Fundraising

 

 

 

#10 Manhattan Borough President
Scott M. Stringer

OHNY Supporter
Lives in Upper West Side, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? I am in my second term as Manhattan Borough President, but more importantly, I am a proud, life-long New Yorker. I was born and raised in Washington Heights and attended public school in the City. I then went on to study at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice before embarking on a career in public service that has also included 13 years as a State Assembly Member representing the Upper West Side.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? What’s special about OHNY isn’t necessarily the first time you discover it, but realizing that you can re-discover it year after year. I first heard about OHNY from a friend several years back and decided to check it out for myself. I have been a supporter ever since. 

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? The Annual Weekend event has become a tradition in the City like no other and attracts more than 200,000 site visits over a few days. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gain unique access to fascinating venues in all five boroughs.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? There are so many wonderful sites to choose from so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the most interesting opportunities are where OHNY gives exclusive behind-the-scenes access.

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? At home with my wife and our most dear holiday gift, our new-born son Max.

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? New York City is a collection of hundreds of small neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and characteristics. You could never leave its borders and still have a lifetime of never-ending experiences and adventures.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? I’m especially looking forward to the Launch Party and trying to visit some of the hidden gems across the City that OHNY will showcase.

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? I would expand the publicity well beyond New York City and make sure people across the world have the opportunity to visit. We are so lucky to call this great City our home and OHNY gives us a unique way to share it with the world. 

What is the thing you love most about OHNY? OHNY is a great magnet for attracting visitors to our City and puts a spotlight on what I love most about New York – the diversity and history of our many neighborhoods and cultures.  

Why should people donate to OHNY? OHNY relies on donations and outside support in order to keep its programs free of cost – and therefore accessible to all New Yorkers. It’s crucial that we support OHNY so that they can continue to expand its important mission of showcasing the great diversity and livability of our City.  

Thanks for answering our questions, Manhattan Borough President Stringer!

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#9 Hugh Hardy

Founding partner, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, OHNY Practicing Partner and site & program sponsor
Lives in the Flatiron District, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? I was born in Spain and grew up in the suburbs of New York. I was allowed to visit the city as a kid. I would come on the train by myself. I fell in love with the City and moved here once I finished college.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? I actually don’t remember but it was during the early years. I just remember thinking what a great idea! You were one of the first leaders in the design community who helped encourage fellow architects to participate in OHNY. Why? Because it is inclusive – it is for the public. It includes everybody and the range of ages and professional interests are ENORMOUS.

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? I should pick something a little less obvious. I would say the MTA Substation tour.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? I would love to get inside the New York Life Building with the gold pyramid. I have always wondered what it would be like to go inside and up to the top. I imagine it would be a similar experience to the tours I did for OHNY when we went up above in Radio City Music Hall. It was a completely different experience to up that high, and looking down into the auditorium.

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? I think my favorite is the experience of walking down Fifth Avenue during the holiday season. It is glorious.

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? That it is series of communities – it is many small towns all at once.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? That list would be endless! In particular, the Battery Maritime Building and all spaces along the waterfront. All of the sites along the water should be pursued. Where the city and the water meet is where “new” New York is starting.

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? Well, exactly what you are doing! I think it’s important to stress the idea of “opening doors” to generate the idea of public access. Although, I don’t know how you would do that. How about a huge street party – a waterfront party. Some others have suggested that we throw a big party somewhere amazing like in the former Cloud Club in the Chrysler building. Yes, but that’s only one space, you need to open up a lot of doors at the same time. Maybe a party with continuous access and open doors along one long street.

You’ve supported and participated by providing countless guided tours of your projects to OHNY’s audience during the Annual Weekends and year round, what is the thing you love most about OHNY? That it is for everybody. That it is cross-generational and cross disciplinary. It is not an event just for architects or developers or planners, it is for everyone. The audience is REALLY diverse and that is very valuable.

Why should people give to OHNY?
To keep it going and help it expand in order to increase the public’s awareness of the great resources of New York City!

Thanks for your time, Hugh!

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#8 Robert Hammond

Co-founder, Friends of the High Line, OHNY Leadership Council & site sponsor
Lives in the West Vaillage, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? I am originally from Texas. I moved to New York right after I graduated in 1993 and I never thought twice about it. I just knew I would move to New York.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? Years ago, one of Friends of the High Line’s best volunteers (Scott Lauer, the founder of openhousenewyork) said that he couldn’t volunteer for us anymore because he was starting up his own non-profit. We said we wanted to do whatever we could to help.

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? The good news is tours of the High Line are one of the most popular events, but that means I never get to see any other sites or programs during OHNY Weekend. But, it is an exciting experience to take people up on the rail yards. In the beginning, the first time we participated in OHNY Weekend back in 2003, there was nothing much to see. The High Line was just an idea. We took visitors up to a platform at 511 West 25th Street to look down on the rough tracks. We have photos of the long lines. It was very moving to see that people were so interested in viewing it. There were amazing crowds.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? The IRT (Interboro Rapid Transit Company) Powerhouse because it is such a historic building – it’s a great industrial yet Beaux-Arts building that has never been opened to the public. Do you have any connections there? Yes, I’m on the board of the Hudson River Powerhouse Group.

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? I don’t know, Amazon? You mean amazon.com? Did we stump you, Robert? You did.

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? Hector’s Place. It’s an old Meatpacking District restaurant that is under the High Line (44 Little West 12th Street), across the street from The Standard. It’s an old traditional diner that sits right in the middle of this changing neighborhood. The diner used to be open only from 2am to 2pm for the meatpackers.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? If you weren’t giving tours of the High Line? I would go visit the cemeteries and see more of the Bronx.

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? I would throw a party at the former Cloud Club in the Chrysler building. (We believe parts of the floors were converted to office space and are currently occupied.)

What is the thing you love most about OHNY? That it brings design to a wider audience than just architects, designers and urban planners.

Why should people give to OHNY? Laughs. Well, after they have donated to Friends of the High Line people should donate to OHNY because people don’t realize how difficult it is to put these things on. It showcases the best of New York and also makes New York better. It’s mainly free to the public, but it doesn’t happen for free.

We have one more question for you. The High Line has been part of the Annual OHNY Weekend since 2003, how do you think the High Line has benefited from being part of OHNY? When we ask our members what program stands out the most, it is always OHNY. It is on the top of everyone’s list. It is a chance for people to participate and do things that most people don’t get a chance to do.

Thanks for sharing, Robert!

 

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#7 Matthew Blesso

Founder & CEO, Blesso Properties, President of 3rd Ward, OHNY site sponsor
Lives in NoHo, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? I grew up in New Jersey and moved to New York in 1995 just after college. People often cite the diversity of the City as its greatest attribute and I agree, but I believe what really makes New York special is the co-existence and lack of segregation of so many different people. It’s great to work in real estate and experience this on a daily basis.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? I started doing development work in 1998. I was self-taught and learned the industry through voracious reading and stumbled upon the OHNY announcement.

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? In general, the most memorable moment for me was the first OHNY Weekend. I spent two days visiting sites on my own. It was a discovery, almost spiritual. It woke up all these ideas inside me about how I wanted to be a different type of developer. Are you sure you’re not exaggerating on our behalf, Matt? I’m not playing it up at all! Sites I remember the most are the Bohen Foundation and a townhouse in Chelsea that had aquarium in the floor. It was great to see architecture that wasn’t cookie cutter design.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? I would love to go inside David Walentas’ clock tower apartment at One Main Street in DUMBO. I love the idea of looking out through the clock faces. And the building is sandwiched between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges over the water so the view is spectacular. People often think with city views that higher is better, but I often love views that are 10-15 stories up and still have a connection to the city.

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? I, of course, need to plug the 3rd Ward and our annual holiday craft fair. Aside from that I would have to say Dyker Heights. I love the fact that it takes place on such a grand scale and no one appears to make money from it. Isn’t it like other suburban areas with over-the-top decorations? Have you been to Dyker Heights? It is incredible, like nothing I’ve ever seen. We stand corrected. Looks like we need to plan a field trip!

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? Latin Jazz at La Fonda Boricua in East Harlem (currently closed for renovation but reopening soon) and secondly, the underground parties in Brooklyn. People say that New York’s nightlife has lost the edge it had in the past. There is plenty of fun and creative things going on, they are just in new places and new forms.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? The TWA Terminal and the Grand Lodge of Masons.

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? I would throw a series of parties all over the city in architecturally significant spaces, all at the same time.

What is the thing you love most about OHNY? Beyond the obvious of getting access to great spaces, it is the sense of community that OHNY creates. I love how so many different people come together for a shared interest. It has a sense of intimacy that is not an easy thing to come by in New York City.

Why should people give to OHNY? Because a majority of people that live in New York came from somewhere else. People come here for the energy, excitement and the spectacle. This all takes place in the spaces that OHNY opens for the public. OHNY is very important for the life blood of the City.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Matt!

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#6 Roy Kim

Senior Vice President Design, Extell Development, OHNY board member and site sponsor
Lives in the Financial District, Manhattan

What is your relationship to New York City? I’m from Vancouver – I’m a Canuck! My first to visit to the city, I was 25 and I just assumed that I wouldn’t like it. But, I loved it. I didn’t know how much of an urbanist I was inside. In 2006, I finally moved here.

How and when did you learn about OHNY? I heard about OHNY when I was working for a design firm in Seattle. I came to New York on a visit during OHNY Weekend and loved it. It must have been one of the first ones, back in 2003 or 2004. And now, you are an OHNY board member!

So far, what has been your favorite OHNY site and/or program? One of my favorites was the tour of One World Trade Center. I was not prepared for how thrilling it would feel to be able to step into the ‘ground zero’ space, and then be able to survey the land from the new building. We were able to sign our names on the building, so I got extra ‘cool uncle’ points with my nephew and mother-in-law, who were visiting from Phoenix. That, and the Kushner residence are my favorites.

If you could gain access to any site in New York that you wanted, what would that site be? I would like to go behind-the-scenes at the Rockefeller Center, like seeing the NBC Studios. I want to get into Jack Donaghy’s office (from 30 Rock) preferably with Jack Donaghy in it, and a microwave. Ken, the page, could get us in – and lead the tour!

As it’s the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday spot in New York? I love the many Christmas tree displays throughout the city. In particular, the New York Palace hotel, which is also right near Paley Park (53rd Street between Madison and 5th Aves) and the Sherry Netherland Hotel. Their displays are so beautiful.

What is the best-kept secret about New York City? That it is not as big of a city as people think it is. The grid system makes it easy to get around and easy to break down into sections.

What sites do you have on your “to do” list for the 2012 OHNY Weekend? The TWA Flight Center. Also, the UN I have never been even though it is not far from my office. This past OHNY Weekend we offered tours of the UN with the architects in charge of the current renovation. That sounds amazing. I want to do that!

If you could plan it, how would you celebrate OHNY’s Tenth Anniversary? We should get all of those integral to the development of New York like Jane Jacobs, FDR and Robert Moses all together – basically, we would have to hold a séance. And, it would have to be in a really great space like Governors Island, which would provide the perfect location with a wonderful view of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Great, we’ll bring the Ouija board.

What is the thing you love most about OHNY? I love that it enables people to see New York because we collectively own the city together. It is our city and it is important to explore our environment.

Why do you give to OHNY? Because it is a really great civic organization that makes the city better. OHNY provides access to architecture and design that helps to cultivate awareness about our urban surroundings.

Thanks for sharing with us, Roy!

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