I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Clive Wilkinson is a Los Angeles-based architect. We reached out to Clive this year after reading about the “Superdesk” that he designed for the Manhattan headquarters of The Barbarian Group. As soon as he heard what OHNY Weekend was, he not only agreed to lead a tour of the Superdesk, he also offered up another recent project, GLG’s headquarters on 42nd Street, as a site for the festival.

Thank you, Clive, for working with your clients to open up both of these spaces, and for being such a strong supporter of OHNY Weekend right off the bat!

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Clive Wilkinson, left, leads a tour of the Superdesk during OHNY Weekend. (Photo: Nicolas Lemery Nantel)


What do you love most about New York City?

I love the city’s impossible and very welcoming energy—it’s unique amongst the large metropolises of the world.

What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
My favorite neighborhood today is the Lower East Side, because of its extraordinary mixture of ordinariness and the exotic. Any journey around it surfaces the weirdest discoveries, both old and new.

What was your most memorable OHNY experience?
Well, I’ve only had one so far, just this year, so it is certainly the most memorable: guiding tours around our two new projects, GLG’s Midtown headquarters and the Barbarian Group’s Chelsea offices [home of the Superdesk].

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go, and why?
That would have to be Grand Central Station, which seems to be a labyrinthian city unto itself.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
How else can we legally break into the working and living spaces of all of these exotic New Yorker people?

 

Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Join OHNY as a Member
Gift an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY with a donation

 

From the Annual OHNY Weekend to its year-round public programs, OHNY offers you opportunities to see the city like you’ve never seen it. With your support, OHNY can continue to open the city to tens of thousands of people throughout the five boroughs, tying us closer to the places, people and stories that make New York the most extraordinary city in the world. Together, we are OHNY.

I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Marilynn Davis is a partner at K2S Advisors, and previously served as Chief Financial Officer for the New York City Housing Authority and the Assistant Secretary for Administration of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Marilynn was recently elected to serve on OHNY’s Governing Board. We are excited to welcome her aboard!

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What do you love most about New York City?
Of course, anybody would have to say that the energy in New York is special and quite unique. I think that this stems from not only the great diversity in the city—along so many dimensions—but also from the fact that we actually interact with each other constantly within a footprint that’s really quite compact for the size of the population, so everybody has to brush up against each other on some level–through work, food, culture and leisure activities or on the subway. There’s no escape. So, for most of us, it leads to a certain amount of tolerance, stemming from a broadening—however subliminal—of everyone’s perspective and worldview. And, at its best, it enables one to engage in intellectual and public discourse at a very high level about things that concern us as a society. That conversation extends to education and attentiveness around our built environment.

What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
Cass Gilbert’s Brooklyn Army Terminal knocked my socks off the first time I saw it. I had the great pleasure of experiencing it at night, at a social event, so there was an al fresco dinner on one of its plazas, followed by a party inside the terminal itself. I’d never seen anything like it, and it was magical.

I grew up in Detroit during what was still its heyday, so I was imbued with the idea of the power of big industry being projected through its factories. However, I’d never seen any that were as elegantly configured as the Brooklyn Army Terminal, with the exception of those that were captured by Diego Rivera in his masterpiece, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes, that he did for the Detroit Institute of Arts. So I could imagine the Terminal during its peak years of use, when it was buzzing with workers amidst the ballet of the activity on the docks, the trains, the delivery of products by the overhead cranes to their respective levels, all in that cavernous space! Pretty amazing, and it expanded my partiality to modernist gems like the Seagram Building.

What was your most memorable OHNY experience?

I went on an OHNY cruise along the Hudson a couple of summers ago, where there were architectural and naval historians on board to tell us about the history of port development on both the NYC and the New Jersey sides and inform us about some architectural gems that are the more anonymous fixtures of the New York City skyline.  And we were able to really appreciate the vast expanse of Riverside Park on the Upper West Side, and learn the history of Robert Moses’ vision for the area. The cruise went as far north as the George Washington Bridge, which I came to regard for the first time as a real beauty, perhaps on par with the Brooklyn Bridge, something that’s very hard to appreciate when you’re stuck in traffic on it!

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
There are two spots, the first of which would require some fairy wings. The Angel Orensanz Foundation is in the oldest synagogue building in New York and, until recently, it was open to the public for special events, which is how I experienced it. It was at night and the lighting created quite an ethereal atmosphere, but it was clear that the building was very fragile and, since then, it’s been closed. I’d love to be able to float through the space and really explore its altar and balcony, to the rafters and beyond.

The second place would require time travel: I wish I’d been able to experience the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem during the Jazz Age when artists like Bessie, Billie, and Cab set it on fire with their music! I’ve seen photographs of the space when it was originally built, as a vaudeville venue, and it was a real beauty through many iterations of use. It fell into disrepair, closed and, in this century, was reopened as a facility for multiple uses, including a banquet hall and bowling alley. I’d love to have been able to see the space as it was originally built and explore all its nooks and crannies.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
The built environment that envelops us, irrespective of the use or the budget for any particular part of it, has the ability to inspire or diminish our collective spirit. It’s important that the citizens who inhabit it have an opportunity to appreciate its history and promise. Welcoming forums like OHNY—outside of those that have traditionally been pitched to professionals—are important to this education and to the encouragement of the expanded perspective and awareness that characterize New Yorkers.

Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Join OHNY as a Member
Gift an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY with a donation

From the Annual OHNY Weekend to its year-round public programs, OHNY offers you opportunities to see the city like you’ve never seen it. With your support, OHNY can continue to open the city to tens of thousands of people throughout the five boroughs, tying us closer to the places, people and stories that make New York the most extraordinary city in the world. Together, we are OHNY.

I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Ben Helmer is one of our go-to volunteer photographers, both for our year-round programs and for tours during OHNY Weekend. He moved to the city several years ago, having grown up in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and has been volunteering with OHNY since 2009.

“I never had any interest in being a city person,” Ben admits. “But after transferring here for work, I began a photography project and for 700 days straight, I photographed the people and neighborhoods. I got to know the city better than many of my native friends. Today, the diversity of a subway car feels like home. I’m pretty sure I’m here for life.”

Thank you, Ben, for volunteering your time and talent to help us document our programming so beautifully!

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What do you love most about New York City?
The people. I live in Queens, and the range of food, culture, dialects: they’re all tied to people. In the suburbs, the ratio of people is very limited. The diversity that is there is so small, you’re just not that exposed to it. For the past several years, I’ve been talking to and photographing strangers. I’ve talked to all sorts of people, from everywhere: rockstars, architects, Sandy relief workers, homeless people, first generation mothers; I even met a former bodyguard for Norigea. Most people I meet have amazing perspectives, and are way more approachable than an outsider would think. It’s not a huge stretch to say that people are New York’s greatest achievement.

What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
My two favorite bridges are the Hell Gate Bridge in Queens, and the Manhattan Bridge. Of the latter, I love the bases of the two towers, below the main span of the bridge. As for the Hell Gate, it’s so different from the suspension bridges, and (to my knowledge), it’s the only bridge in New York to be copied elsewhere. Also, the view of Manhattan, just east of the Hell Gate, has got to be of the most beautiful in the city.

What was your most memorable OHNY experience?
I took some of the best photos I’ve shot for OHNY on a hardhat tour of the Spring Street Sanitation Garage this past Weekend. Being on a hardhat tour is exciting, and I love the level of excitement everyone experiences on such tours. Normally, if you pointed out a sanitation truck garage to me, I would likely keep walking. Seeing the innovation coming out of a normally unpopular public work was really inspiring. We’re talking roof gardens, beautiful architecture, and not only consideration for the neighborhood, but improvements that actually make the lives of city workers better.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go, and why?
I’ve been dying to get into the Second Avenue Subway or the East Side Access tunnels. Last fall, the Transit Museum did an exhibit of photos of the tunnels by a Japanese photographer. They were incredible, and it’s a dream of mine to see them for myself. Really, I want to document the workers in those unfinished tunnels. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to witness history. Barring that, access to any subway tunnels off-limits to the public would be incredible. City Hall station is also on my radar.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
Architecture is pointless without people. We need every chance we can get to share New York with the people it was built for. Few organizations enable that like OHNY.

Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Join OHNY as a Member
Gift an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY with a donation

From the Annual OHNY Weekend to its year-round public programs, OHNY offers you opportunities to see the city like you’ve never seen it. With your support, OHNY can continue to open the city to tens of thousands of people throughout the five boroughs, tying us closer to the places, people and stories that make New York the most extraordinary city in the world. Together, we are OHNY.

Each year Open House New York invites budding and experienced photographers to enter the Focus on Architecture Photo Competition by submitting their best photos taken during OHNY Weekend. Photos were grouped four different categories: Details, Exteriors, Interiors, and People. Photos were submitted this year via Instagram; all images tagged on that platform with the #OHNYwknd hashtag were automatically entered into the competition.

The jury for 2014 included Dee Dunn (Dorothy Dunn Consulting), Penny Hardy (PS New York), Chris Payne (Christopher Payne Photography), and Dylan Thuras (Atlas Obscura). One grand prize winner, and one winner in each category was chosen. In addition, 3-4 photos in each category were also recognized with an Honorable Mention, determined by the number of votes from the panel of jurors. Prizes awarded to the winners included a Sony QX-10 Digital Camera and $100 vouchers for Photo Safaris, courtesy of New York City Photo Safari.

Many thanks to all the entrants and congratulations to the winning photographers!

 

Grand Prize Winner
supernat13 – Ford Foundation

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Details
wpoon38 – Winner – TWA Flight Center
augstagram – Honorable Mention – Knoll
dmz75– Honorable Mention – Weylin B. Seymour’s
thecosmas – Honorable Mention – TWA Flight Center
ieateggseverymorning – Honorable Mention – Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Clock Tower Tour

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A04   A07    A44   A47

 

Exteriors
dxbrch – Winner – TWA Flight Center
field_condition – Honorable Mention – Kickstarter HQ
eqdwei – Honorable Mention – TWA Flight Center
maxabroadnyc – Honorable Mention – NY Hall of Science Great Hall
ruotolophoto – Honorable Mention – TWA Flight Center

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B15    B20   B21   B25

 

Interiors
yeungkent – Winner – United Nations
chrisjoydesign – Honorable Mention – Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument
j.xiao – Honorable Mention – Cooper Union New Academic Building
eqdwei – Honorable Mention – TWA Flight Center

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C21     C06    C27

 

People
6161810 – Winner – TWA Flight Center
tigi202 – Honorable Mention – TWA Flight Center
chi_polinka – Honorable Mention – Jefferson Market Library Tower
wei_jien – Honorable Mention – Cooper Union New Academic Building

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D35    D09      D39

I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters.

Pia Yasay is one of the thirty District Coordinators who volunteer their entire weekend every year during OHNY Weekend to make sure that everything runs smoothly for visitors, volunteers, and site and tour sponsors.  Pia became a DC in 2013, returning again in 2014 to coordinate West Midtown. “At the time, I was working in the same office as the OHNY staff–so I am pretty sure that had a lot to do with it!” she recalls. [OHNY shared space with Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects until 2013 before moving into our own space.] “It seemed like it would be a great fit, and the experience has been very enjoyable.”

Thank you, Pia, for giving so much of your time to make OHNY Weekend such a fantastic event!

Pia

What do you love most about New York City?
The people. Their diversity and energy drives and shapes this city, and New York just wouldn’t be what it is without them. I feel that the diversity of the people translates directly into how diverse the neighborhoods and places are here in New York.

What is your favorite building and/or neighborhood in the city?
The Guggenheim. I think I was 12 the first time I visited. Back then I didn’t know anything about the museum, about architecture—I hadn’t even heard of Frank Lloyd Wright! It was so different from any place I’d been, and I could feel that it was someplace special. I suppose that was my first experience with architecture that really stuck with me. Now, every time I visit I make it a point to stand in the center of the rotunda and take a moment to look around.

What was your most memorable OHNY experience?
One of my favorite OHNY sites is Eero Sarrinen’s TWA Flight Center. I am glad I had the chance to see it before it gets turned into a hotel. Another favorite tour was Grand Central Terminal, where I was able to look down from the fifth floor catwalk.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go, and why?
I’d want to see the construction site of the Hudson Yards development. The project will completely transform Manhattan’s west side and the infrastructure that is being built and implemented for that project is extensive. It will be like a mini-city within Manhattan that is seemingly semi-autonomous, with its own power grid and a system of pneumatic tubes that will collect trash below street level.  I think those systems are pretty impressive, and haven’t been done in New York before, or at least not at this scale. It would be cool to see those inner workings before they’re hidden away.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
…it provides an opportunity to discover a place or space that you might not have the chance to experience otherwise. It is valuable to me because a lot of the sites I’ve visited are on streets I’ve walked down many times before and in buildings I’ve never given a second thought, but OHNY gives me the chance to experience those unassuming places and uncover something new about New York.

 

Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Join OHNY as a Member
Gift an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY with a donation

 

From the Annual OHNY Weekend to its year-round public programs, OHNY offers you opportunities to see the city like you’ve never seen it. With your support, OHNY can continue to open the city to tens of thousands of people throughout the five boroughs, tying us closer to the places, people and stories that make New York the most extraordinary city in the world. Together, we are OHNY.