I AM OHNY

I am OHNY is a campaign we began in 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is one of OHNY’s earliest champions. She and her husband, both history buffs, have participated in OHNY Weekend as visitors. During the 2004 OHNY Weekend, they had the rare opportunity to see the interior of the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument on the Upper West Side, her City Council District at the time.

More recently, since being elected Manhattan Borough President, she has also participated in OHNY Weekend as a site host. New York City Borough Presidents are responsible for maintaining the official maps for their borough. During the 2014 OHNY Weekend, Brewer hosted a map display of the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811–the most influential map in New York City’s history, which proposed the reorganization of the city into the rectangular grid we know today–and portions of John Randel’s 1820 survey of Manhattan–the real-world implementation of the Commissioner’s Plan. For the 2015 OHNY Weekend, she displayed the complete set of Randel’s maps, comprising 92 hand-drawn and hand-colored panels of the entire island, which was the first time in memory that the entire set had ever been displayed in full.

“When I took office two years ago, I knew the historic maps in the flat files of our Topological Bureau deserved to be seen by all, which is why I’ve hosted a map display, in the McKim, Mead & White-designed Municipal Building, the last two OHNY Weekends,” says Borough President Brewer.

Thank you Borough President Brewer for your commitment to sharing Manhattan’s treasures with the public!

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What do you love most about New York City?
New York City is fantastic for the sheer variety of cityscapes: from centuries-old historic fabric, such as the South Street Seaport or Henry James-era townhouses on Washington Square North, to the more of-the-moment, such as the revitalized area around the new World Trade Center.

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 see the spaces at the very top of the Chrysler Building.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It lets fans of New York deepen their fandom, opening an incredibly wide range of doors to anyone, resident or visitor.

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 a campaign we began in 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Alastair Elliott is a Principal and Chief Operating Offer at Silman and President of the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY). We worked with Alastair and SEAoNY this year on Engineering New York, a special OHNY Weekend series featuring eleven recent projects that illustrate the state of the art of structural engineering in New York City today, and the important role that structural engineers play to realize a new generation of New York City icons such as the Apple Cube at Fifth Avenue, Brookfield Place, Hudson Yards, and the new Whitney Museum of American Art.

After learning about “this year’s focus on structure, it became clear that this was the year to get involved, both for the Structural Engineers Association of New York and for me personally,” says Alastair. “The new Whitney Museum of American Art was one of my most challenging projects and I was excited to lead one of the tours during Open House Weekend.”

Thank you Alastair for opening our eyes to the important role structural engineers play everyday to transform beautiful ideas into reality!

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What do you love most about New York City?
I like that there is so much variety and constant change that it is impossible to be bored. I am always discovering something new to do or finding something that has been here a lot longer than I have.

What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
This year I led a tour of the new Whitney Museum of American Art. I had the opportunity to explain the structural systems of the building to an audience that generally knew very little about structural engineering, but was very interested to know more.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
The Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access tunnels. A few years ago I had the opportunity to tour Water Tunnel number 3 and the 7 Train Extension tunnel. Both were fascinating; especially Water Tunnel number 3 which is deeper than just about everything else in the city.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It educates the general public about the important work done every day by design and construction professionals, without which the city simply would not function.

Every building in New York is the product of a collaboration of a number of design and construction professionals, from architects to lighting designers to structural engineers. Help us continue to highlight the work of these professionals, who make our built environment possible.
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 a campaign we began in 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Bahij Chancey is an NYC Civic Corps Member at the Department of Parks and Recreation. A regular OHNY volunteer, Bahij volunteered as an OHNY Weekend District Coordinator for the first time this year in Red Hook. During OHNY Weekend, Bahij was responsible for managing all of our Red Hook volunteers and making sure that everything was running smoothly at a wide variety of sites in the neighborhood including Bike New York’s Coastal Resiliency Bike Tour; the GBX Gowanus Bay Terminal; and the Coffey Street Residence.

“I’m totally obsessed with New York’s built environment: the streets and structures that we inhabit each day, and the hidden infrastructure that keeps the city ticking,” says Bahij. “I was lured by OHNY’s commitment to showcase the city’s greatest architectural treasures, and reveal its hidden gems. The decision to volunteer was easy for me. I wanted to support your program, and I have time but not so much money. Volunteering has allowed me to take advantage of so many great OHNY offerings.”

Thanks Bahij, for supporting us as a volunteer, which is just as meaningful to us as any other form of support!

What do you love most about New York City?
I love learning how it functions. It’s a wonder to me that New York City exists at all. I’m constantly amazed at the diversity of people from every culture who coexist in frenetic harmony. Every day, we each do our own part, but rarely do we take a second and really think about the gargantuan task we accomplish just keeping this city running. When I walk through this city’s streets I see a web of intersecting infrastructural networks all performing vital functions. Some are obvious and constantly present in our lives, like our streets and our subways. Some are more discrete, tucked away on the roofs of buildings or below our feet. I question how our food got here, and where our trash goes when it’s picked up from the curb. What pipes, wires, train lines, sewers, and building cellars did that tree’s roots have to circumvent in order to thrive? Finding the answers is satisfying, but the more I learn, the more there is to know.

What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
The OHNY experience that had the greatest impact on me wasn’t actually a visit to a structure. It was Robin Nagle’s lecture* about picking up trash in NYC. My mind was whirring after her fantastic talk. The Department of Sanitation usually exists in people’s peripheral, but that night she celebrated the monumental task entrusted to New York’s Strongest. Each step along our trash’s journey from the curb to the state border holds its own marvels.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
Assuming that all-access includes time travel, I would love to see the Brooklyn Bridge when it first opened. It’s hard to imagine New York at a time when the bridge’s majestic stone gateways towered over every building in the city. When all that had ever crossed the East River were vessels, the sight of the suspension bridge effortlessly draped over the water must have been unbelievable. It’s aged beautifully as the city grows around it.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It opens doors. You can pass by the same door twice a day and never wonder what it hides, but once you get a peek there’s so much more to see.

Help Open House New York continue to open doors and give you a peek into what it’s hidden inside.
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.

*OHNY volunteers are invited to special enrichment lectures over the course of the year, which are organized to recognize and celebrate the volunteers who help make the Annual OHNY Weekend–and OHNY’s year-round programs–possible. Want to attend? Become a volunteer!

I am OHNY is a campaign we began in 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Karen Zabarsky is the Creative Director at Kushner Companies, and an Open House New York superfan. Karen’s been involved in OHNY as an OHNY Weekend site host, and as a participant, having attended not only OHNY Weekend, but also our year-round programs and special events.

Karen first came across OHNY when she was working in business development for STUDIO V. “I was looking for innovative ways to get our projects out there, especially those that were under construction–sometimes the coolest phase of a project!” says Karen. “We ended up giving tours for our project called Empire Stores—seven contiguous warehouses on the Brooklyn waterfront—and it was so inspiring to see visitors’ excitement and fascination with this transforming building. I’ve been an OHNY junkie ever since.”

Thank you Karen, for helping us open new doors for the public and getting involved in OHNY in so many ways!

What do you love most about New York City?
Although its rich history and walkable streets sparked my lust for New York City, it’s the layers of development and ever-changing landscape/hardscape that keep me in love. Old infrastructure inspires new uses, landmarked architecture paves the way for innovative design, and somehow these layers continue to unfold and meld together.

What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
My friend Blake and I had the unparalleled opportunity to visit 4 World Trade while it was still under construction. Being immersed in the unadulterated bones of one of the most iconic projects in the city was not just jaw-dropping; it opened my eyes to the possibility of exploration and the unique connections with the city that OHNY fosters.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
The site of the future Bushwick Inlet Park in Williamsburg! This property holds historic infrastructure from the days of Charles Pratt’s oil empire, including ten incredible 50-foot tall oil fuel containers that look like Richard Serra pieces. You can also access the bucolic Bushwick Inlet from there and see 180-degree views of Manhattan. Let’s lift that chain-link fence, OHNY!

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It’s truly in line with the sharing economy of our generation. So much of this city’s beauty and magic has been made exclusive. OHNY combats this trend and brings the majestic views, the elite designers, the under construction park projects, and everything in between back to the public.

Help Open House New York continue to share this city’s beauty and open up it’s best projects to the public.
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 a campaign we began in 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Jessica Dailey is the Managing Editor of Curbed and has been a longtime supporter of OHNY. She first learned about OHNY when she was an editor at Inhabitat NYC in 2011, and has been covering OHNY ever since.

This year, Jessica participated in OHNY Weekend not only as a journalist, but also as a program partner! Of the 100+ new sites that opened their doors during OHNY Weekend, five private residences were handpicked by Curbed editors, a new collaboration spearheaded by Jessica.

“OHNY opens doors to so many restricted places, and that’s incredibly exciting for a journalist because the sites undoubtedly lead to new stories,” says Jessica. Thank you Jessica for sharing so many of OHNY’s stories, and helping us open up several lovely residences this year!

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What do you love most about New York City?
I really love New York’s parks. I grew up in a somewhat rural area, so proximity to green leafy things is a necessity. My two favorites–Brooklyn Bridge Park and Prospect Park–provide totally different experiences. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a stunning feat of modern engineering that weaves together pockets of green space to highlight the city around it, while Prospect Park’s forests, lakes, and waterfalls feel like they’ve existed for hundreds of years, far away from the city.

What is your most memorable Open House New York experience?
I always jump at the opportunity to go on behind-the-scenes construction tours of new parks, but by far the most memorable was a trip to the new section of Governors Island in 2013. The tour had to be rescheduled because of thunderstorms, and when the new date finally came, there was still a chance of thunderstorms. It seemed like we were in the clear, though, so the tour went on. But almost immediately after we walked through the Liggett Terrace arch, we heard thunder and saw dark clouds coming our way. It’s quite an experience being on a construction site in the middle of the harbor with a thunderstorm barreling at you! We all got a little soaked in the rain, and had a good laugh about Mother Nature not wanting us to take this tour.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
I’ve always wanted to go inside the Grand Army Plaza arch at the entrance to Prospect Park. I know that this used to be possible, but it hasn’t been an option since I’ve lived in New York. I’ve read that there’s a theater inside, and I’m so curious to find out what it looks like.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It grants access to so many places that are off-limits to the public. When you can go behind the scenes of new developments and parks, or peek inside private offices and homes, it’s like being let in on a secret and makes you feel more connected to your city.

Help Open House New York connect you to the city and share its best secrets.
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.