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.

 

 

ghosh

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.

 

 

leger

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.