2015 Itinerary

Tomorrow, on the Saturday of OHNY Weekend (Oct. 17), urban wonks will have an extraordinary opportunity to visit two of the most important buildings in New York City government: City Hall and the Manhattan Municipal Building. Open Access to City Hall has been organized by the Public Design Commission, the official design review agency that advocates for excellence and innovation in the city’s public realm. PDC officials will be on-site throughout speaking about the building’s stunning landmark interiors. And before or after you visit the seat of city government, don’t miss the Manhattan Borough President’s Map Display, just across Centre Street, for a truly historic display of the 1820 Randel Farm Maps, the first to plot the grid established by the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811.


M-City Hall, interior rotunda_credit Andrew Moore

City Hall

12:00 pm4:00 pm.

Completed in 1812, New York’s City Hall is one of the oldest City Halls in the nation still serving its original purpose. It is the third home of New York’s government, but the first to be built specifically as a municipal seat. It is a National Historic Landmark and an NYC Landmark, and the rotunda, lit by a central oculus and graced by a “floating” staircase, is an NYC interior landmark. The plaza, rotunda, City Council chamber, and Governor’s Room will be open during OHNY Weekend, and visitors will be able to chat with staff from the Public Design Commission and Richard Southwick, Director of Preservation with Beyer Blinder Belle. Long lines are expected, so arrive early!


M-Manhattan Borough Presidents Map Display

Manhattan Borough President’s Map Display

10:00 am4:00 pm.

NYC Borough Presidents are responsible for maintaining the official maps for their borough. On OHNY Weekend, the Manhattan BP Gale Brewer’s office will display an historically essential map in the development of Manhattan—executed by John Randel in 1820—that has never been displayed in full. This map is the first that plotted the 1811 “Commissioner’s Plan” which established the Manhattan street grid—from Houston St. to 155th Street—and also encompasses the rest of the island, from The Battery to Inwood. The MBP’s Topographical Bureau is the sole repository for these 92 individually hand-drawn and hand-colored panels— which will be assembled into a room-size display, roughly 16 feet by 60 feet.

For true map geeks, there’s a special incentive to arrive at the 10:00 am Saturday opening of the display: Hilary Ballon, curator of The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan at Museum of the City of New York (and Professor of Urban Studies at NYU) will be available to answer visitors’ questions, but only from 10:00 am11:00 am.

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.



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.


M-Japan Society_credit Japan Society

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.


Q-TWA Flight Center_credit Ben Helmer

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.



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.



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).

New to Open House New York Weekend this year and trying to plan the perfect itinerary? The roster of sites and tours changes every year, but there are a few long-standing audience favorites that have become must-sees for Weekend participants over the years. Below, we’ve planned a Saturday itinerary that includes visits at several of these “classics.” After your Saturday adventures, you’ll be well prepared to plan your own itinerary on Sunday! All of these sites are Open Access during the times and dates indicated below, and do not require reservations.


M-Ford Foundation_credit Sean Hemmerle

Ford Foundation

0:00 am2:00 pm.

Start your day off the headquarters of the Ford Foundation—a pioneering, global social justice philanthropy. Designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates in 1967, the landmarked atrium is surrounded by exposed granite and Cor-Ten steel. During OHNY Weekend, visitors can take a rare trip up to the balconies overlooking the 12-story atrium to take in a unique view of the indoor terraced garden.


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Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 10:00 am6:00 pm.

While it is new to OHNY Weekend this year, Porcelanosa has the makings of a new classic. The structure—long known as the Commodore Criterion Building—features a sleek, contemporary interior by starchitect Sir Norman Foster, a skylit top-level design library, and a roof terrace with a jaw-dropping view of the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park. Don’t miss the chance to explore Porcelanosa with architects from Foster + Partners throughout the day on Saturday (and even return on Sunday for tours with structural engineers from Gilsanz Murray Steficek).


M-Masonic Lodge closeup_credit Nicolas Lemery Nantel

Masonic Hall

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 10:00 am2:00 pm.

A short walk from Porcelanosa is the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Free Accepted Masons of the State of New York. The ornate 23rd Street building contains a total of 13 Masonic lodge meeting rooms, each with its own distinctive design and character highlighting some aspect of the history, symbolism or philosophy of the Masonic fraternity. Tour five of these remarkable interiors at one of OHNY Weekend’s longest-running and most popular sites.


M-Jefferson Market Library_credit Nicolas Lesmery Nantel

Jefferson Market Library Tower

2:00 pm4:00 pm.

After your tour of the Masons’ exquisite meeting rooms, take a stroll down to the Jefferson Market Courthouse, now a branch of the New York Public Library, to climb the 149 stairs to the top of the iconic tower that has defined views Sixth Avenue since it was completed in 1875. Due to restricted capacity, long waits are common at this site. Make sure to arrive before 3:00 pm, as the line usually closes early.


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Brooklyn Army Terminal

:00 am6:00 pm.

Once you’ve taken in the sights in Manhattan, hop on the subway and ride out to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for a rare opportunity to peek inside of the gargantuan atrium of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Designed by Cass Gilbert (of Woolworth Building fame) and constructed by the military in 1918, BAT served as the largest military supply in the United States through World War II. Today, the site is a thriving commercial and light industrial hub run by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Free tours will be offered throughout the day on Saturday by the industrial history experts from Turnstile Tours.

By the late 1800s, New York City had become the world’s preeminent seaport. Just a few decades later, it became an early leader in air travel, as well, with the opening of the first municipal airport in the United States in 1931. The city’s history as a hub of international exchange has endowed it with a collection of one-of-a-kind architectural gems that communicate the excitement and optimism of several past “golden ages” of these globe-spanning modes of transportation. Now, as New Yorkers look to the future with the recently announced plans for overhauls at LaGuardia and JFK International Airports, that optimism can inspire and inform our expectations. On OHNY Weekend, visit these sites to see how the architecture of transportation has evolved over time. All of these sites are Open Access during the times and dates indicated below, and do not require reservations.


M-Alexander Hamilton US Custom House_credit Evergreene Architectural Arts

Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 10:00 am5:00 pm.

This downtown landmark was built to handle duty collection operations for the port of New York. The building’s impressive architecture clearly expresses the city’s importance as a the center of commercial shipping at the turn of the 20th century. Constructed from 1900-07, the Custom House was designed by Cass Gilbert, and features landmark interiors by Louis Comfort Tiffany and the Guastavinos. Visit during OHNY Weekend for a rare glimpse into the ornate Collector’s Suite (pictured above). Tours will be offered throughout both days.


M-Cunard Building

Cunard Building Lobby

10:00 am2:00 pm.

Just across Bowling Green from the Custom House is the former headquarters of the famed Liverpool-based Cunard Line. Completed in 1921, the building’s jaw-dropping lobby (which recently became a Cipriani event space) features a grandly presented marine theme that underscores the power and reach of the Cunard Line at a time when New York had become the largest city and busiest port in the world. Visit on the Sunday of OHNY Weekend to marvel at the lavish, 65-foot high muraled celings, inspired by ancient roman baths, where transatlantic voyages on such liners like the Queen Mary and the two Queen Elizabeth’s were booked.


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Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field

10:00 am6:00 pm.

On the Saturday of OHNY Weekend, travel out to Brooklyn’s Marine Park to visit Floyd Bennett Field, which became the very first municipal airport in the country when it opened in 1931. Now part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, the site’s main point of entry is the Ryan Visitor Center, which originally served as the passenger terminal for the airport and has been renovated to reflect the Golden Age of Aviation in the 1930s. The style of the building features an eclectic mix of elements from the Renaissance Revival, Colonial (Georgian) Revival, Neoclassical, and Art Deco styles.


oQ-Marine Air Terminal_credit Timothy Vogel via Flickr

Marine Air Terminal

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 10:00 am6:00 pm.

Celebrating the glamorous early days of transatlantic air travel, the main room of the Marine Air Terminal was spectacular introduction to the adventure of flying and remains one of the city’s most distinctive Art Deco interiors thanks to its vividly colored wraparound mural by James Brooks depicting the history of man’s quest to conquer the skies. The gateway to the world’s first transatlantic passenger flights, the terminal was inaugurated slightly more than a decade after Charles Lindbergh’s legendary 1927 trip to New York to Paris.


Building date: 1962 renovation: ongoing Architect: Eero Saarinen Additional: Restoration, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

TWA Flight Center

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

As anyone who has ever visited it will tell you, TWA Flight Center is a truly magical piece of architecture—a building that captures, in a way that words never could, the exhilaration and wonder of flight. Designed by Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962, this one-of-a-kind structure is now considered a masterpiece of Mid-century Modernism. Visit this OHNY Weekend audience favorite on Sunday, October 18, and get a glimpse of life in the glamorous Jet Age.

In 1811, the Commissioner’s Plan established Manhattan’s street grid from Houston Street (then the city’s northern edge) on up. But bombastic as this act of speculative urban planning may have been, it only went so far—155th Street, to be exact. By the 1860s, planning for the urbanization of Manhattan’s northernmost reaches began in earnest under Andrew Haswell Green’s Central Park Commission. Green extended the numbered grid, but also adapted the streets to the area’s dramatic topography, creating a unique area within Manhattan’s urban fabric, full of charming side streets (quaintly designated as “terraces”), bucolic hillside parks, and stunning vistas. During OHNY Weekend, explore this unique area to learn about a critical moment in the city’s historical development. All of these sites are Open Access during the times and dates indicated below, and do not require reservations.



Morris-Jumel Mansion

Saturday, October 17: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; Sunday, October 18: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

This stately structure has the distinction of being Manhattan’s oldest residence. Built by British military officer Roger Morris in 1765, the mansion served as the headquarters for both sides during the American Revolutionary War. Today, the mansion contains one of the few landmark interiors in the five boroughs. Visit during OHNY Weekend to see how wealthy landowners like Stephen Jumel—who bought and remodeled the mansion in 1810—lived in this area at a time before the city had made its way up into the Heights. Tours will be offered on both days.


M-NYPL Washington Heights Library_credit Vanni Archive

NYPL Washington Heights Library

Saturday, October 17: 10:30 am4:30 pm.

The Jumel heirs broke up the 115-acre estate surrounding the Morris-Jumel Mansion in 1882, as the re-mapped Heights began to develop in earnest. The area became a fine residential district, (today known as the Jumel Terrace Historic District), and in 1914 a Carnegie Library was built on the edge of the old estate. On the Saturday of OHNY Weekend, tour this Carrère & Hastings-designed structure with Dattner Architects principal Joseph Coppola to learn about the library’s renovation, completed last year just in time to mark the building’s 100th “birthday.”



Hispanic Society of North America

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 12:00 pm4:00 pm.

Named for legendary American naturalist John James Audubon (and sited on a piece of what was once Audubon’s rural estate), historic Audubon Terrace is a monumental, museum-lined plaza tucked into the Manhattan grid between 155th and 156th Streets. Philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington created this impressive City Beautiful-style complex at the height of the Heights’ development—a time when it seemed like the city’s cultural center of gravity might very well be shifting uptown. Today, the complex is anchored by the Hispanic Society of America, a stunning museum and library that will offer free tours on both days of OHNY Weekend.


Randel Map

Manhattan Borough President’s Map Display

Saturday, October 17: 10:00 am4:00 pm.

Before or after you head up to the Heights, don’t miss a very special display of the Randel Farm Maps at the Manhattan Municipal Building downtown, organized and hosted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Never before publicly exhibited in full, all 92 panels of the maps—the first that plotted the 1811 Commissioner’s Plan—will be on display during the Saturday of OHNY Weekend. Get feel for how upper Manhattan looked in the days before the grid, when country estates and forested hillsides dominated the local landscape.