower’s main platform, but that was my limit. My son, however, went up and down the smaller interior spiral stair to the very top of the tower several times, and was delighted to discover that he had courage for something I didn’t have the guts to do.

More recently, seeing the public response to the Department of Sanitation’s participation in the Open House Weekend has been great. Kathryn Garcia, the new commissioner of Sanitation, made it a priority to connect the DSNY to OHNY, and so we worked closely with the organization to put three Sanitation venues on the schedule for this year’s OHNY Weekend. It took a lot of patience and time, but because the Open House staff made the entire experience positive for everyone involved, Sanitation is looking forward to many future collaborations.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go, and why?
Water Tunnel Number Three.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It invites people to see the many amazing insides of the city, which helps the public better understand and appreciate New York’s beautiful complexity.


Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Join OHNY as a Member
Gift an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY with a donation


From the Annual OHNY Weekend to its year-round public programs, OHNY offers you opportunities to see the city like you’ve never seen it. With your support, OHNY can continue to open the city to tens of thousands of people throughout the five boroughs, tying us closer to the places, people and stories that make New York the most extraordinary city in the world. Together, we are OHNY.