Photo courtesy NYPL
The 2018 Open House New York (OHNY) Weekend will be quickly upon us this weekend, October 12-14. About 134 of the 277 participating sites this year are reservation only, which leaves over 140 open-access sites that can be visited without tickets. Two lucky winners of our VIP Badge Giveaway will be to cutting the line at any of these open access sites.
There are some great Open House New York sites to check out this year, and we’ve picked ten we don’t think you should miss!
1. Step Inside The Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument
The Prison Ship Marty’s Monument in Fort Greene Park is rarely opened up to the public but on Saturday, you can step into the base of the Stanford White-designed memorial and look up. The monument was built in 1908. Your guides, the Urban Park Rangers, will share stories of Fort Greene Park’s history, the Revolutionary War, and tales of those who perished. You can see a previous photograph inside the monument, in our guide to the Secrets of Fort Greene Park.
The Prison Ship Martry’s Monument will be open from 11 to 3 PM on Saturday, October 13th.
2. Jefferson Market Library Clocktower
Photo courtesy NYPL
The Jefferson Market Library Clocktower climb has been one of the unforgettable experiences we offer to our Untapped Cities Insiders members, and it is also open every year for Open House New York. In 1967 this Venetian Gothic landmark, designed by Frederick Clarke Withers and Calvert Vaux in 1877, was converted from a courthouse into a much loved branch of the New York Public Library. Climb the 149 steps to the top of the library’s tower and enjoy 360-degree views of Greenwich Village.
The Jefferson Market Library Clocktower Climb will be on Sunday, October 14th from 12 to 4 PM. Long lines are expected; visitors must arrive by 3pm for admittance.
3. The Montauk Club
In opulent late 19th-century Brooklyn, clubs – both men’s and women’s – sprang to life by the dozen: the Hamilton, the Crescent, the Union League, the Unity, the Germania, the Brooklyn, the Carlton, among many others. Park Slope had begun to rival Brooklyn Heights as the borough’s prime residential area. The 1890 Census Bureau reported that Park Slope had the highest per capita income in the country and its residents were the leaders of Brooklyn society.
And so it is not surprising that a group of 25 men met one day in 1888 in the home of Norton Q. Pope at 241 Park Place to form the Montauk Club. On March 11, 1889, the State of New York issued a Certificate of Incorporation. Within weeks, the new club had drawn some 300 subscribers, making it necessary to lease the brownstone at 34 Eighth Avenue temporarily while they awaited completion of their new clubhouse.
To build their new home one of New York’s finest architects was chosen: Francis H. Kimball. Kimball had just completed the Corbin Building (still standing today on the corner of Broadway and John Street), and had earlier completed two exquisite churches, also still standing (Emmanuel Baptist Church, Lafayette Ave. and St. James Place, Brooklyn 1887, and Riverside Presbyterian Church, near Spuyten Dyvil, 1888) and was to go on to design the two huge buildings just north of Trinity Church in Manhattan, the Trinity and U.S. Realty Buildings on Broadway.
Tours will happen every 30 minutes from 12 to 4 PM on Sunday, October 14th.
4. Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn
Photo by Pavel Bendov courtesy Open House New York
Joining the historic landmarked Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn, a new residential tower at 9 DeKalb will rise 1,066 feet in height to be the tallest tower in Brooklyn upon completion. Tour the historic banking hall and get a sneak peak at the 73-story, glass and bronze tower being designed by SHoP Architects and developed by JDS Development Group. With its interlocking hexagonal design and rich materiality of bronze and glass, the tower repeats features and patterns of the historic site into a cinematic expression of the rich past and future of Brooklyn.
The Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn will be open from 12 to 4 PM on Saturday, October 13th.
5. Kingsland Wildflower Greenroof
Kingsland Wildflowers is a Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) project committed to expanding natural habitat and green corridors for bird and wildlife populations. The vision, conceived through partnerships with local businesses, community voices and wildlife experts, is providing Greenpoint with living and growing infrastructure to support native New York City wildlife and educational programming focused on sustainable conservation practices and habitat protection.
Kingsland Wildflowers is a 22,000 square foot green roof which sits atop an active movie studio owned and operated by Broadway Stages, in the most sci-fi and industrial section of North Brooklyn alongside EPA Superfund site, Newtown Creek. Its non-profit and community partners are NYC Audubon and Newtown Creek Alliance. It is an educational and science-focused green roof fostering ecology, sustainability and community.
Kingsland Wildflower will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM Saturday, October 13th and from 12 to 4 PM on Sunday, October 14th.
5. Bronx Community College (Multiple Sites)
Gould Memorial Library at Bronx Community College. Image courtesy Open House New York by Jessica Bruah
The Bronx Community College will have several sites open – the North Hall and Library, the Gould Memorial Library and Hall of Fame for Great Americans (all designed by Stanford White), and the Marcel Breuer buildings, which was part of a campus renovation from 1959 to 1970 . On normal days, the Hall of Fame is accessible to the public, but it can be difficult to access the other buildings without a student or faculty ID so take this opportunity during Open House New York!
6. Westbeth Artists Housing
Westbeth is the largest artist community in the US, if not the world. It was conceived in the 1960s as a partial solution to the acute need to provide affordable housing and studios for artists and their families. In so doing, it became one of the first examples of adaptive reuse of industrial buildings for artistic and residential use in the United States. Located in New York City in Manhattan’s Far West Village, it is a complex of 13 buildings which were formerly the site of Bell Laboratories (1868-1966), one of the world’s most important research centers. It was here that the first talking movie, the condenser microphone, the first TV broadcast, and the first binary computer were demonstrated.
With innovative funding from the J. M. Kaplan Foundation, and Roger Stevens of the National Endowment for the Arts, Westbeth became an ambitious renovation project designed to create 384 live-work spaces for artists of all disciplines and their families under the direction of developer Dixon Bain. Westbeth opened in 1970. It was added to the National Registrar of Historic Places on Dec 8, 2009. Subsequently, the New York State Historic Preservation Board nominated it to be on the State Registrar of Historic Places. In 2011 the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously designated Westbeth Artists Housing a New York City landmark.
Tours led by Westbeth residents will take place every 30 minutes from 12 to 5 PM on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14.
7. Ukrainian Institute of America
The Ukrainian Institute of America, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. It serves both as a center for the Ukrainian-American community and as America’s “Window on Ukraine,” hosting art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, poetry readings, literary evenings, children’s programs, lectures, symposia, and full educational programs, all open to the public.
The site will be open from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, October 13 and from 12 PM to 5 PM on Sunday, October 14th. Tours with UIA’s Jasper Sta Ana will take place on Saturday at 10:30, 11:30am, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30pm.
8. New York Marble Cemetery
One of only two non-sectarian burial grounds in Manhattan, the historic New York Marble Cemetery contains 258 underground burial vaults and has seen the funerals of many distinguished citizens, including President James Monroe and the founders of many city institutions.
The New York Marble Cemetery will be open 12 to 6 PM on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14.
9. Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
The Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility (MRF), operated by Sims Municipal Recycling, is the principal processing center for more than 20,000 tons per month of metal, glass, and plastic recyclables collected by the NYC Department of Sanitation. If you live in the five boroughs and recycle, odds are this facility is where your discards come to be sorted before being shipped out as raw commodities for manufacturing.
Located on an 11-acre waterfront pier, this recycling center has received widespread praise and multiple awards for its design by Selldorf Architects since opening in 2013. Made almost entirely from recycled steel, the facility is built with the public in mind and features an Education Center with interactive exhibits and a viewing platform that allows visitors to see the vast processing system at work, featuring more than $25 million in state-of-the-art equipment.
Spend time on the spacious patio to see the lush stormwater-capturing bioswales, native plantings, and stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. Featuring barge transport, advanced optical sorting cameras, and NYC’s first commercial-scale wind turbine, this site boasts the most modern and sophisticated recycling facility in the US.
The Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility will be open from 2 to 6 PM on Saturday, October 13th.
10. Alice Austen House
Photo courtesy Alice Austen House by Floto + Warner, Clear Comfort, 2015, © Floto + Warner
Also another site visited by Untapped Cities Insiders, Clear Comfort, a charming waterfront Victorian Gothic Cottage, serves as the Alice Austen House museum. Located in a lovely park on the shore of Staten Island near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge with sweeping views of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, the museum is dedicated to the life and work of Alice Austen. The home dates back to a circa 1700 one-room Dutch farmhouse. In 1844 John Haggerty Austen, Alice Austen’s grandfather, purchased the home and made many of the renovations that gave the home its Victorian Gothic character.
Alice Austen herself moved there as a young girl in the late 1860s with her mother, Alice Cornell Austen, after the two were abandoned by Alice’s father. In 1917, Gertrude Tate moved in, and the two lived together until financial problems forced them to move in 1945. When they left, the house fell into disrepair until a group of concerned citizens saved it from demolition in the 1960s. The museum comprises of three period rooms, including Alice Austen’s recently renovated darkroom, photography galleries, and library.
The Alice Austen House will be open 11 to 5 PM on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14.
Next, check out 10 Must-Visit Reservation Only Sites in 2018.
Text for this article adapted from the Open House New York website.