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I AM OHNY is a campaign we began in late 2011 to highlight and celebrate OHNY’s diverse community of supporters. This week, we sat down with Felicia Mayro – OHNY Weekend Site Sponsor – to ask her about her view of OHNY and why she loves New York City.

FeliciaMayro

Felicia Mayro

Lives in Gramercy Park East
Director, Neighborhood Preservation Center
OHNY since 2003

Are you a native New Yorker? If not, when and why did you move here?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I moved here from Boston in 1990 to attend Columbia University’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.

What do you find most inspiring about New York City?
That there are so many diverse neighborhoods, unique places, and people who add their personality to these spaces.

What is your favorite place/neighborhood in the city?
Tough question #1. As the Director of the Neighborhood Preservation Center, there are many favorites in the five boroughs! That said, the neighborhood where our office is located – the East Village – has become very special to me, not just for the architecture and ridiculously rich cultural history, but also for the people and neighbors I have had the great fortune of meeting.

What is New York’s best-kept secret?
Tough question #2. There is a small synagogue on Charles Street in the West Village, and if you stand on the corner of Charles and West 4th Streets (in front of Sevilla Restaurant) in the early evening, look west. There is something about that view of the synagogue in the context of its surrounding buildings that I love.

When did you first become involved with OHNY?
OHNY founder Scott Lauer and I met when he first started OHNY. We’ve been participants since that first year.

What is your most memorable OHNY site or program?
Since we participate in OHNY Weekend each year, I unfortunately haven’t been to another site yet. I do, however, have a favorite OHNY story.

One of the first times we opened our doors for OHNY, a gentleman came to see the Neighborhood Preservation Center, which is housed in the historic Ernest Flagg Rectory of St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery. The Church and its West Yard weren’t open to the public on that occasion, but he returned during Five Dutch Days when we had organized a guided tour led by the Church’s then historian. As a result of this, he’s been an active member of the Church’s congregation and is now himself the Church’s historian.

This is the kind of impact OHNY has. I’m sure there are many stories like this where people became more involved because OHNY helped open the door.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go?
With the right safety gear, it would be either the top of the Brooklyn or George Washington Bridge. Between the engineering and views, it would be amazing.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
It gives anyone who is interested the opportunity to see, experience, and learn about New York City’s built environment. It connects people and the spaces that make our city, and we have some great spaces.

 

Help us continue to connect people and the spaces that make our city.
Become an OHNY Member
Give the gift of an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY

 

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 OHNY’s diverse community of supporters. This week, we sat down with Penelope Hardy – longtime supporter and the graphic designer of the 2013 OHNY Weekend Event Guide – to ask her about her view of OHNY and why she loves New York City.

PennyHardy

 

Penny Hardy

Principal, PS New York
Works in Flatiron
OHNY since 2003

Are you a native New Yorker?
I am a native New Yorker and grew up downtown in the West Village. I remember going to breakfast at the local coffee shop and sharing the counter with drag queens who were ending their night as we were on our way to school. We all had a lot of pink on.

What do you find most inspiring about New York City?
The people — their diversity, energy and humanity. Being a designer, I spend my time focusing on how people communicate and absorb information. New York is a vast pool of learning. Taking the subway is like watching a play.

What is your favorite place/neighborhood in the city?
There are too many! Chinatown for a trip to another world without leaving the island. East Village for the old school Polish butchers. Governor’s Island for space to explore. Washington Square Park on a warm evening for its sense of optimism. 42nd Street New York Public library for a majestic sense of space. Jane’s Carousel for a treat that both children and adults enjoy. East River Ferry for a working man’s yatch tour of the city on a hot Summer day. Etc…

What is New York’s best-kept secret?
St. Luke’s Garden

When did you first become involved with OHNY?
I started attending the weekends 10 years ago. Then, this past year, our studio was thrilled to work with the organization on their promotional material.

What is your most memorable OHNY site or program?
The very first visit to the Chrysler Building.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go?
Down Under. I would love to access the mysterious layers of the underworld of the City.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
OHNY celebrates the diversity of visions and design perspectives in New York. It keeps us curious to learn more about the city and reminds us of the diversity that exists throughout the five boroughs. A Hindu temple in Queens, a Manhattan bedroom made of a petroleum trailer tank, a collection of 28 Greek Revival buildings on Staten Island, a 4 million sq-ft WWII military storage base in Brooklyn and a leading sustainable design affordable housing complex in the Bronx—open to all, thanks to OHNY. I also love the idea that inaccessible places become accessible to all. OHNY is populist and open literally and figuratively, like the best parts of the city.

 

Join Penny and help us continue to give access to all.
Become an OHNY Member
Give the gift of an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY

 

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.

 

 

openhousenewyork is thrilled to announce Brendan Crain will join as Program Director beginning in January 2014. Brendan is a writer and urbanist who comes to OHNY from Project for Public Spaces. Prior to PPS he was Program Coordinator at the Institute for Urban Design, where he helped organize Urban Design Week in 2011 and the crowdsourced design competition By the City / For the City. Brendan’s writing on urbanism has appeared in Architect, Dwell, MAS Context, and Next American City, among others. We are excited to have Brendan join us and look forward to an expanded schedule of year-round programs in 2014!

 BC

 

Brendan Crain

Program Director, openhousenewyork
Lives in Astoria
OHNY in 2014

Are you a native New Yorker? If not, when and why did you move here?
I moved here about 4 years ago to take a job with the Institute for Urban Design. I had always wanted to move here but told myself that I wouldn’t until my thirties because I knew once I moved here, I would never want to live somewhere else.

What do you find most inspiring about New York City?
I like to walk around a lot and of all the places that I’ve been, New York is the most engaging and diverse environment for that. Especially my own borough, Queens–every neighborhood is uniquely its own place. Within the span of a one-hour walk you can experience dozens of completely different physical environments. And the social environments of those neighborhoods reflect that diversity too. New York is the kind of city that inspires you to keep going out and exploring it further.

What is your favorite place/neighborhood in the city?
I love my neighborhood, Astoria. When I moved to New York I had to move very quickly and stayed with a friend who was living there, and when it came time to find my own place there was no question that I would stay in the neighborhood. There’s something incredible about its local economy. There is very little chain store activity and there are these great commercial streets that all have their own feel–Broadway, 30th Avenue, Steinway Street. I go to each one for different reasons. And then as you get closer to the East River, the context changes even more; there are lots of older industrial buildings; it’s a mix of working factories and newer arts and cultural uses. It’s a really fantastically diverse place, both in terms of the physical environment and the people who live there.

What is a memorable building that you have had access to?
The Woolworth Building, which OHNY has opened many times over the years. It’s a place that I had seen when I was young, and then to have access to it after it had been closed to the public felt very special. It’s really fantastic and inspiring because the story of how Woolworth conceived of and financed that project really shows how architecture reflects society’s values. It was such an important building for its time and you can sense how much that building meant.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go?
The New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Hands down. I’m worried that it won’t be around for long; it looks increasingly likely it will be torn down. It’s such a kooky thing and such a symbol of Queens. Every time I walk by it, it is just so arresting that I can’t help but want to go inside it.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
I think for every obvious place that you see and say, I have to get in there–the Second Avenue Subway Tunnel or the Chrysler Building or New York State Pavilion–there are hundreds of spaces that aren’t so obvious from the outside. OHNY gives people a chance to explore those places that they didn’t even know existed or to learn surprising things about places that they think know well. And New Yorkers love to know their city in a way that I think is very unique to this town. New Yorkers love New York in a really distinct and strong way. And OHNY makes a social activity out of it, allowing us to explore the city and learn about it together.

 

Help us continue to make learning about the city together possible.
Become an OHNY Member
Give the gift of an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY

 

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 OHNY’s community of supporters. This week, we sat down with Jacqueline Shaw – OHNY Weekend District Coordinator – to ask her about OHNY and why she loves New York City.

JacquelineShaw

 

Jacqueline Shaw

Architect
Lives in Fort Greene
OHNY since 2012

Are you a native New Yorker? When and why did you move here?
I’m from Southern California and I moved here in September 2011 after living in Michigan. I moved to New York when a job opportunity presented itself. I think at some point in my life I always knew I would slowly migrate east.

What do you find most inspiring about New York City?
Everyone in this city has so much ambition and ability to make things happen. I’ve met some of the most creative and talented people here and I am always amazed at what an individual can accomplish in a networked city like New York.

What is your favorite place/neighborhood in the city?
The last few months I’ve been spending most of my days in the Financial District and the South Street Seaport. I have to say, I absolutely love it.

What is New York’s best-kept secret?
Not so much a secret, but The Cloisters in Washington Heights is one of my favorite places to go to simultaneously get out of the city and stay in it.

What is your most memorable OHNY site or program?
Can I pick two? I was able to go on a private tour of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT because of the generosity and kindness of another long-time supporter of OHNY and previous I AM OHNY spotlight, Bob Baker. We had such a fantastic day and it’s something I will always remember. And I think everyone loves the opportunity to visit Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Terminal.

If OHNY could grant you an all-access pass to any place in the city, where would you go?
This changes for me constantly, but right now it would be Paul Rudolph’s residence at 23 Beekman Place. Or the new Whitney Museum between the High Line and Hudson River while under construction.

OHNY is important to New York City because…
In a city of so many people and opportunities, it’s really nice to share unforgettable moments and learn about unforgettable spaces with a few.

Help us continue to make unforgettable moments in unforgettable spaces.
Become an OHNY Member
Give the gift of an OHNY Membership
Support OHNY

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.