News & Politics

Open House New York Is Your Chance to See NYC Behind the Scenes


Open House New York, a yearly opportunity for you to creep into the secret, often forbidden or under-acknowledged corners of the city, a/k/a, a celebration of the city’s architecture and design, is being held this year on October 15 and 16. With the support of home owners, architects, cultural institutions, volunteers, and the public, the ninth year of the event brings access to hundreds of sites, plus tours, talks, performances, and family and kids activities. Some you have to reserve and pay a nominal ($5) fee for; others (including all the family/kids events) are free.

Reservations have been going quickly since they opened to the public this morning (check @OHNY for updates on what’s no longer available), causing the site to experience a record amount of traffic and a related server slow down. OHNY tells us, “We are all both excited and humbled and would like to let you know we are working to accommodate everyone.”

The Standard, the National Sept 11 Memorial, the High Line, Grand Central Terminal, the Contemporary New York Architecture Walking Tour, and the Ghosts of Greenwich Village Scavenger Hunt are all sold out, as are some others. But Linda G. Miller, a PR consultant who’s worked with the event for the past nine years, assures us that “there’s so much good stuff!” — much of it free and not requiring a reservation.

So, what to see? “I have tons of favorites,” she told us. Among them, P.S. 90, the residential project in Harlem modernized from an old school, now home to the National Dance Institute. “Another one is the Nighthawk Cinema,” she said. “We’re giving tours of that by the architect. I think they’ve done incredible work with the warehouse and the facade.”

Some more of her picks:

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts / Public Spaces
David Rubenstein Atrium, 61 W 62nd St/ Broadway, Upper West Side

Sat 10am – 5pm. opendialogue Sat 11am, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4pm tours with design team including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (max 15).

Ca. 1960s

Lincoln Center is the world’s leading performing arts center. Located on a 16-acre campus in New York City, it is a major contributor to the City’s cultural and intellectual life, with an internationally recognized dedication to artistic excellence.
Subway 1 to 66th St-Lincoln Center.
Bus M5, M7, M10

Mercedes-Benz Manhattan
555 W 53rd St/ 11th Ave, Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton

Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm, tours at 12, 1pm (max 20).

TEN Arquitectos, Phase 1, 2011.
An S-shaped staircase of apartment and condo units and the North American flagship showroom for Mercedes-Benz, the structure’s unique shape inverts the traditional inner-court building arrangement, while the sloping form creates 27 floors of terraced apartments with un-obstructed views of the city skyline.
Subway A, C, E to 50th St.

Nolitan Hotel
30 Kenmare St/ Elizabeth St, Nolita

Sat & Sun 10am-5pm

Grzywinski+Pons, 2011

A 55-room boutique hotel, features a ground floor glass façade which integrates the hotel and the neighborhood around it, guest rooms with either private balconies or floor to ceiling windows with un-obstructing views of the skyline as well as a landscaped rooftop providing an oasis complete with shade canopies for sunny days and an outdoor fireplace for chilly nights.
Subway B, D to Grand St; J, Z to Bowery; 6 to Spring St.
Bus M1, M6, M21, M103

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave/ Berry St, Williamsburg

Sat & Sun 10am – 12pm. opendialogue tours every half hour with architect.

Caliper Architecture PC / Caliper Studio Inc, 2010.

Home to a three-screen cinema/café and bar, this recently completed mixed use building added three residential floors to an existing two-story mid-century warehouse. The building features a custom zinc panel façade with 2,000 hand cast glass disks backlit by low voltage LED lights.
Subway J, M, Z to Marcy Ave; L to Bedford Ave; G to Metropolitan Ave.
Bus B59, B62

The Visitor Center at Newtown Creek & Digester Egg Experience
329 Greenpoint Ave/ Humboldt St, Greenpoint

Sat & Sun 10am – 2:30pm, tours every half hour of digester eggs. Reservations required: (max 60). Sturdy closed-toe shoes required. No strollers permitted.

Ennead Architects, 2009.

Dominating the local skyline with its stainless steel digester “eggs,” this wastewater treatment plant is the largest of the 14 NYC Department of Environmental Protection plants. The facility is also home to a Nature Walk.
Subway G to Greenpoint Ave.

Get more information (and make reservations) at


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