The 1950s and 60s were a period of architectural experimentation, as new materials and technologies opened up a whole range of possibilities for architects and designers. At the time, New York City was in the midst of a post-war construction boom, and today the five boroughs are dotted with some truly amazing masterpieces of Mid-century Modernism. During OHNY Weekend, many of the very best examples from this period will be open to the public, free of charge. From Marcel Breuer’s campus buildings in the Bronx, to Philip Johnson’s very first commission, to a slew of landmarks from the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Queens, fans of Mid-century Modernism (which has been having a moment of late, thanks to the TV show Mad Men) should find this year’s lineup particularly enticing. All of the sites listed below are Open Access during the times and dates indicated below, and do not require reservations.

 

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Ford Foundation

Saturday, October 17: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, this building’s soaring 12-story atrium looks out over a lush, terraced garden. Though interior spaces built as late as 1985 are eligible for landmark status, the Ford Foundation’s atrium, completed in 1967, is currently the “youngest” interior landmark in the city, and is considered one of the most iconic Mid-Century Modern interiors in the five boroughs. During OHNY Weekend, visitors will have the rare opportunity to travel up to the balconies overlooking the garden to experience the space from above.

 

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Four Seasons Restaurant

12:00 pm4:00 pm.

The Four Seasons has a storied history as the original home of the New York “power lunch,” and is known the world over for its innovative design by Philip Johnson. In fact, it was the famed architect’s first major commission. Visitors will be able to take in a unique view of the surrounding streetscapes through the restaurant’s beloved shimmering chain curtains, and explore the Pool Room, with its four trees that change with the seasons, as well as the Grill Room, with its two iconic Richard Lippold sculptures. An exhibition of images of landmark interiors by photographer Larry Lederman, featured in the new book Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York, will also be on view.

 

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Japan Society

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 11:00 am5:00 pm.

Built on land donated by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Japan Society’s building was designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura and opened in 1971 as the first building by a leading Japanese architect in New York City. Located near the United Nations on 47th Street, activities at Japan Society are set against a stunning backdrop of indoor gardens, a reflecting pool and a waterfall. The building is furnished with a superb collection of tables, chairs and benches designed by master woodworker George Nakashima. Tours will be offered on both days of OHNY Weekend, free of charge.

 

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TWA Flight Center

Sunday, October 18: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.

One of the most famous icons of Mid-century Modernism, the TWA Flight Center, is on the National Register of Historic Places. MCR Development, the firm selected by the Port Authority to celebrate Saarinen’s masterpiece and reopen it to the public, is advancing a privately-funded $265 million plan to rehabilitate the national landmark to its original splendor and deliver the first on-site, world-class airport hotel at JFK International Airport. Expected to be complete in 2018, the redevelopment plan will include a museum focusing on New York City as the birthplace of the Jet Age, the storied history of TWA Airlines, and the Mid-century Modern design movement.

 

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World’s Fair Pavilions

New York Hall of Science—Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
New York State Pavilion—Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
World’s Fair Grounds Tours—Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

This year’s OHNY Weekend coincides with the 50th anniversary of the closing of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, which was held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Though many pavilions were demolished or moved after the fair ended, several were saved and have become emblems of the city’s largest and most diverse borough. Visit the former fairgrounds to explore Mid-Century Modernist works that will include Wallace K. Harrison’s New York Hall of Science, Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion (pictured), and tours of a dozen other landmarks with NYC Parks docents. Click here to read our full Weekend Itinerary for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

 

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University Campus Tours

Left to Right:
Lehman College—Saturday, October 17: Tours at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5:00 pm.
Bronx Community College—Sunday, October 18: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
The Rockefeller University—Saturday, October 17: Tours at 10, 10:30, 11, 11:30am, 12, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, and 3:30pm.

Universities are often fertile ground for architectural experimentation, and many campuses around the city feature works by Mid-Century Modernist trailblazers. During OHNY Weekend, visit buildings by Harrison & Abramovitz at The Rockefeller University in Midtown Manhattan, and Marcel Breuer at the Bronx’s Lehman College (on Saturday) and Bronx Community College (on Sunday).