#3 Brien McDaniel

Director of Public Relations, FXFOWLE, OHNY volunteer and site sponsor
Lives in the Harlem, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? My first trip to New York was in 1987 and I loved it immediately – the vibe and the diversity. Since then I would come to New York on business and imagine what it would be like to live here. In 2006, I made the move from Boston to the Big Apple after accepting a position at FXFOWLE. I’m originally from Missouri. Yes, I’m proud to say I’m a Midwesterner.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? In 2006, I became a volunteer and a site sponsor for the Calhoun School for that year’s Annual OHNY Weekend. The school wanted to show off their new green roof, which was the first green roof for educational study in the City. They wanted to have someone from the architect’s point of view present that could talk more specifically about the design and the school got FXFOWLE and myself involved.

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? Because I have always volunteered during the Weekend, I have not had a chance to visit many sites. But, my first OHNY volunteer/site sponsor training took place at Grace Church in Greenwich Village and it has left a huge impression on me. I was new to New York and the Gothic Revival architecture and the stained glass windows blew me away.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? That’s an easy one – the top of FXFOWLE’s 4 Times Square, the Condé Nast Building during New Years Eve. Why? Because I’d rather be up there, than down in the crowd! Plus the view is so much better!

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? I know this isn’t original, but I do love the shop windows on Fifth Avenue and visiting Rockefeller Center and seeing the tree. Then finishing up with a hot toddy at the R Lounge in the Renaissance Hotel overlooking Times Square.

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? That the City doesn’t have to be expensive. There are so many things to do that are free…like OHNY! Thanks for the plug, Brien. We can tell that you work in PR! Also, another secret is having a drink in the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. You wouldn’t know about it unless you were visiting New York and staying in the hotel. But, I take friends there who are visiting the City. It also has a great view.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? I have never visited the United Nations and I know that you can go anytime but I think it would be particularly exciting to go on a tour during OHNY Weekend with their in-house architects. I am especially interested in seeing the iconic General Assembly.

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? 10 years is pretty big…really big. So I was thinking about a Guinness World Record-breaking picnic on Governors Island. How many people would we need to break the record? Over 22,232 people. We could do it!

What is the thing you love most about OHNY? I love that it’s a celebration of architecture, design and cultural heritage. And, even though they have similar programs around the globe, OHNY Weekend is something that is so uniquely New York – you see sites that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Why do you give to OHNY? Because OHNY provides free access to many of New York City’s most well-known – and unknown – sites of architectural, cultural and historical significance. Pause. You can re-write this answer to make it sound a little less like a publicist. That’s ok, we like the way it sounds.

Thanks for sharing, Brien!

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