clock menu more-arrow no yes
Iwan Baan

Archtober 2017: 10 best NYC buildings to tour

From 18th-century mansions to contemporary skyscrapers, these building tours are worth bookmarking

View as Map

Welcome to Archtober—the monthlong architecture and design festival that celebrates the built environment of New York City. (Full disclosure: Curbed is a media partner for the event, but we also just think it’s awesome.)

There are myriad events, tours (including ones led by Curbed NY contributors!), and workshops happening throughout the month of October, including “Building of the Day” tours. These will take visitors behind the scenes at some of the most architecturally significant structures in the city, from turn-of-the-20th-century gems to glittering skyscrapers.

Here, we’ve chosen 10 of the coolest buildings you can visit during Archtober—but be sure to check out the event calendar for all 31 featured structures (and you can find our picks for the best Archtober events here).

Read More

1. The Noguchi Museum

Copy Link
9-01 33rd Rd
Queens, NY 11106
(718) 204-7088
Visit Website

Isamu Noguchi’s eponymous museum in Long Island City was, in fact, designed by the prolific artist himself, and opened three years before his death in 1988. The Archtober tour will focus on the building’s recent restoration, carried out by Sage and Coombe Architects, which “afforded the Museum with improved accessibility, allowing it to remain open year-round, and bringing it to the rigorous standards of contemporary museums.” October 4 at noon; tickets.

Peter Aaron/Esto

2. Modulightor Building by Paul Rudolph

Copy Link
246 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-0336
Visit Website

Midcentury architect Paul Rudolph completed several buildings in Manhattan, including this steel and glass creation on East 58th Street, which The AIA Guide to New York City calls “almost musically composed.” The Archtober tour will go through the four-story building, which includes a duplex apartment and now houses the Paul Rudolph Foundation. The tour, taking place October 6 at noon, is sold out, but you can sign up for the waitlist.

Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

3. Naval Cemetery Landscape

Copy Link
1-, 63 Williamsburg St W
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects designed the Naval Cemetery Park, which opened in 2016, to pay homage to the 2,000 naval officers and Marines laid to rest at the site (the known remains have since been exhumed and moved to Cypress Hills) with its winding observation path, memorial meadow, and "sacred grove." The Archtober tour will explore the 1.7-acre park, located on the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. October 10 at noon; tickets.

4. Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House

Copy Link
1 Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004
(212) 668-2363
Visit Website

Missed out on the tour of Cass Gilbert’s iconic Woolworth Building? Then acquaint yourself with one of the early-20th-century architect’s other gorgeous New York buildings: the U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green, which was completed in 1907. It now houses the NYC outpost of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; one of its guides will lead a tour of the building’s spectacular spaces, including an enormous skylight designed by Rafael Guastavino. October 12 at noon; tickets.

David Sundberg/Esto

5. Richmond County Supreme Court

Copy Link
26 Central Ave
Staten Island, NY 10301
(718) 675-8700
Visit Website

Staten Island has gotten some architecturally noteworthy buildings in recent years, including the Staten Island Courthouse in St. George, designed by Ennead Architects and opened in 2015. It’s a quite contemporary building, clad in glass (intended to symbolize transparency) and with four copper structures that the architects call “towers of justice.” October 18 at 2:30 p.m.; tickets.

Jeff Goldberg/Esto

6. Carroll House by LOT-EK

Copy Link
2 Monitor St
Brooklyn, NY 11222

One of Brooklyn’s most unusual single-family homes is this Williamsburg house, designed by LOT-EK, that’s made up of 21 steel shipping containers. They were stacked together, then cut on a diagonal to, per the architects, “creat[e] a striking profile that invokes Williamsburg's industrial past, while providing a sculptural nod to the rapidly changing neighborhood.” See it for yourself during Archtober, if you’re lucky—the tour on October 19 at noon is sold out, but there’s a wait list available.

Danny Bright

7. George Washington Bridge Bus Station

Copy Link
(973) 275-5555
Visit Website

Yes, we’re recommending you check out a bus terminal as an architecturally significant site—the original station was designed by Pier Luigi Nervi, and it recently got a facelift courtesy of STV and the Port Authority’s architectural unit. The Archtober tour will take participants through the revamped station, including its “passenger pavilion providing passengers direct views of the George Washington Bridge from one side.” October 23 at noon; tickets.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

8. Bronx River House

Copy Link
1490 Sheridan Expy
Bronx, NY 10459

The new HQ for the Bronx River Alliance was a decade in the making, but the building—called the Bronx River House, and designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects—finally debuted earlier this year. The structure has a number of eco-friendly touches, including a living wall covered in vines and moss, a rainwater irrigation system, and solar panels on the roof. October 25 at noon; tickets.

Kiss + Cathcart, Architects and Starr Whitehouse

9. Morris-Jumel Mansion

Copy Link
65 Jumel Terrace
New York, NY 10032
(212) 923-8008
Visit Website

Take a break from all the contemporary architecture and spend an afternoon at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest still-standing building in Manhattan. The structure has a storied history—George Washington slept there, Aaron Burr lived there, and it became a museum 113 years ago. The Archtober tour will offer a fascinating peek inside one of the city’s best-preserved historic houses. October 28 at 3:30 p.m.; tickets.

Trish Mayo

10. Cornell Tech

Copy Link
2 W Loop Rd
New York, NY 10044
(646) 971-3700
Visit Website

Alas, the new Cornell Tech campus tour is also sold out. But it’s worth getting a spot on the waitlist to check out the sustainable buildings—designed by Weiss/Manfredi, Morphosis, and Handel Architects—and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on how they came together. October 30 at noon; wait list.

1. The Noguchi Museum

9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106
Peter Aaron/Esto

Isamu Noguchi’s eponymous museum in Long Island City was, in fact, designed by the prolific artist himself, and opened three years before his death in 1988. The Archtober tour will focus on the building’s recent restoration, carried out by Sage and Coombe Architects, which “afforded the Museum with improved accessibility, allowing it to remain open year-round, and bringing it to the rigorous standards of contemporary museums.” October 4 at noon; tickets.

9-01 33rd Rd
Queens, NY 11106

2. Modulightor Building by Paul Rudolph

246 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Midcentury architect Paul Rudolph completed several buildings in Manhattan, including this steel and glass creation on East 58th Street, which The AIA Guide to New York City calls “almost musically composed.” The Archtober tour will go through the four-story building, which includes a duplex apartment and now houses the Paul Rudolph Foundation. The tour, taking place October 6 at noon, is sold out, but you can sign up for the waitlist.

246 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022

3. Naval Cemetery Landscape

1-, 63 Williamsburg St W, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects designed the Naval Cemetery Park, which opened in 2016, to pay homage to the 2,000 naval officers and Marines laid to rest at the site (the known remains have since been exhumed and moved to Cypress Hills) with its winding observation path, memorial meadow, and "sacred grove." The Archtober tour will explore the 1.7-acre park, located on the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. October 10 at noon; tickets.

1-, 63 Williamsburg St W
Brooklyn, NY 11249

4. Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House

1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
David Sundberg/Esto

Missed out on the tour of Cass Gilbert’s iconic Woolworth Building? Then acquaint yourself with one of the early-20th-century architect’s other gorgeous New York buildings: the U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green, which was completed in 1907. It now houses the NYC outpost of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; one of its guides will lead a tour of the building’s spectacular spaces, including an enormous skylight designed by Rafael Guastavino. October 12 at noon; tickets.

1 Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004

5. Richmond County Supreme Court

26 Central Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301
Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Staten Island has gotten some architecturally noteworthy buildings in recent years, including the Staten Island Courthouse in St. George, designed by Ennead Architects and opened in 2015. It’s a quite contemporary building, clad in glass (intended to symbolize transparency) and with four copper structures that the architects call “towers of justice.” October 18 at 2:30 p.m.; tickets.

26 Central Ave
Staten Island, NY 10301

6. Carroll House by LOT-EK

2 Monitor St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Danny Bright

One of Brooklyn’s most unusual single-family homes is this Williamsburg house, designed by LOT-EK, that’s made up of 21 steel shipping containers. They were stacked together, then cut on a diagonal to, per the architects, “creat[e] a striking profile that invokes Williamsburg's industrial past, while providing a sculptural nod to the rapidly changing neighborhood.” See it for yourself during Archtober, if you’re lucky—the tour on October 19 at noon is sold out, but there’s a wait list available.

2 Monitor St
Brooklyn, NY 11222

7. George Washington Bridge Bus Station

New York, NY 10033
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Yes, we’re recommending you check out a bus terminal as an architecturally significant site—the original station was designed by Pier Luigi Nervi, and it recently got a facelift courtesy of STV and the Port Authority’s architectural unit. The Archtober tour will take participants through the revamped station, including its “passenger pavilion providing passengers direct views of the George Washington Bridge from one side.” October 23 at noon; tickets.

8. Bronx River House

1490 Sheridan Expy, Bronx, NY 10459
Kiss + Cathcart, Architects and Starr Whitehouse

The new HQ for the Bronx River Alliance was a decade in the making, but the building—called the Bronx River House, and designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects—finally debuted earlier this year. The structure has a number of eco-friendly touches, including a living wall covered in vines and moss, a rainwater irrigation system, and solar panels on the roof. October 25 at noon; tickets.

1490 Sheridan Expy
Bronx, NY 10459

9. Morris-Jumel Mansion

65 Jumel Terrace, New York, NY 10032
Trish Mayo

Take a break from all the contemporary architecture and spend an afternoon at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest still-standing building in Manhattan. The structure has a storied history—George Washington slept there, Aaron Burr lived there, and it became a museum 113 years ago. The Archtober tour will offer a fascinating peek inside one of the city’s best-preserved historic houses. October 28 at 3:30 p.m.; tickets.

65 Jumel Terrace
New York, NY 10032

10. Cornell Tech

2 W Loop Rd, New York, NY 10044

Alas, the new Cornell Tech campus tour is also sold out. But it’s worth getting a spot on the waitlist to check out the sustainable buildings—designed by Weiss/Manfredi, Morphosis, and Handel Architects—and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on how they came together. October 30 at noon; wait list.

2 W Loop Rd
New York, NY 10044