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



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.


OHNY Executive Director Gregory Wessner, far left, testifies in the New York City Council chambers on December 1st, 2016.

Yesterday, Open House New York’s Executive Director, Gregory Wessner, testified at the New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation’s hearing on increasing public access to NYC Department of Parks and Recreation properties that are currently inaccessible to the public. Led by Councilman Mark Levine, the chair of the Committee on Parks, the hearing began with testimony from our friends at the Parks Department, who cited their long partnership with OHNY as evidence of their ongoing efforts to provide access to off-limits buildings like the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial and the Little Red Lighthouse, when possible.

In addition to those two important landmarks, Councilman Levine and his colleagues on the Committee on Parks spoke passionately in support of providing access to everything from the Washington Square Arch and the New York State Pavilion to Hart and North Brother Islands. Once the hearing was opened up to testimony from the public, Wessner joined the Regional Plan Association’s Moses Gates, a dedicated advocate for increased public access to important sites around the city, on the first panel.

“We get information about our civic life second and third hand,” Wessner noted during his testimony, “and I think we are beginning to realize how that lack of direct experience–with one another and with the places where we live–can lead to an eroding of the public sphere. I am not so naïve to think that simply letting people climb the Washington Square Arch or visiting Hart Island will reinvigorate citizenship, but I do think that the degree to which the city makes itself open and accessible to its citizens communicates a great deal about this city’s values. And there is no more tangible expression of a welcoming city than the simple act of opening a door.”

“I ask of the city as a whole,” Gates said, in his testimony, “that this becomes a value—when we renovate or build things, that the public should be able to access these places, and that this is as much a consideration as stability or safety.”

Wessner and Gates were followed by dozens of advocates for public access, and public space in general. Many longtime friends of OHNY were on hand to speak in support of the value of direct experience of place, including the Trust for Public Land, Untapped Cities, NYC H2O, the Historic Districts Council, WHEDco, and the Municipal Art Society. It was inspiring afternoon; public support for access was clear, with so many people in attendance that the hearing was moved from its originally scheduled venue, the Committee Room, into the full Council Chambers. Testimony went on for several hours, and presented a wide range of viewpoints on why access is so important to New York City’s civic life.

All of us at Open House New York thank Councilman Levine and the Committee on Parks and Recreation for holding this hearing, and for giving us the opportunity to speak about the work that we do, and the impact that we believe it has on New Yorkers from all walks of life. It is wonderful to see public access championed and spoken of as a civic value in no less important a venue than the City Council Chambers. We will continue our work to increase access, wherever and whenever possible, and look forward to opening more and more of the city each year.

Click here to read the full text of Gregory Wessner’s remarks to the New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation on December 1st, 2016. [PDF]


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.