#5 Ann V. Reilly

Freelance Print Designer, OHNY Volunteer
Lives north of Madison Square Park, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? I was born in Westchester and grew up in Connecticut. I was lucky that my parents always brought me to New York City when I was young. After taking advantage of friends and relatives and staying at their places on the weekends, I got my own apartment a little over 6 years ago.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? I’ve been an OHNY Weekend volunteer for two years now. Three years ago I missed the Weekend and was devastated. I can’t remember exactly where I learned about OHNY – it was a New York blog, probably NewYorkology or maybe Time Out.

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? That’s a tough one! I love when you guys get access to really amazing sites, like the Woolworth building tour that I went on recently. I love the diversity of the sites, from a substation to private homes. One that stands out was the Kushner residence in Greenwich Village.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? Anything that is normally inaccessible. There are so many hidden subway stations that even the NY Transit Museum doesn’t give access to. I would also love to get inside and see the hidden spaces of The Frick Collection – the bowling alley and the billiard room. We would love to get inside, too. We have tried, but no such luck!

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? I love it when you see a Christmas tree or holiday decorations in the least likely of places – unexpected holiday decorations dotted throughout the city. I recently ran across great decorations inside the New York Life building and at the top of the Carlton Hotel.

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? There are so many! I would say, that a resident is your best resource. What I’ve learned from friends and family members has been invaluable. Little tips, like the east side of the street is even and when the hand starts flashing when crossing the street, you still have plenty of time to cross.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? I’d like to go to the outer boroughs. I try to pack in so much during the Weekend that I tend to stick to Manhattan. The first time I participated I had a cheat sheet and did 6 sites the first day. Any sites in particular? I definitely want to get inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard. There’s a bunch of houses out there that are similar to Governors Island. I would love to see them.

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? I would have 10 different sites with little cocktail parties, places inaccessible like the Chrysler Building. The ten little parties could be a countdown leading up to the 10th Annual Weekend. If we planned it, Ann, we would expect you at all 10. Of course!

What is the thing you love most about OHNY? I love that it opens so many different sites for so many different people. It broadens peoples’ perspectives about New York. Also, when people see a site they are more aware of the importance of preservation and advocating in efforts to protect the City’s many treasures.

Why do you give to OHNY? Promoting access to arts education is a pet cause of mine, whether it is access to architecture, visual arts, libraries, etc. Public access is important and that is what OHNY strives to provide.

Thanks for sharing with us, Ann!

Click here to see all of our other interviews.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.