I am OHNY is an annual campaign that celebrates OHNY’s community of supporters. Robert Balder is Executive Director of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) New York City program, and has been an OHNY supporter from it’s start.
“I first learned about OHNY shortly after it was founded in 2001. The goal of promoting awareness and improving access to New York City’s architectural and cultural heritage has long been one of my passions,” says Bob. “In fact, many of my academic pursuits at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) parallel OHNY’s interests and programming. As OHNY has grown and expanded over the years, I’ve shared it with my colleagues and all of my students that study in New York City.”
This year, Bob brought together more than eighty Cornell students to participate in the 2015 OHNY Weekend. Over the course of two days, they crisscrossed the five boroughs, visiting many of the sites we had the opportunity to open up this year, to deepen their understanding of the city. Thank you Bob for sharing our programming with so many of your students and introducing them to the city’s many architectural and cultural treasures through us!
What do you love most about New York City?
It’s a tough question as there are so many aspects of New York City that I truly love, but I’d have to say it’s the city’s architecture (my favorite building is the Chrysler Building).
What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
It was a special East River Boat Tour of the New York Harbor, in the summer of 2012. I was asked to speak about Cornell’s recent plans for its new Tech Campus under development at Roosevelt Island. Upon boarding the vessel I was impressed by the size of the group assembled and the intense interest in the topics we discussed that day. It truly demonstrated for me the importance of OHNY’s mission and the need to expand its offerings on a more frequent and consistent basis.
If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
It would have to be the American Museum of Natural History, which contains over 32 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, as well as cultural artifacts, all contained in 27 interconnected buildings totaling 2 million square feet of space. I would need many lifetimes to begin to understand even a small portion of it.
OHNY is important to New York City because…
OHNY provides our students (really all New Yorkers) with compelling and unique experiences that connect them to New York City in ways that classroom learning can’t. It stimulates their study of the city and inspires them to think deeply about our past, present, and future. I wish OHNY could be part of every course!
Help OHNY continue to expand its programming and stimulate all New Yorkers’ studies of the city, inspiring us to think deeply about our past, present and future.
• Join OHNY as a Member
• Gift an OHNY Membership
• Support OHNY with a donation
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.