In the Office

This summer Open House New York was privileged to participate in Studio in a School’s 2015 Bloomberg Arts & Culture Internship program by hosting two rising seniors from the High School of Art and Design–a Career and Technical Education public school in Midtown Manhattan. Over the course of the six-week internship program, David Bermudez, an architecture major, and Lena Chen, a graphic design major, worked three days per week in OHNY’s office, giving them an opportunity to work at an arts and culture organization for the first time, strengthen their office and professional skills, and visit a a variety New York City institutions through Studio in a School site visits. At OHNY, David and Lena were tasked with researching, developing, and designing family-friendly materials for OHNY Weekend. To highlight their contributions, OHNY’s Elis Shin sat down with David and Lena to talk about their internship experience this summer and some of their favorite things.


Elis: What was your favorite part about interning at OHNY?

David: Probably the collaborative process of creating kids materials for OHNY Weekend and thinking about how to represent 3D ideas about architecture in the 2D of the guide. It was just a very interesting project.

Lena: My favorite part was also working on the kids materials. I liked coming up with a template, thinking about unifying it as a whole, and collaborating with David on ideas. I also really enjoyed going on a site visit to the Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station on the first day, and meeting with [OHNY volunteer] Eric Ball and getting to talk to an architect about what it’s like to be an architect.


Elis: After having interned with us for six weeks, what’s your impression of working at a nonprofit?

David: It’s very interesting to be a part of a work space that’s focused on helping the community and has an educational mission of exposing the public to architecture and design.

Lena: I didn’t realize the great amount of work that goes into making an organization work so smoothly and well. I thought prior to working at OHNY that a nonprofit organization was something easy to do and laidback. It’s definitely not easy–managing and predicting so much on your own. It was really interesting seeing you guys trying to predict how many people would come to an event, how many volunteers were needed, things like that.

David: It’s also just so much more gratifying to be a part of a nonprofit. At a corporation, the focus is on serving the customer and making a profit. But for OHNY it’s more…

Lena: About improving New York City.

David: Yeah, it’s about getting exposure to the city, interacting with architecture and the city, and bonding with volunteers and participants, making sure that everyone is having a great experience. It’s very exciting to be part of something like this.


Elis: What else are you guys doing this summer other than interning at Open House New York?

David: At the same time that I started the internship, I started going to the gym every morning. And in the evenings, I attend classes at the Art Students League, where I paint and draw from life.

Lena: As part of Bloomberg’s Studio in a School Program, we go on site visits every week. I’ve also been studying for the SATs a lot. And hanging out with friends and playing sports here and there. I’ve been playing badminton this summer, and I tried skateboarding for the first time.


Elis: What was the best place you visited this summer?

Lena: Out of the site visits we took this year with Studio in a School, the Museum of the Chinese in America stood out. I never thought New York City had a whole museum dedicated to the Chinese experience in America. I also really enjoyed visiting the New York Botanical Garden. It was amazing to get out of the city. You get tired of seeing buildings all the time and being surrounded by so many people. In the botanical garden there was a lot of space to wander and appreciate the beauty of nature.

David: There are multiple sites that I enjoyed, but my favorite was the Children’s Museum of the Arts because not only do they have a mission to educate youth about art but they also show how adults in the art field interact with children.


Elis: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

David: I’m very confident I’m going to be an architect and a contemporary artist in ten years. And I’m going to continue my studies in the arts until the day I die. It’s just something I enjoy. I love architecture and art, the way they go hand in hand. You can never stop learning.

Lena: [Laughs] I have no idea. Hopefully, I’ll have a great job and be surrounded by great friends. In ten years I’ll most likely be in New York.


Elis: This questions a little more personal, but what inspires you?

David: This is really personal! I grew up with a lot of people around me who had to give up their dreams to better themselves to create opportunities for their children. My family struggled for generations, and that inspires me to go out and take initiative as a young adult to persevere in what I want to do. And you know, pave the way for my children as well, but also pave the way for myself through hard work. Bettering the world also inspires me. Even though there can be a lot of negative light in the world, I’m always trying to make things better.

Lena: My sister inspires me. She’s always pushed me ever since I was young, as long as I can remember. I remember this one incident in second grade when I came home with twos, which is like a 50, and she was really disappointed. She was like “What are you doing? School? Why are you not applying yourself?” That was probably my wake-up call. After that, she started helping me school and with my vocabulary, and labeled everything around the house. And then started I started noticing her excelling in school and I wanted to be the same way. She’s my role model.




Elis: Last question, tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Lena: I love making funny faces and I love people who make funny faces and join me. They can always ride out an awkward moment and it’s always great to make someone laugh.

David: I enjoy doing judo. It’s a very intense hobby I have. Right now I’m in a very long vacation from it because school ended, but I usually practice three days a week. I’m in a nonprofit organization that helps inner city Bronx kids under 18 who can’t pay for martial arts classes.

A big Open House New York thanks to David and Lena for all their hard work this summer!

Jailee at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

Welcome to Jailee Rychen, OHNY’s new Program Coordinator!

Jailee hails from Chicago, where her interest in architecture and design began. She has lived, studied and worked in many different cities, including Dublin, London and Sydney, just to name a few!

No stranger to New York, she received her Masters degree in Museum Studies at New York University and has worked at a variety of arts non-profits including Ludlow 38, The Jewish Museum and the Guggenheim.

And she is excited to be moving to Long Island City with her husband, who is an architect (and cat!).

A Few Fun Facts About Jailee:

–  loves to play bingo

–  is a strong advocate for Vegemite

–  her first job was calling balls and strikes as an umpire for little league baseball

– recently rescued and adopted a kitten while on vacation in Turks & Caicos

Contact Jailee at

Looking for a summer internship or know someone who is?

OHNY is looking for summer interns to help us prepare for the 9th Annual OHNY Weekend, October 15 & 16, which will welcome 225,000 visitors to explore and experience over 150 programs and 200 sites throughout the city — all free of charge. Our sites and programs underscore the breadth and depth of New York’s architecture and design, and chronicle the city’s architectural, cultural, and urban development.

Interning at openhousenewyork is a great opportunity to acquire wide-ranging experience working with a small, creative team in a pleasant, supportive working environment!

The Program Intern will be responsible for working with staff members on a wide variety of projects including:
• researching and writing proposals to foundations, corporations and individuals
• researching site and program ideas for OHNY Weekend, October 15 & 16, 2011
• assisting in program development and special events including year round programs, the OHNY Weekend Launch Party, etc.
• maintaining database
• administrative duties

Ideally, the intern should possess:

  • excellent attention to detail
  • interest in architecture, not-for-profit arts management, urban planning, NYC history
  • ability to handle a variety of administrative responsibilities, and to work independently and creatively
  • excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • experience writing funding proposals/researching funders
  • experience in print & electronic research
  • computer proficiency in Microsoft office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • additional helpful skills: WordPress, Photoshop and other graphic design related software, fluency with social media

Internships are usually 2 days a week, but we are flexible!

Email cover letter and resume (Word Document or PDF) to:
115 West 27th Street, 9th Floor, NY, NY 10001

This past Monday, OHNY moved offices! Still in Chelsea, we have moved to the office of Stephan Jaklitsch Architects, located on 27th and 6th Avenue. We have unpacked all of our boxes and settled in, although there is still some work to be done. For one thing, our phones have not been set up yet, so if you are calling us (we are checking our voicemails remotely) please email for a quicker response!

Renee, at her new desk

Stephan Jaklitsch's office

SJA kitchen

As the fall season settles in, we at OHNY celebrated the harvest and the Halloween holiday by holding a pumpkin-carving contest this past weekend with our flatmates, anderson architects. The festivities began promptly at four o’clock, and the scooping and scraping and sculpting of gourds ensued.

The competition stoked not just our creativity, but our appetites as well. In addition to our scrumptious spread of cheeses, crackers, olives, and sweets, we were treated to pumpkin pie cocktails, courtesy of our departing volunteer coordinator, Andrew.
The only thing missing in all of this was a set of candles to illuminate the insides of our pumpkins! Improvising and enterprising as we are, we turned upside-down some desk lamps and stood back to admire our handiwork and to allow the impartial panel of judges to select the winner of the contest.
Although Team OHNY did not win, the party was still a great success.
Happy Halloween!
pumpkin carving

Pumpkin carving in the conference area


Hollowing out our pumpkin


Pumpkin flavored refreshments


Hipster pumpkin

2009 Pumkin Carving 025

Winning pumpkin


Pumpkin lighting