OHNY Weekend

This fall, Open House New York partnered with StreetEasy to create “NYC Uncovered,” a nine-part video series that celebrates our city’s incredible architecture and urban design. Each video highlights a single Open House New York Weekend site, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most popular OHNY Weekend destinations – some that New Yorkers know and love, and others that they may not have had access to before.

Each image below links to a post on the StreetEasy blog with more information about the site and a short video. Enjoy!



Eldridge Street Synagogue

“Built in 1887, the Eldridge Street Synagogue was one of the first temples built in the United States by Ashkenazi Jews. As such, it served has major center for Jewish life and prayer on the Lower East Side. Seamlessly blending understated beauty and historical significance, the site to this day remains an active place of worship as well as museum.” Watch Here



Lowline Lab

“Located at 140 Essex Street just off of Stanton Street, the Lowline Lab is a technical laboratory that mimics the environment of Lowline Park, a proposed underground community space built in a former trolley station. The concept behind the park is to create a green public space in one of the city’s least green and most dense neighborhoods – the Lower East Side.” Watch Here



New York State Pavilion 

“The New York State Pavilion is one of the only remaining structures built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The Fair, organized by Robert Moses, was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens where the 1939 World’s Fair also took place. The New York Pavilion, designed by the renowned modernist Philip Johnson, was one of the Fair’s main attractions and stood as a symbol of the Space Age and the promise of the future, two of the fair’s central themes.” Watch Here



VIA 57 West

“Architects and engineers refer to Via 57 West as a tetrahedron, a more technical term for describing a triangular pyramid. Due to its carved-out core, the building forms a saddle-like structure, which [Danish architect Bjarke] Ingels has also referred to as a hyperbolic paraboloid. The 709-unit luxury tower is the newest addition to the residential superblock along West 57th Street developed by the Durst Organization.” Watch Here



Masonic Hall

“Since the 19th century, an unassuming office building in Flatiron has been home to the largest Masonic Lodge in New York state. Formally known as the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, the lodge is still active today and regularly hosts more than 60 other lodges. The hall was built by Harry P. Knowles, a master mason and architect, and spans two office buildings on 23rd Street and rises 19 floors.” Watch Here



General Grant National Memorial

“When [Ulysses S.] Grant died in 1885, he was enormously popular, recognized as both the savior of the Union and a role model of rare political diplomacy, military strategy and masculine brawn. Upon his death, New Yorkers immediately rallied to design and build a memorial commensurate with his impact and legacy.” Watch Here



Apollo Theater

“Few other points of interest are as deeply entwined in a neighborhood’s character and history as Harlem‘s Apollo Theater. Equal parts neighborhood institution and international attraction, the Apollo and its famous marquee are recognized across the city and across the world as symbols of black music and culture.” Watch Here



Brooklyn Army Terminal

“Spanning 95 acres across the waterfront in Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Army Terminal was built in 1919, serving as an important military and supply base. It was designed by Cass Gilbert, the renowned architect of the Woolworth Building and was completed just 17 months after construction began. The complex encompasses 4 million square feet.” Watch Here



Kings County Distillery

“The Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to New York City’s oldest operating distillery, Kings County Distillery, which was just founded in 2010. In 2009, New York state loosened laws that had been restricting local production of alcohol since the time of prohibition. Colin Spoelman, a Williamsburg resident born and bred in Kentucky, and David Haskell, an editor at New York Magazine, immediately saw a business opportunity.  Shortly thereafter, Brooklyn’s first micro-distillery was born.” Watch Here


“NYC Uncovered” is presented by StreetEasy in partnership with Open House New York. To learn more about StreetEasy, visit www.streeteasy.com.



Images: Eldridge Street Synagogue by Peter Aaron/OTTO; Lowline Lab courtesy of Raad Studio; New York State Pavilion by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks; VIA 57 West by Iwaan Baan; Masonic Lodge by Nicolas Lemery Nantel; General Grant National Memorial by D. Stanko/NPS; Apollo Theater courtesy of the Apollo Theater Foundation; Brooklyn Army Terminal by Nicolas Lemery Nantel; and Kings County Distillery courtesy of the site.

Open House New York and Wikimedia NYC partnered during the 2016 Open House New York Weekend to present the 2016 Wikipedia at OHNY Weekend Photo Competition. Budding and experienced photographers were invited to submit their best OHNY Weekend visitors photos via Wikimedia Commons for a chance to win prizes. Photo submissions were not only reviewed by a panel of expert New Yorkers, but they also are now part of one of the largest collaboratively compiled and edited media projects in history!

More than 1,200 photos were submitted to the competition, all of which are now part of Wikimedia Commons, the online repository of free-use public domain images that are used across Wikipedia. A select number of photos taken during OHNY Weekend are already being used to illustrate Wikipedia articles including New York City Hall, FDR Four Freedoms Park, and Eldridge Street Synagogue.

Photo submissions were grouped into three categories – Details, Exteriors, and Interiors – and judged by a panel of jurors including Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director, Museum of the City of New York; Pat Kiernan, Morning Anchor, NY1 and Author, Good Morning, City; Sylvia Kollar, Director, Municipal Archives, New York City Department of Records and Information Services; Christopher Payne, Photographer; Frank Rocco, Photographer, New York City Photo Safari; and Saundra Thomas, Vice-President of Community Affairs, WABC-TV, and Open House New York Board Member.

Winners were selected in each category, one of which was also selected as the Grand Prize Winner. Based on the number of votes received by the jurors, additional photos in each category were also recognized with an Honorable Mention. Prizes awarded to winners include a $100 voucher for New York City Photo Safari and a copy of 100 Years, 100 Buildings by John Hill. The Grand Prize Winner also receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card a brand new Tamrac HooDoo 20 camera backpack.

Congratulations to winners and warm thanks for all who participated!





Category Winner and Grand Prize Winner: Brooklyn Army Terminal by Ailin Jin



Honorable Mention: General Grant National Memorial by Ellen Bryan



Honorable Mention: Ellis Island by Rich Lemonie






Category Winner: Westbeth Artist Housing by Ofer Maor



Honorable Mention: Ellis Island by Rich Lemonie






Category Winner: United Place by Alex Fortney



Honorable Mention: Gould Memorial Library by Peter Halikias



Honorable Mention: Ellis Island by Rich Lemonie


Want to learn more about Wikimedia NYC? Join them on Sunday, January 15 at Wikipedia Day 2017, one of several worldwide Wikipedia Day events. Highlights of photographs part of Wikimedia Commons, including photos submitted to the Wikipedia at OHNY Weekend Photo Competition will be displayed at the daylong celebration and mini-conference.

Open House New York gratefully acknowledges the generous support of New York City Photo Safari for this year’s competition prizes.



Tens of thousands of New Yorkers — along with visitors from across the country and around the world — came together this year for the 2016 Open House New York Weekend, crisscrossing the five boroughs in celebration of this extraordinary city and its architecture. From sunrise on Ellis Island to sunset at Hamilton Grange and Grant’s Tomb, from the basement of Google to the roof of Westbeth, this year’s Weekend gave visitors unparalleled access to the city, deepening our understanding of the complexities of design, construction, and preservation, and providing a visceral reminder of how thoughtful design can immeasurably enrich our day-to-day lives.

Our deepest thanks to all of you who made it possible: all of our sponsors, without whose support there would be no OHNY Weekend; our site hosts, intrepid individuals and organizations who opened their doors to welcome the public into their spaces; the record-breaking 1,400 volunteers who helped manage crowds with kindness and grace; and the tens of thousands of visitors who imbue this event with boundless energy and enthusiasm. It is truly a privilege to collaborate with all of you on this incredible festival. Click below to view some of our favorite highlights.




Photo: Empire Stores by David Hogarty


Who doesn’t love a good sneak peek? On Thursday, October 13, Open House New York and A/D/O invite you to preview the in-progress design center at the 2016 Open House New York Weekend Launch Party before it opens to the public later this year. Currently under construction, A/D/O is designed by nARCHITECTS and located in a 23,000 square-foot former warehouse in Greenpoint, at 29 Norman Avenue.

“Great design thrives in dynamic spaces,” says Nate Pinsley, Managing Director of A/D/O. “We set out to create an ideal environment for creative output – both through our physical space and through programming that prompts designers to explore new paths.”

Built for designers and open to all, A/D/O will offer resources and programs to advance the work of creative professionals, while creating opportunities for the broader public to engage with design thinking.


At the core of A/D/O’s program is a design lab that will explore the present and future role of design in urban life, as well as state-of-the-art workspace for a variety of design practices including industrial and product design, textile design, and architecture. Members will have access to digital fabrication and prototyping tools, as well as workshops. In addition, A/D/O will be home to Urban-X, an accelerator program by MINI and HAX for startups that that investigate solutions to improve urban life.

Also a leisure destination, A/D/O will include public venues for meeting and relaxing, including a design library, design store, exhibition space, and a Nordic-rooted restaurant, bar, and café by Fredrik Berselius and Claus Meyer. At the center of the space will be the “periscope,” a 16-foot skylight outfitted with massive mirrors that reflect and remix view of A/D/O’s surroundings with the buildings inner goings-on to create interplays of new and old, outside and inside, and work and play.


The principle of remixing is a guiding theme at A/D/O, reflecting its role as a site that actively encourages the cross-pollination of creative ideas. For example, its exterior remixes its existing brick into configurations that nARCHITECTS calls “reconstituted graffiti,” reincorporating the colorful remnants of murals from over the years. This idea was featured on the cover of this year’s event guide.


The 2016 OHNY Weekend Launch Party will be a chance for guests to preview one of Brooklyn’s most exciting new social hubs, before it opens to the public. Kick off your OHNY Weekend like a true urban explorer, partying on an active construction site!

Visitors will also be invited to get a personalized Weekend itinerary at the OHNY Weekend Concierge Desk; take a selfie with the 2016 OHNY Weekend Neon Sign, fabricated by Lite Brite Neon Studio and featured on the cover of this year’s event guide; and check out the OHNY Weekend Media Board, a folding timber billboard designed and fabricated by graduate students at the Princeton University School of Architecture; and help kick off the 14th Annual Open House New York Weekend.

Click here to learn more about the Launch Party and purchase tickets today!

Open House New York gratefully acknowledges the support of A/D/O for co-hosting this year’s Launch Party.


Image credits: A/D/O and Periscope courtesy of A/D/O. Cover image by Christopher Payne.


Yesterday was the annual ritual known as Reservation Day for Open House New York Weekend. It is an intense day for everyone who participates and, regardless of how successful you might have been in getting the tours you wanted, a day that generates a range of emotions that run from exhilaration through to frustration and anger. Underlying it all is confusion and disbelief–there is no way, we hear over and over, that an architecture festival could generate so much activity. But as inconceivable as this may seem, it does. It is with tongue only slightly in cheek that we like to say that what Adele is to concerts or Hamilton is to Broadway musicals, OHNY Weekend is to buildings.

I’ll skip the superlatives because I think the numbers tell a powerful enough story. By 5:00 pm yesterday, 11,222 Advance Reservations had been made; 10,000 of those were booked in the first sixty minutes after reservations opened at 11 am. According to Google Analytics, we had upwards of 37,000 users on our web site yesterday, who viewed more than 340,000 pages. If it seemed like all of the tours sold out immediately, it is because in large part they did. Not because they were presold or–to refute one of our favorite conspiracy theories–because scalper bots bought them all; it is because there were literally tens of thousands of people competing for what is ultimately a limited number of tickets. To put yesterday’s unprecedented reservation tally in some historical context, on the comparable day last year, we processed 7,000 reservations, which was itself a record-breaker.

We know that these numbers will not diminish the disappointment of not getting the tour(s) you wanted. To say that those of us at OHNY are conflicted about the issue of reservations is an understatement. In an ideal world, there would be no reservations at all and every site would be Open Access. But the reality is that there are sites, often for reasons of security or space, that need to limit the number of visitors. If we did not have the option of Advance Reservations, it is not a question that these sites would have to decline to participate. For now, we stand on the belief that limited access is better than none at all. But please know that we read and take to heart all of your comments, and are always considering ways to make improvements.

But I also want to stress that to focus only on the Advance Reservation sites–or worse, to boycott the Weekend altogether because a specific tour was no longer available–is to miss the whole point of Open House New York Weekend. Nearly 150 buildings will be Open Access this OHNY Weekend, meaning you do not need a reservation at all. This is a list that includes some of the most beautiful, inspiring, and iconic spaces in New York, from Stanford White’s stunning Gould Memorial Library to the Brooklyn Army Terminal to City Hall.

To help you make connections to this incredible trove of sites, for the first time ever, we have posted on each sold out Advance Reservation site’s page at least one suggestion for an Open Access alternative, sites that are similar in design or program for which you need absolutely no reservations! Wanted to go Google? Try the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. Missed out on Newtown Creek? Check out the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility. Visit the pages of all the Advance Reservation tours you hoped for and there will be an Open Access alternative that you can visit instead, no reservation necessary.

Whatever else there is to say about yesterday, we still stand in awe of what this intense activity reveals about the extraordinary depth of interest and passion that so many people have for this city. It is a testament to what a powerful idea OHNY Weekend is: that for one weekend a year, doors are opened and access is granted to places and spaces that are otherwise off limits to us. OHNY Weekend reminds us that this city that we live in together is our single most important shared resource, and its buildings and public spaces and infrastructure are fundamental to shaping the nature and quality of the lives we live.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Open House New York and we hope you have a wonderful OHNY Weekend!

Gregory Wessner
Executive Director