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. 
 

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