On behalf of the staff of Open House New York, thanks to everyone who lived through OHNY Weekend Reservation Day with us yesterday. If there are ever any doubts about the level of public interest in architecture and urban design in New York City, Reservation Day at OHNY pretty much annihilates them. In the past four weeks, our website had more than 340,000 page views, with 140,000 of those happening yesterday alone (an increase in traffic of more than 30% over last year). By 5:00 pm yesterday, we had processed 7,034 reservations out of a total of approximately 9,500. 6,000 of those were placed within the first 60 minutes after reservations began. My favorite observation of the day came from a Bowery Boys tweet, pointing out that “only in New York would tickets for a Woolworth Bldg tour sell out faster than a One Direction concert.” (For the record, the pace of reservations last year was compared to a Lady Gaga concert, so make of that what you will.)

 

For those of you who got the tours you wanted, cherish those reservations–I can only guess at what their street value must be today. For those of you who did not get the tour(s) you wanted, we are deeply sorry. OHNY was founded to provide access and if it were up to us, you would get into everything you wanted to see. But for a number of fairly obvious reasons (space, security), that is not always possible. At the end of the day, we still believe that limited access is better than none at all, so we respectfully disagree with suggestions that we should radically increase the reservation fee, or eliminate tours altogether.

 

For those of you who had issues with Eventbrite, the third-party ticketing system that we use to manage reservations, we extend a special apology. We recognize that it is an imperfect ticketing system and that many of you had frustrations searching for tours and/or placing reservations. We empathize with your frustrations because we have had our own as an event organizer. All things considered, however, for the moment it is the best system we have found to manage the enormous demand; without it, we would simply not be able to offer such a rich and wide-ranging list of sites and tours.

 

Whether you did or did not get reservations for the tours that you wanted, please remember that the majority of sites that participate in OHNY Weekend are Open Access and require no reservations at all. This includes all the sites on pages 6-25 of the OHNY Weekend Event Guide, a phenomenal list that includes perennial favorites like the TWA Flight Center (open Saturday, 11am-3:30pm) and the Brooklyn Army Terminal (Saturday, 10am-4pm), as well as first-time sites like Weylin B. Seymour’s (Sunday, 12-6pm) and nearly the entire list of makerspaces presented as part of our Making it Here series (days and times vary; check out page 11 in the Event Guide for more information). And don’t forget that there are still plenty of sites with available reservations; you can check them out at ohny.eventbrite.com.

 

That OHNY Weekend exists at all still astonishes me. On a typically beautiful fall weekend, hundreds of people all over the city open their doors and a thousand more volunteer their time, so that tens of thousands of us get to experience for ourselves the architecture that makes New York the most remarkable city in the world. It demands an enormous amount of everyone’s time and energy–to say nothing of patience–and that it comes off as smoothly as it does is a testament to the commitment of all involved, from our sites to our volunteers to our audience.

 

We cannot thank all of you enough for your part in making this such an extraordinary event. We hope you have a fantastic OHNY Weekend!

 

Best,

Gregory Wessner
Executive Director