I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Rebecca Karp has been an OHNY fan and supporter since moving to the city from the Hudson Valley in 2006. “I took my parents on a ‘behind the scenes tour’ of Brooklyn via OHNY Weekend,” Rebecca recalls. “I was hooked—what more incredible way to connect New Yorkers to their environment than by sharing unique places that we all may pass by daily? Architecture, design, and planning do not have to be high-brow disciplines, and in this one day, allowed me and my family to connect with my new home in an inspired way.”
Thank you, Rebecca, for your support of Open House New York!
What do you love most about New York City?
Secret discoveries of all kinds that I might miss if I move too fast: the church garden that is actually a public space and becomes an oasis. The mews tucked away in the West Village that peek out. The fraternity among dog owners at 5AM in the park. The gargoyles that seem to appear on entire blocks of buildings in some neighborhoods. The incredible variety of food.
I also love the fact that we are city built on and around the water, and I deeply love our bridges—in particular the Verrazano-Narrows and Manhattan bridges.
What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
I am drawn to interstitial spaces: parks, plazas, wherever people seem to gather or plants seem to grow despite the fates. I love Park Slope, Brooklyn for its grand brownstone blocks, community parks and playgrounds, people clustered on stoops all over the neighborhood no matter the season, and local businesses of wide variety.
What was your most memorable OHNY experience?
Hands down, the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons in Manhattan takes the cake. Being let in to not only a unique space, but to what felt like a secret society, was an otherworldly experience. How many of us walk down 23rd Street and pass by that building every day without knowing about the dozens of uniquely ornate rooms and secret rituals that are hidden inside?
If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go, and why?
Access to the Red Hook Grain Terminal would be fascinating, particularly as the city and state considers the future of the Brooklyn waterfront. The Red Hook Grain Terminal is an incredible structure that attempted to boost the harbor but was never successful, yet remains a significant part of the physical landscape. I worked on the Columbia Waterfront in Brooklyn in 2012 at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and watched the daily push-pull between supporting a working waterfront and providing public access to the waterfront. As the city learns how industry and residential/community uses can (or cannot, in some instances) coexist, the future of buildings like the Red Hook Grain Terminal will be hotly debated. A peek inside the building would give interesting perspective.
OHNY is important to New York City because…
It connects New Yorkers with the places in which they live in new ways, and reminds New York about the importance of incredible 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.