Sara Caples & Everardo Jefferson
Principals at Caples Jefferson Architects
OHNY Site Sponsors
Live in Turtle Bay, Manhattan
1. Are you a native New Yorker? If not, when and why did you move here?
EJ: I was born in Panama and moved to the South Bronx in 1959. My mother decided to emigrate to the U.S. for the educational opportunities for her children.
SC: So you’ve been native since then?
EJ: Yes, I’ve gone native.
SC: I’m a service brat and I moved all around. I moved to New York when I was just shy of 30 and I’ve gone native since, too. I love it here. It’s an embracing city. I moved here to be with Everardo. We were already dating so he was my anchor. I had lived in Paris, so I loved big cities, and I already loved New York.
2. Do you have a favorite place/neighborhood in the city?
SC: For me, I don’t actually have a favorite. The joy of New York is that I never stop discovering new neighborhoods and new places. The city contains the whole world, and you keep on having these fantastic experiences, especially as we work in all five boroughs.
EJ: The discovery thing is more pronounced than I ever thought. Queens for example, is just another world of marvelous things. Brooklyn and the Bronx – it’s just endless.
3. What does OHNY mean to you?
SC: OHNY is something near and dear to my heart. I am a passionate lover of architecture and I absolutely love that OHNY opens up the dialogue between the general public and the built environment. Visiting buildings, visiting people who make buildings, opening New York’s hidden treasures–OHNY is all of that. The organization is constantly thinking of new ways of introducing people to buildings.
4. Why is OHNY important to New York City?
SC: It is important because it reveals the richness of New York and engages people who care about the physical fabric of the city. From my perspective as an architect, the more educated the public is and the more they understand architecture, the better our city will become.
EJ: We all love the art of discovery and OHNY lets us all explore our own city.
5. How and when did you first learn about OHNY?
SC: I think it was through an email or an article, I can’t remember. But, the first time I read about it, I had an “Ah ha!” moment. What a fabulous and ingenious way of engaging people through architecture.
EJ: And it was fun, no?
SC: Yeah, it was fun. Buildings should be fun! Making buildings is fun.
6. What has been your favorite OHNY site or program?
SC: The one that is special to me personally is the program with Brooklyn Grange, the rooftop farm in our building. We helped connect OHNY with the farm when we first moved into our Long Island City location. It was an ideal opportunity to highlight new, green ways of using buildings through a unique evening program of food made with the produce from the farm.
EJ: Another experience that I remember is the tour of the Chrysler Building, which I found fascinating. I now see that building in a different light.
7. If OHNY could grant you a New York City all-access pass, where would you go first?
SC: I would start with some neighborhood that I have never been to and have somehow missed.
EJ: There are so many places! It’s hard to answer that question but I would start with some magical discoveries I’ve had, such as a 19th-century synagogue in East New York, Brooklyn. I stumbled upon it and couldn’t get in. Or a McKim, Mead & White building that you can’t get into. A secret floor, a hidden room – I want a surprise!
8. Who is your favorite architect/designer/artist in the city?
SC: I think one of the exciting things about the city is that there are literally dozens of favorite designers for me. There’s a whole catalog. Whether its Milton Glaser’s graphic design work or walking along the High Line and seeing this exceptional example of architecture mixed with landscape design. Such boldness!
EJ: There are younger and older architects I admire. I love to see different kinds of work, such as Steven Holl and Robert A. M. Stern. Then there are also younger designers with so much talent. Its fun to go see their work and say, “Gee, why didn’t I think of that?”
SC: Another favorite of mine is Paul Rudolph. I once visited his Modulightor apartment. It was crammed with people as though they were there for a party. The intimacy of that environment and the detail unfolding wherever you turned was exceptional.
EJ: And you realize how passionate the man was. Way more passionate than most of us will ever be.
9. It goes without saying that we all love New York City. What do you find most inspiring about the city?
SC: New York has this relentless, unforgiving quality about it that I find inspiring. By that I mean there is so much competition of thought and talent that you’re forced to think at your highest level. There’s a sense of impatience and insistence that is constantly pushing you to be your best.
EJ: I find the variety of people inspiring because when I was growing up, it wasn’t like this. Now there’s so much energy flowing from different cultures. When I go to other cities I don’t feel that same energy.
10. In one sentence, why should people support OHNY?
EJ: The reason is self-evident! OHNY provides the means to explore the city in a way that would not be possible if it did not exist.
SC: OHNY allows us to pool our collective knowledge of the city into one major yearly event. It is part of what makes New York City so vibrant.
Thanks, Sara and Everardo!