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October is a big month for New York City building nerds. Not only is it Architecture and Design month, or “Archtober," it’s also when Open House New York happens. The three-day, mostly free event, invites people to tour spaces, many of which are not typically open to the public. You can visit historic homes and newly built luxury condo buildings, as well as more off-beat destinations, like rooftop farms, manufacturing sites, even waste processing facilities, if you're curious.
This year, Open House New York Weekend is October 18-20. With nearly 300 sites, there's a lot to see, and you can peruse the options here. Some locations require reservations, with a $5 ticket fee, and spots do fill up fast. How fast? In 2018, more than 12,000 reservation slots went live on reservation day, and 10,000 were booked within the first hour. Locations can literally book up in seconds. As organizers say: “What Beyonce is to concerts or Hamilton is to Broadway musicals, OHNY Weekend is to buildings.”
So if something interests you and it requires a reservation, mark your calendar for 11 a.m. on October 8, when booking opens, and cross your fingers.
That said, many of OHNY’s sites are open on a walk-in basis, and are completely free. Lines can form at popular sites, and OHNY will note this in listings, as well as any details about accessibility or restrictions on children attending.
Here are the Open House New York spots where you can get a peek inside other people’s homes and scratch your voyeuristic (or just design-curious) itch. These are places that you would not normally be able to traipse around. Note: Many of the historic house participating in OHNY are museums that are open to the public year-round.
Want to see what "luxurious modernity" looks like? Designed by Workshop/APD and located in the West Village, 111 Leroy is a luxury development with nine condominiums and five single-family townhomes. (A four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath apartment is in contract for $9,750,000.) Reservations required. Note: No kids allowed at this tour.
Check out a work in progress at a famous address. Originally built in 1925, this unique townhouse in the West Village is undergoing a transformation as owner and architect Adam Kushner works to create an “idealized urban home” for his family.
You get a tour and and an art show here: New York York City landmark, former site of Bell Laboratories, and pioneer in adaptive reuse, Westbeth Artists Housing is the largest artist community in the U.S., and perhaps the world. Opened in 1970, it offered affordable housing to the city’s artists, and continues to do so. Resident artists will be exhibiting work during Open House New York.
See what it’s like to live at the very top of Central Park with a behind-the-scenes tour of 145 Central Park North. The tour of the glass and bronze Harlem building will be led by members of GLUCK+, the firm responsible for its architecture and construction. Closed-toe and flat heeled shoes only; no kids permitted.
Like to see how modern co-exists with historic? Check out the contemporary interiors in the restored and preserved turn-of-the-century limestone building, as designed by DXA Studio. The Upper West Side complex includes 38 apartments as well as private and shared garden spaces.
Got a thing for silhouettes from the first part of the 20th century? This tour is presented by the Art Deco Society of New York. This 6,500-square-foot former church is decorated by its current residents with a vast collection of Art Deco, Mid-Century, and Danish Modern pieces, including furniture, decorative arts, and artwork. Additionally, you’ll find over one thousand historic pieces of Black and African Americana art from the Art Deco and mid-century periods. Reservations required.
See what it’s like to live in a park that’s an international destination. One John Street is an award-winning residential building in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The 130,000-square-foot, mixed-use building is LEED Gold Certified, with city and river views, and is constructed to abate the noise from the trains and cars passing by on nearby Manhattan Bridge. Reservations required.
A 44-Unit Affordable and Supportive Housing building for individuals with psychiatric disabilities and those with low incomes, this development was designed by Amie Gross Architects. The building features art throughout, as well as community spaces such as a library, skyroom, and a lush garden, and is held up as an example of how architecture, art and artisanship can foster equity in underserved communities. Reservations required.
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