Weekend Highlight

Looking to escape from the hustle and bustle for a day? Book a car through ReachNow and head over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for a daycation on Staten Island, the most bucolic of New York City’s five boroughs! It may lack palm trees, but this island has more than enough serene spots and architectural wonders to make you feel as if you’re worlds away from the rest of the city. To maximize your “island getaway” experience, we’ve put together an itinerary featuring sea breezes, quiet retreats, and local brews (don’t forget to draw straws for designated driver in advance).


11am: Battery Weed

No island getaway is complete without a visit to an historic fort! Right at the foot of the Verrazanno-Narrows Bridge on the Staten Island side, you’ll find one of the city’s most striking ruins. On the 11am tour, National Park Service rangers will take you and your friends through Battery Weed, where you’ll learn all about the network of forts that defended New York harbor for centuries. (Saturday only!)


12pm: Alice Austen House

After the fort, head up the shore to the neighborhood of Rosebank, where you can tour the historic home of trailblazing photographer Alice Austen. Relax on Austen’s Victorian Gothic porch, then take a stroll around the picturesque grounds and do some daydreaming about what it’d be like to have your own country estate with a trillion-dollar view of the Manhattan skyline in the misty distance.


1pm: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto

We know a thing or two about New York’s hidden gems, so believe us when we say that there’s nothing in the city quite like this hidden grotto. Tucked away in the middle of a block a short walk from the Alice Austen House, this remarkable work of communal folk art has been built and expanded in stages for almost a century using local materials. Pop in and speak with the caretakers; it’s a site you won’t soon forget.


2pm: Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Next, head toward the center of the island, where you’ll find a museum built to resemble a Himalayan monastery. Marchais designed her museum to create a “retreat-like setting”—perfect for island-getaway-style enjoyment. Meditation Expert Jackie Hawken will give a talk at 2pm, while the kids can make their own prayer flags!



4pm: Flagship Brewing Company

If you’re feeling thirsty after a full day of exploration, head up to the Flagship Brewing Company and catch the 4pm brewery tour, then kick back in their on-site Tasting Room with some locally brewed drinks! What better way to end your relaxing island getaway?


About ReachNow
Open House New York is partnering with ReachNow to give you the easiest way to reach all your OHNY Weekend destinations. Based in Brooklyn, ReachNow has over 250 MINI and BMW vehicles available to rent by the minute, by the hour, or by the day! Make the most of your OHNY Weekend with ReachNow. Sign up with OHNY for $15 in driving credit, free. Download the app (iOS or Android) and enter OHNY17NOW in the promos section.

Open House New York invites you to kick off the 15th Anniversary Open House New York Weekend Launch Party and celebrate the start of New York’s favorite weekend of architecture and design. A 15th anniversary celebration needs an especially festive location, which is why Open House New York is taking over Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park for the night on Thursday, October 12, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm, for an evening of drinks, light fare and unlimited free carousel rides.

Jane’s Carousel was built in the heyday of the American carousels in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for Idora Park, a theme park in Youngstown, Ohio. The carousel is composed of 48 carved horses arrayed in three rows, with thirty “jumpers,” eighteen “standers,” and two chariots, attributed to John Zalar and Frank Carretta, among the most well known carousel carvers of their day. Following the park’s closure in 1984, the carousel was put up for auction, with the expectation that it would be broken up and sold as individual pieces. But Jane and David Walentas purchased the entire carousel as the centerpiece of a 1980s proposal for a marina and shopping complex in Brooklyn, which later evolved into what is now Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Following a painstaking restoration by Jane Walentas that returned every component to its original glory, the carousel opened in Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2011 in a transparent jewel box designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. “The waterfront site was very spectacular,” Jane Walentas was quoted saying in an article about the opening of the carousel pavilion in The New York Times. “I felt we needed something very exciting and elegant,” and “we just couldn’t do a typical nostalgic carousel building of the amusement park genre.” The Paris-based Nouvel–who also designed 40 Mercer in Soho, 100 Eleventh Avenue in Chelsea, and 53 West 53rd Street (otherwise known as the MoMA tower, now under construction in Midtown)–designed a 72’ x 72’ x 27’ box that sits on a 6’ high concrete cellar to raise the carousel above the floodline. Sheathed in 4 1/2 inch thick acrylic panels, the North and South walls slide open to frame dramatic views of the East River and Lower Manhattan, and allow for unimpeded access to the promenade and the park. At night, the pavilion glows like a lantern to light this section of the park.

Jane’s Carousel is emblematic of the transformation of the Brooklyn waterfront in the fifteen years since the first OHNY Weekend took place, an area once lined with decaying piers that has been reinvented as a vibrant public space for the 21st century.

Join us at the 15th anniversary OHNY Weekend Launch Party to help keep the majority of Weekend programming entirely free of charge for more than 80,000 visitors and 1,200 volunteers! To learn more about the Launch Party and purchase tickets today, click here


Photos of Jane’s Carousel by Julienne Schaer. 

Though New York’s energy is one of its greatest strengths, it is important to have places in the city that offer relief from the stresses and anxieties of contemporary life. During this year’s OHNY Weekend, Open House New York has curated a group of sites across the five boroughs that provide some serenity and respite from the chaos of the city, places where you can pause, rest, and gather your thoughts.

All sites are Open Access, and may be visited during the days and hours listed in this guide. Full tour descriptions and information about how to visit these sites will be available on October 4.


Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
Financial District, Manhattan

Alice Austen House
Rosebank, Staten Island

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
Pelham Bay Park, Bronx

The Evergreens Cemetery
Bushwick, Brooklyn

General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen
Midtown, Manhattan

Gould Memorial Library& Hall of Fame for Great Americans
University Heights, Bronx

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Lighthouse Hill, Staten Island

Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
Upper East Side, Manhattan

New York Marble Cemetery
East Village, Manhattan

The Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Socrates Sculpture Park
Astoria, Queens

Images: Alice Austen House, Floto and Warner; Jacques Marchais Museum, courtesy of site. 

This year, families will find special kid-friendly architectural programming at sites across all five boroughs. All OHNY Kids programs are Open Access and free of charge. The sites listed on this page will offer special tours, crafts, and fun activities geared specifically toward families with children.


Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
Pelham Bay Park, Bronx

Blue School
Seaport, Manhattan

Brooklyn Grange
Long Island City, Queens

Cast Hall at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art
Midtown, Manhattan

Center for Architecture
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Church of the Transfiguration
Flatiron District, Manhattan

Federal Hall National Memorial
Financial District, Manhattan

Free Synagogue of Flushing
Flushing, Queens

GallopNYC Sunrise Stables
Ozone Park, Queens

Historic Ship MARY A. WHALEN
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Lighthouse Hill, Staten Island

King Manor Museum
Jamaica, Queens

Little Red Lighthouse
Washington Heights, Manhattan

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
Upper East Side, Manhattan

Museum at Eldridge Street
Lower East Side, Manhattan

Old Stone House & Washington Park
Gowanus/Park Slope, Brooklyn

Queens Museum
Flushing Meadows, Queens

US Coast Guard Cutter LILAC
Tribeca, Manhattan

Welling Court Mural Project
Astoria, Queens


The growth of Open House New York Weekend over the past decade and a half has roughly paralleled that of a city initiative that has had an extraordinary impact on the quality of civic architecture in New York: the Design + Construction Excellence program of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC). DDC is the city agency responsible for building many of the municipal facilities that New Yorkers use every day: buildings and interiors such as libraries, museums, and senior centers, as well as courthouses, fire stations, and even roadways and sewers.

With the creation of the Design + Construction Excellence (DCE) program in 2004, the city reasserted its commitment to giving New Yorkers public buildings worthy of the greatest city in the world. Working with some of New York’s best architects and designers, DCE has invested in design to elevate not just how a building looks, but the durability of its materials, the way it functions, and most importantly, how it enriches the lives of the New Yorkers who use it. It is in part because of DCE that New York City is now considered among the leading centers of architecture in the world.

Working in partnership with DDC, Open House New York is proud to open a small selection of the hundreds of projects that have been built through DCE, as a way to recognize and celebrate the importance of the civic realm to shaping the day-to-day lives of all New Yorkers. Some Civic Excellence sites will have Open Access hours and may be visited free-of-charge on a drop-in basis; others require Advance Reservations. Full tour descriptions and information about how to visit these sites will be available on October 4.


Celebrating Civic Excellence Sites

Brooklyn Historical Society
Christoff : Finio Architecture

Elmhurst Library
Marpillero Pollak Architects

Kew Gardens Hills Library
Work Architecture Company (WORKac)

M1/2/5 Sanitation Garage & Salt Shed
Dattner Architects and WXY architecture + urban design

New York Hall of Science
Ennead Architects

Noguchi Museum
Sage and Coombe Architects

Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex
Sage and Coombe Architects

The Public Theater
Ennead Architects

Queens Museum

Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
Selldorf Architects

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Marble Fairbanks

Staten Island Ferry Terminal + Peter Minuit Plaza
Frederic Schwartz Architects

Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype
Garrison Architects

West 215th Step Street
WXY architecture + urban design


Images: Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility by Nikolas Koenig courtesy of Selldorf Architects; Public Theater courtesy of Ennead Architects;Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex by Paul Warchol; Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype by Andrew Rugge / Archphoto; New York Hall of Science courtesy of the site; West 215th Step Street by Albert Vecerka/ESTO;The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture courtesy of Marble Fairbanks; and Noguchi Museum by Nick Knight.