I AM OHNY

Over the past year, Open House New York opened the doors to more than 300 sites across the five boroughs for more than 80,000 visitors, connecting New Yorkers with the city–and to each other–for unforgettable experiences and a deeper understanding of how New York is designed, built, and preserved. As a small nonprofit organization, our work would not be possible without the generous participation and support of our members, donors, volunteers, partners, and friends. For this year’s edition of our annual I am an Open House New Yorker campaign, we asked members of the OHNY community why they support our work all year long as Open House New Yorkers. 

 

KRISTIN LABUZ
Open House New York’s newly appointed Deputy Director for Development and Communications

Open House New Yorker since… 2009. As a public space enthusiast, Open House New York has been on my radar since I moved to this city. Each October, I scour the Weekend Guide and plot my strategy for visiting sites — rooftops are always a go-to. Starting this January, I’ll translate my passion for Open House New York’s mission into a full-time job, joining the staff as the Deputy Director for Development and Communications.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Tough one! Kayaking in the Gowanus Canal and touring Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Terminal rank high on the list. That said, my most memorable OHNY experience is visiting Treasure in the Trash, which takes up an entire floor of an East Harlem sanitation garage. The “museum” features hundreds of items — everything from Pez dispensers to plastic Christmas trees — rescued from curbside garbage and lovingly curated by Nelson Molina, a retired DSNY employee who has spent more than thirty years building the collection. Sanitation garages are typically off-limits to the general public, but OHNY opens up this experience to hundreds of people each year. Seeing this glimpse of beauty in such an unexpected place is what makes New York magical.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… by unlocking the built environment, OHNY has a remarkable way of connecting us to our city – and to each other.

 

 

KIRSTEN SIBILIA
Managing Principal, Dattner Architects
OHNY Weekend Site Host and Getting to Zero Program Partner

Open House New Yorker since… 2001. I heard about Open House New York soon after it was founded in 2001; its ties with the architectural community were well-established from the start. The first site I volunteered for was a new green roof on top of The Calhoun School – back when green roofs were novel in New York City. It was wonderful to be able to show people that it was possible to put grass on top of a school, to demonstrate how it was woven into their curriculum, and to answer questions about how it was part of a sustainable building. The spirit of curiosity and appreciation that I felt back then still permeates the organization and all their events.

Most memorable OHNY experience: This year! For Open House New York Weekend, Dattner Architects hosted two very different sites, and I spent Saturday at the adaptive reuse of a former school into affordable housing in Harlem, and Sunday at a sanitation garage and salt shed touring people through and sharing stories about the buildings. The contrast between the sites could not be greater, yet the pride of those who live and work in the buildings, and the level of engagement of the visitors, were identical.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I am proud of our city and incredibly grateful for the opportunities OHNY provides to explore it with other curious New Yorkers.

 

 

KORAY DUMAN
Principal, Büro Koray Duman
OHNY Weekend Partner on New Practices New York

Open House New Yorker since… 2012 when Interior Design magazine editor Cindy Allen asked me if she could include my apartment for a special series she was curating for Open House New York Weekend showcasing architect and designers and their homes.

Most memorable OHNY experience: I live in a fifth-floor walk-up, but during the 2012 OHNY Weekend, there was a line of people all the way down the staircase, out the building, and around the block. My neighbors thought there was a celebrity in the building.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… OHNY provides openness and a dialogue between people from all walks of life about the city we share and live in.

 

 

PRERANA REDDY
Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement, Queens Museum
OHNY Weekend Site Host and Conversations on the City Speaker

Open House New Yorker since… 2017. As the Director of Public Programs at the Queens Museum, I’ve worked on creating programming as an OHNY Weekend host site since 2007. These have always included tours of The Panorama of the City of New York, a large-scale model of New York City that was made by Robert Moses for the 1964-65 World’s Fair when our building was the NYC Pavilion.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Since I host OHNY Weekend activities myself, I don’t get to go too far to experience other sites. However, I loved being able to run next door during OHNY Weekend and get a hard hat tour within the Tent of Tomorrow structure, which is part of the New York State Pavilion designed by Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. While I see it every day from the outside, I had never been able to experience it from the inside, since it’s usually closed to the public!

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I believe that discussions on urban planning and architecture should be something that everyone should participate in. After all, we have to live with decisions about our built environment for generations to come. The impact of these fields on everyday life are so profound and have the potential to reflect our most forward-thinking and democratic tendencies as a society.

 

 

TED ALCORN
Public Health and Public Safety Consultant
OHNY Program Partner and Volunteer

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I first got involved by attending OHNY Weekend, then tried our volunteering, and am now beginning to help plan Spaces of Justice, Open House New York’s next yearlong Urban Systems Series.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Touring the Fountain Avenue Landfill stands out as a favorite, where from Brooklyn’s highest point one sweep of vision can take in the distant spires of downtown Manhattan and the glittering waters of Jamaica Bay.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… New York City presents an awesome spectacle to the world, but so much of its meaning and mechanism is walled off from public view. OHNY pierces the facade, creating a space where we can all pause, share, and marvel at the collective enterprise that is this city.

 

 

SHERLEN ARCHIBALD
Marketing Professional
OHNY Board Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I first heard of OHNY while perusing newspapers and was enamored by the idea of discovering new places and spaces throughout the city.

Most memorable OHNY experience: Walking up a four-floor old tenement building on the Lower East Side and walking into a sprawling art-filled apartment with a claw foot bathtub in the living room. Totally unexpected and architecturally exhilarating.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… NYC transforms behind every door.

 

 

 

 

JULIANA SOHN
Photographer
OHNY Member and Volunteer

Open House New Yorker since… 2016. I read about the M11 Sanitation Garage online and was fascinated. I wanted to go see this incredible space and one of the only opportunities seemed to be through OHNY. So I became a member. When I received the introductory email launching the Getting To Zero series for this year I was just floored by the program. I was so excited by all of it and couldn’t imagine missing out on any of the evemts. I emailed OHNY to volunteer my photography services in the hopes that I could get involved with the organization and luckily they welcomed me.

Most memorable OHNY experience: The two OHNY events that continue to stay with me are Treasure In The Trash at M11, and Dead Horse Bay. Both reflect our history with garbage and challenge us to see garbage from a different viewpoint. Both spaces place garbage in a different context, which leads to so many thoughtful questions.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I am curious to learn about all the people, programming, and projects happening in all aspects of our lives that enable us to live our lives as New Yorkers. The information I learn helps me to be a better New Yorker and responsible global citizen.

 

 

SAM SILVER
Education & Outreach Coordinator, Sims Municipal Recycling
OHNY Weekend Site Host and Getting to Zero Program Partner

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I first heard about OHNY shortly after I moved to New York City, but it was a few years before I reserved a spot in time for an OHNY Weekend Advance Registration site. Over the last year I’ve become involved as a site host at Sims Municipal Recycling for tours as part of the Getting to Zero series and OHNY Weekend, which was the single busiest day I’ve had leading tours here!

Most memorable OHNY experience: Getting out on the water to trace New York City’s waste history and modern infrastructure over the course of two boat tours part of the Getting to Zero series. Drifting up the fragrant Newtown Creek at sunset under the remains of the old Kosciuszko Bridge, past scrap metal yards, refineries, and a wastewater treatment plant was a contemplative and intense experience that somehow still managed to put the “fun” in “Superfund site.”

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… OHNY gives New Yorkers open access to the inspiring but usually inaccessible spaces in their city, and don’t we all need more openness and inspiration right now?

 

Are you an Open House New Yorker who believes in our mission and is committed to an open and accessible city? As a nonprofit organization, Open House New York relies on the support of people like you and hope you will make a year-end gift today to keep New York open and sustain this important work. 
 

MAKE A DONATION

 
Over the past year, Open House New York opened the doors to more than 300 sites across the five boroughs for more than 88,000 visitors. As a small nonprofit organization, our work would not be possible without the generous participation and support of our members, donors, volunteers, partners, and friends! For this year’s edition of our annual I am Open House New York campaign, we talked to members of our community, from board members to volunteers, to ask why they are Open House New Yorkers and support our work all year long. 

 

 

mclaughlinERIC MCLAUGHLIN
Business Development, SilverLining Interiors
OHNY Program Partner and Benefit Committee Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2009. I first heard about OHNY when I saw a posting for a tour of the world’s oldest subway tunnel, which runs beneath Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and was rediscovered in 1980 after many decades of abandonment. That space itself was really spectacular, a relic that few knew about. To get to it, we climbed into a manhole in the middle of Atlantic Avenue and got lots of strange looks from passersby. The tour guide was very passionate about the tunnel and was the person that rediscovered it. The story of how he did so was fascinating. I bought a t-shirt and have supported OHNY ever since!

Most memorable Open House New York experience? It’s a small scale site but I really enjoyed touring the Little Red Lighthouse beneath the George Washington Bridge as part of the 2016 OHNY Weekend. It’s in my neighborhood and I’ve admired it for years. It was fun to finally take a peek inside.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I’m always looking for new things to explore, to refresh my perspective and deepen my understanding of my home city.

 

 

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ADITYA GHOSH
Job Captain, FXFOWLE
OHNY Scavenger Hunt Enthusiast

Open House New Yorker since… the New York Art Deco Scavenger Hunt in 2014. I was aware of Open House New York before then, but it was my love for Art Deco buildings got me involved as a participant. It was an opportunity to see exceptional design that we usually do not have means to experience. I continue to participate as much to see a building as I do to learn more about other landmarks lying in plain sight.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? Seeing the Belasco Theatre on Broadway during the Landmark Dash in 2015.  I had been to the theatre on more than one occasion before it, but like many others, I had only ever gone into the dimly lit space, seen the usual dazzle of the show, and walked out. Which is why the interiors – the geometry, the layers of lines created by the wooden lattice, and the murals – took me by surprise. I owed it to the task at hand as part of the event, which was to count the Tiffany lamps on the ceiling. Now I make sure to thoroughly ogle around every stage before a show!

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I see the city to be a museum with shutters over every art piece, and to see them sans locks is something everyone should have access to.

 

 

DARIA SIEGEL
Director, LHMQ; Vice President, Economic Development Programs, Downtown Alliance
OHNY Program Partner

Open House New Yorker since… 2006. I was in grad school and I remember hearing that for this one weekend, private spaces would be open…for free! It’s hard to believe there was a time before OHNY when we didn’t have an organization galvanizing New Yorkers to explore the amazing public and private spaces throughout New York City.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? This past OHNY Weekend I managed to snag tickets for the catwalks of Grand Central. Having access to view this extraordinary landmark five stories up is truly unforgettable. While it’s one of New York’s most visited sites, I consider myself lucky to have viewed it from this special perspective, behind the scenes.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I believe all New Yorkers should have access to the buildings and spaces that tell the story of our city and are defining its future.

 

 

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ELSIE ST. LÉGER
Interior Designer / Materials Consultant
OHNY Member and Volunteer

Open House New Yorker since… 2011. I don’t know when I first heard about Open House New York, but by the time I felt empowered to volunteer, I was a full-fledged design geek eager to share her love with other New Yorkers. For my first OHNY Weekend in 2011, I was assigned to a private residence on Prince Street. I was paired with a veteran, who taught me to deal with the minor stresses with a smile. I had a blast and knew I would be volunteering again and again. I made sure to work my schedule around the Weekend no matter what else was going on in my life or career.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? It’s always the last one! This year, I was asked to be a volunteer captain at the Municipal Building. I was nervous and a little anxious about letting folks down. But again I had a blast. Bridget, my District Coordinator, was incredibly helpful. And the site, though busy, was a familiar one so even with the hiccups it ended up being another great experience. And the building’s cupola! Just… wow.

My favorite visit by far was to the TWA Flight Center in 2015. That building is beautiful. To be able to see the architecture and interior design as an educated design consumer was humbling and inspiring. It was a reminder that gestures both large and small can change perceptions and the world. Eero Saarinen knew that. He didn’t waste his opportunities. I’m so pleased that much of it will be restored and preserved.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I’m a proud native New Yorker and I love my city! Any chance to volunteer to show off my home’s very best is time well spent.

 

 

spielmannCHAD SPIELMANN
Senior Account Executive at Harrison and Star
OHNY Weekend District Coordinator and Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2014. I first heard about Open House New York six years ago when I was volunteering for a similar organization in Wisconsin called Doors Open Milwaukee. When I moved here, I knew I had to get involved and learn as much as I could about New York City.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? Taking a boat tour of Gowanus Canal. How many people get the chance to take a boat ride on a SuperFund site? As a neighbor of the Gowanus Canal, it was amazing to learn about one of New York City’s most polluted waterways, the much needed cleanup project, and what will happen once the canal has been restored.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… I love my city and want other people to experience and appreciate the amazing design and architecture it has to offer.

 

 

 

stonelyKAREN STONELY
Principal, SPAN Architecture
OHNY Board Member

Open House New Yorker since… 2013. OHNY is a well known institution in the city. I decided to become passionately involved as a board member – in addition to continuously marveling at the incredible spaces that become physically and educationally accessible as a participant – after repeatedly engaging with diverse, inspired New Yorkers and individuals from countries afar, who believe we all have a consequential impact on our shared built environments.

Most memorable Open House New York experience? A momentous tour of the United Nations Council Chambers in 2013 that included a range of docents from designers and architects to members of the UN, who discussed how decisions about renovation – introducing fresh invention and restoring key historical elements – would be received and perceived by the important political members convening within the chambers.  It was a masterful renovation and the tour was genuinely inspiring.

I’m an Open House New Yorker because… every New Yorker is an Open House New Yorker, they just might not know it yet!

 

 

In 2017, Open House New York will celebrate the 15th anniversary of OHNY Weekend and our mission to connect New Yorkers with their city and each other has never been more important than it is now. It seems like such a simple thing to do, opening a door, but the experience that it makes possible helps nurture and protect the values that have made New York the extraordinary city that it is.  Make a year-end gift to Open House New York today and sustain this important work.

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.

I am OHNY is an annual campaign that celebrates OHNY’s community of supporters. Saundra Thomas is Vice President of Community Affairs at WABC-TV, a longtime media sponsor of OHNY Weekend. She first heard about Open House New York in its early years, when OHNY founder Scott Lauer reached out to WABC-TV for promotional support for OHNY Weekend, and has been involved ever since!

Dedicated to community service, Saundra was a candidate for New York City Council in 2013 and is an active board member of a number of nonprofit organizations in the city. This November, she also joined OHNY’s governing board. We’re excited to welcome her aboard!

SaundraThomas3EB

What do you love most about New York City?
The diversity of the people, food and culture, the freedom it gives you to find your place, and that it is surrounded by water!

What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
This year, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Coffey Street residence. The best thing about it was the friendliness of architect and owner Thomas Warnke; the pride he took in showing us his home; the attention to detail he clearly took in designing it; and most of all, how much the space made us feel as if we wanted to live in it!

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
I would love to be backstage from start to finish for a big concert. I’ve been fortunate to see lots of concerts at various performing arts spaces, but as a non-musician, I’d love to go backstage at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center, not only to experience the physical space, but also to experience the energy of those places before a big show. I’d love to be in the wings at Alvin Ailey in City Center. After the show, I’d love to see how everything is broken down and brought back to its “bare” form. I’m fascinated by how these spaces seem “come to life!”

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It creates access to places and spaces that make New York great and connects people in the process.

Help OHNY continue connect New Yorkers to each other and to the places and spaces that it make it a great city.
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.

I am OHNY is an annual campaign that celebrates OHNY’s community of supporters. Phillip Sulke is founder of Shopikon and an OHNY member. He has contributed and participated in a number of our programs, from talks and boat tours, OHNY Weekend, and special events!

“OHNY appeared on my radar for its yearly OHNY Weekend. Once I visited a few sites I was sold. I knew that I wanted to participate more and not have to wait a full year,” says Phillip. “Being passionate about urban development and architecture made it very easy to join OHNY.”

Thank you Phillip for supporting our work as an OHNY member!

Phillip-SulkeB

What do you love most about New York City?
I love the fact that you can never keep up with everything, whether it is music, art, or food. There is always something to learn, try, and experience. No other city makes it so easy to recharge your creative batteries.

What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
Taking a taxi boat down the Gowanus Canal. It was such an unusual and neglected corner of the city. I could have never seen without OHNY in such a way.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
I would visit all skyscrapers that were built between 1910 and 1935, especially their penthouses. Designers and architects from that period had so much more leeway to be inventive and playful with their ideas.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It opens locked doors and tells untold stories.

Help OHNY continue to share New York’s untold stories.
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.