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!
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.
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.