Render © CetraRuddy

Set your alarms and get your fingers ready! Reservation Day for Open House New York’s Reservation-only sites is Tuesday, October 8th. At 11am on that day, tickets will be available for access to exciting New York City locales like the UN Headquarters, The Whitney Studio, Grand Central Terminal and more. At exactly 11:00AM, a link to purchase tickets will be revealed on each site’s page. Since there are more than 270 sites available to explore this OHNY weekend, it is best to go in with a plan. We have whittled down the list to ten of our favorites in the reservation-only category (stay tuned for our upcoming guide to the open access sites)! Check out our picks and read up on Open House New York’s Reservation Day Tips to make sure you are ready for October 8th!

1. DSNY Manhattan 11 Garage Treasures in the Trash

The “Treasures in the Trash” collection is one of New York City’s most unique archives. The collection was curated by Nelson Molina, a sanitation worker who has collected found items over the course of a 34-year career with the NYC Department of Sanitation. Today, the collection is comprised of over 40,000 items.

Housed on the second floor of Manhattan 11, an active sanitation garage servicing East Harlem, Molina’s collection shows that there are alternatives to waste, and gives an opportunity to pause and consider our own consumption habits. The collection will be open for tours on Saturday, October 19th at 10:00AM to 11:30AM, 12:00PM to 1:30PM and 2:00PM to 3:30PM. Book here when registration opens!

2. Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle, which was closed to the public for more than a year for an extensive restoration project by the Central Park Conservancy, will be an Open Access Site this year, but there will also be a special night time event that requires reservations. The after-dark tours will be led by Michael Hennes of Cline Betteridge Bernstein Lighting Design (CBBLD), the company that created the castle’s innovative new LED lighting system.

Hennes will guide visitors from the plaza to the castle’s various terrace levels to see the views and renovated exterior. Guests will learn about the 15-month long renovation process and the new lighting system which makes the castle look magnificent in the dark. At the end of the tour, you will get to see the castle lit up like never before as you walk around the perimeter to view the floodlighting and step back onto the Great Lawn for an amazing view. These tours will run on Saturday, October 19th at 6:00PM to 6:45PM, 6:45PM to 7:30PM and 7:30PM to 8:15PM. Book here when registration opens!

3. Javits Green Roof

The Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side is considered the busiest convention center in the United States, and after a five-year renovation which included a plethora of sustainable upgrades, it is now one of the most green. One of the most important upgrades made to the center is the addition of a 6.75-acre green roof. Combined with a new energy conservation program, the center has reduced consumption by 26%. The Javits Center also installed more than 6,000 bird friendly glass panels and is home to 29 bird species, five bat species and five bee hives.

In the future, the center’s roof will also have a rooftop farm and the City’s largest rooftop solar array. On an Open House New York tour on Saturday, October 19th at 10:00AM to 11:00AM, guests will learn about the Javits Center’s sustainability practices and even get to see the bees. Book here when registration opens!

4. 5th Avenue Presbyterian Clocktower

The 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church predates the nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Plaza Hotel. Designed by Carl Pfeiffer and completed in 1875, the Victorian Gothic church seats 1,800-seat people in a sanctuary where there are no right angles. The space is decorated with extensive, hand-carved woodwork by Kimbel & Cabus of New York, original stained glass windows by John C. Spence of Montreal that pre-date the Tiffany period, and a six-story ceiling.

On these Open House New York tours, visitors will get to see the sanctuary attic and historic clock tower. Guests will be escorted six stories above the main floor to get an up-close view of the church’s distinctive, “building within a building” architecture. From the attic, visitors will climb into the clock tower, where the original, 19th-century clockworks are still in use. This is one of only two tower clocks by Boston’s E. Howard & Co. still in operation in New York City. Tours run Saturday, October 19th at 1:00PM to 1:45PM and 2:30PM to 3:15PM and Sunday, October 20th. Book here when registration opens!

5. Fotografiska NYC

Render © CetraRuddy

Fotografiska NYC is an exciting adaptive reuse project. The multi-concept cultural venue designed by CetraRuddy has transformed 281 Park Avenue South, a six-story landmarked building in the Flatiron District which was originally constructed in 1894 as the Church Missions House. The design for the space respects the historic bones of the structure while supporting the global vision of Fotografiska as a world leader in exhibiting photography.

The building has been thoughtfully reconfigured to include a ground floor retail space and café that transforms into a bar at night, a restaurant, exhibition spaces and a 6th floor event space. Open House New York tours of the new venue will run on Saturday, October 19th at 9:00AM to 9:40AM, 10:00AM to 10:40AM and 11:00AM to 11:40AM. Book here when registration opens!

6. Floyd Bennett Field Control Tower

Floyd Bennet Field is a remnant of the Golden Age of Aviation. During Open House New York Weekend, visitors can relive those days with a visit to Floyd Bennett Field’s Ryan Visitor Center, now part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area. The Ryan Visitor Center once served as the glamorous terminal for the airport which opened as New York City’s first municipal airport in 1931. The large brick building, which once boasted amenities like a restaurant, barbershop, newsstand, and a cocktail bar with views looking out over the airport’s runways, is now a museum which tells the story of Floyd Bennett Field.

The tour begins in the museum where guests will learn about the history of the airfield and the famous aviators, like Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes, who came through. Guests will also get to peek into the tunnels underneath the runways where airport staff transported travelers’ luggage to their planes, a space not generally open to the public. The experience ends in the restored control tower, also not generally open to the public, offering panoramic views of Jamaica Bay and the airport’s runways and grasslands. After the tour, take a self-guided walking tour of the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project, where expert volunteers work on Gateway’s collection of historic aircraft.  Tours will be available on Sunday, October 20th at 10:00AM to 11:30AM, 12:00PM to 1:30PM and 2:00PM to 3:30PM. Book here when registration opens!

7. Vertical Tour of St. John Divine

Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Photo by Kripaks via Wikipedia

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is another location that will hosts both Open Access tours and tours that required reservations. The reserved tours are vertical tours that will take guests to the top of the world’s largest Cathedral. The Cathedral serves as an active house of worship, arts, cultural, and civic center with Byzantine, Romanesque, and neo-Gothic architecture. The church sits on a 12-acre Close with gardens, other historic buildings and resident peacocks.

The vertical tour of the Cathedral is a behind-the-scenes adventure that will take guests 124-feet up through spiral staircases for a sweeping view of Manhattan. While standing on a buttress, participants will learn stories of the stained glass windows, sculptures, and grand architecture of the Cathedral. Vertical tours will run on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 11:00AM to 12:00PM, 12:00PM to 1:00PM, 1:00PM to 2:00PM, and 2:00PM to 3:00PM. Book here when registration opens!

8. DSNY M 1/2/5 Garage and Salt Shed

The Department of Sanitation Salt Shed which sits at the intersection of Canal Street and West Street is an award winning structure. Designed by WXY and Dattner Architects, the 70-foot tall shed that sits along the Hudson River was apparently  inspired by the shape of grains of salt. The structure can hold structure houses 5,000 tons of salt!

The Salt Shed’s crystalline form sits adjacent to the Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage. Open House New York visitors can explore both structures with representatives from its two design firms on Sunday, October 20th at12:00PM to 1:00PM, 12:30PM to 1:30PM, 1:00PM to 2:00PM, 1:30PM to 2:30PM and 2:00PM to 3:00PM. Book here when registration opens!

9. Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility

The shining, silver egg-like structures that loom over Newtown Creek are part of the largest wastewater treatment plant in New York City. On this Open House New York Tour, visitors will get to go on top of the Digester Eggs. The site, which remained fully operational during its expansion and renovation led by Ennead architects, has been honored by the New York City Art Commissioner with for addressing the challenge of locating and expanding a large-scale industrial project within a residential neighborhood.

Expansion included the Newtown Creek Waterfront Nature Walk, providing the first public access to the Newtown Creek waterfront in decades, and the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, an indoor destination where school groups and the public can learn how the city’s sewer system works and about the watershed that provides New York City’s celebrated drinking water. The plant’s most dramatic element is its eight futuristic, stainless steel-clad digester eggs visible by day and night from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Tours will run on Saturday, October 19th at 11:00AM to 12:30PM, 1:00PM to 2:30PM and 3:00PM to 4:30PM. Book here when registration opens!

10. Academy of Medicine

The collections of the New York Academy of Medicine date back to the Middle Ages and contain rare and obscure treasures from rare books, to George Washington’s dentures. On this Open House New York tour, visitors will get to go inside the neo-Romanesque building constructed between 1925 to 1926 to see the lobby, auditorium, main reading room, and the Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room.

Built as a new home for The New York Academy of Medicine which was founded in 1847, the building reflects the orgniazation’s mission of advancing medical science and promoting health in New York City. Its limestone facade is emblazoned with Latin inscriptions on health and medicine and the figures of Aesculapius and Hygeia. The interior features fanciful figures of plants and animals central to medicine, as well as a Renaissance tapestry. Tours will run on Sunday, October 20th at 12:00PM to 12:45PM, 1:00PM to 1:45PM, 2:00PM to 2:45PM, and 3:00PM to 3:45PM. Book here when registration opens!

Look out for our upcoming post of must-visit Open Access Sites, and enter our giveaway for your chance to win a free VIP Passport which will allow you to get to the front of the line at Open-Access Sites!

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