I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate OHNY’s diverse community of supporters. This week, we sat down with Felicia Mayro – OHNY Weekend Site Sponsor – to ask her about her view of OHNY and why she loves New York City.
Lives in Gramercy Park East
Director, Neighborhood Preservation Center
OHNY since 2003
Are you a native New Yorker? If not, when and why did you move here?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I moved here from Boston in 1990 to attend Columbia University’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.
What do you find most inspiring about New York City?
That there are so many diverse neighborhoods, unique places, and people who add their personality to these spaces.
What is your favorite place/neighborhood in the city?
Tough question #1. As the Director of the Neighborhood Preservation Center, there are many favorites in the five boroughs! That said, the neighborhood where our office is located – the East Village – has become very special to me, not just for the architecture and ridiculously rich cultural history, but also for the people and neighbors I have had the great fortune of meeting.
What is New York’s best-kept secret?
Tough question #2. There is a small synagogue on Charles Street in the West Village, and if you stand on the corner of Charles and West 4th Streets (in front of Sevilla Restaurant) in the early evening, look west. There is something about that view of the synagogue in the context of its surrounding buildings that I love.
When did you first become involved with OHNY?
OHNY founder Scott Lauer and I met when he first started OHNY. We’ve been participants since that first year.
What is your most memorable OHNY site or program?
Since we participate in OHNY Weekend each year, I unfortunately haven’t been to another site yet. I do, however, have a favorite OHNY story.
One of the first times we opened our doors for OHNY, a gentleman came to see the Neighborhood Preservation Center, which is housed in the historic Ernest Flagg Rectory of St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery. The Church and its West Yard weren’t open to the public on that occasion, but he returned during Five Dutch Days when we had organized a guided tour led by the Church’s then historian. As a result of this, he’s been an active member of the Church’s congregation and is now himself the Church’s historian.
This is the kind of impact OHNY has. I’m sure there are many stories like this where people became more involved because OHNY helped open the door.
If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go?
With the right safety gear, it would be either the top of the Brooklyn or George Washington Bridge. Between the engineering and views, it would be amazing.
OHNY is important to New York City because…
It gives anyone who is interested the opportunity to see, experience, and learn about New York City’s built environment. It connects people and the spaces that make our city, and we have some great spaces.
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.