I am OHNY is a campaign we began in 2011 to highlight and celebrate Open House New York’s diverse community of supporters. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is one of OHNY’s earliest champions. She and her husband, both history buffs, have participated in OHNY Weekend as visitors. During the 2004 OHNY Weekend, they had the rare opportunity to see the interior of the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument on the Upper West Side, her City Council District at the time.
More recently, since being elected Manhattan Borough President, she has also participated in OHNY Weekend as a site host. New York City Borough Presidents are responsible for maintaining the official maps for their borough. During the 2014 OHNY Weekend, Brewer hosted a map display of the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811–the most influential map in New York City’s history, which proposed the reorganization of the city into the rectangular grid we know today–and portions of John Randel’s 1820 survey of Manhattan–the real-world implementation of the Commissioner’s Plan. For the 2015 OHNY Weekend, she displayed the complete set of Randel’s maps, comprising 92 hand-drawn and hand-colored panels of the entire island, which was the first time in memory that the entire set had ever been displayed in full.
“When I took office two years ago, I knew the historic maps in the flat files of our Topological Bureau deserved to be seen by all, which is why I’ve hosted a map display, in the McKim, Mead & White-designed Municipal Building, the last two OHNY Weekends,” says Borough President Brewer.
Thank you Borough President Brewer for your commitment to sharing Manhattan’s treasures with the public!
What do you love most about New York City?
New York City is fantastic for the sheer variety of cityscapes: from centuries-old historic fabric, such as the South Street Seaport or Henry James-era townhouses on Washington Square North, to the more of-the-moment, such as the revitalized area around the new World Trade Center.
If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go and why?
I would love to see the spaces at the very top of the Chrysler Building.
OHNY is important to New York City because…
It lets fans of New York deepen their fandom, opening an incredibly wide range of doors to anyone, resident or visitor.
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.