OHNY Weekend


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

Registration for sites that require Advance Reservations is now open. You can find the full list of sites on our website by clicking here. If the site you were hoping to score tickets for is sold out, we encourage you to visit the Plan Your Weekend page to check out the listings for Open Access sites—the majority of sites that participate in OHNY Weekend do not require reservations at all!

  Walk the Internet Tour_credit Nicolas Lemery Nantel

While the majority of sites open during OHNY Weekend are Open Access and can be visited free of charge and without reservations on October 15 and 16, some sites and tours require Advance Reservations due to space or security restrictions. Information about all sites and tours can be viewed at ohny.org. Advance Reservations begin on Thursday, October 6 at 11 am.

In 2015, more than 8,500 reservation slots went live on Reservation Day, and 7,000 were booked within the  hour. If you’re a seasoned OHNY Weekend participant you’ve probably got a tried-and-true strategy for reserving spots on the tours you most want to attend. But if you haven’t participated in Reservation Day before, we’d recommend taking the following points into consideration as you get ready for the big day!

Above all, keep in mind that tens of thousands of people compete for limited spots on Reservation Day. While OHNY staff makes every effort to work with site hosts to facilitate as much access as possible, some sites have very limited capacity, and tours can be booked seconds after reservations open. If there are 100 slots at a site and 2,000 people are trying to reserve tickets, it can literally come down to a difference of milliseconds!

  Building date: 1989 renovation: ongoing Architect: Paul M. Rudolph The last NY townhouse built by modernist Paul Rudolph, with its series of intricately interwoven horizontal and vertical spaces.

  • Head to ohny.org: OHNY uses Eventbrite to manage all reservations for OHNY Weekend; each Advanced Reservation tour has its own web listing at ohny.org and a corresponding reservation page on Eventbrite. Reservation links to Eventbrite will go live on web listings at 11 AM on Thursday, October 6. A list of all Advance Reservation tours with links directly to corresponding Eventbrite pages will also be posted on ohny.org/weekend/reservations at that time, as well as on OHNY’s Facebook page and the OHNY blog.
  • Know the basics: There is a $5 fee, per guest, for each reservation, and you will be able to reserve for up to two people for each tour. If you are reserving for more than two people on a tour, you will need to go through the reservation process multiple times. This is done to ensure that no one guest is able to book large numbers of spots on any one tour. Once you begin a reservation, Eventbrite gives you eight (8) minutes to complete your reservation, so have your payment information ready before you begin.
  • An Eventbrite account will give you an edge: You do not need an Eventbrite account to make reservations for OHNY Weekend tours, but having one can help speed up the reservation process, as Eventbrite will save your name, address, and credit card info (if you grant it permission to do so). This cuts down on the time each reservation will take to complete.

  M11SanitationGarage_cred Saidy Lopez62

  • Know your priorities: The more excited you are about a tour, the better the chances that lots of other people are excited about it, too. Know going in that you may not have time to secure spots on every tour on your list. As the Bowery Boys once famously tweeted, “Only in New York would tickets for a Woolworth [Building] tour sell out faster than a One Direction concert.” Make sure you have lots of options.
  • And remember: There are plenty of great Open Access sites that you can visit without a reservation!  The majority of sites participating in OHNY Weekend have Open Access hours on October 15 and 16, meaning that you do not any reservations at all. If you can’t get a reservation for a tour, there are still many beautiful, fascinating, and wonderful places to explore during OHNY Weekend! We’ve heard plenty of people say “all of the best sites require reservations,” but we can say that this is emphatically not true. Many of our most visited sites, from the Brooklyn Army Terminal to New York City Hall, require no reservations at all to visit.