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Via 57 West, one of the sites open during OHNY 2016
Via 57 West, one of the sites open during OHNY 2016
Iwan Baan

Open House New York 2016: 20 must-see sites

These 20 new sites are some of the best ones to check out during Open House New York 2016

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Via 57 West, one of the sites open during OHNY 2016
| Iwan Baan

It's here! Open House New York released its list of the sites that will be open for its 2016 festival (happened October 15 and 16), and predictably, it's a doozy. Many of the greatest hits from recent years are back, including the Jefferson Market Library, the Brooklyn Public Library's Central Branch, and the Brutalist buildings of the Bronx Community College. But there are also hundreds of sites that are new to the event this year, including a recently reopened section of Central Park, the revamped interiors of St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the site of the forthcoming New York Wheel.

So how do you decide what to see? Use our list below as a guide: We've picked 20 of the best new-to-OHNY sites to see this year, some of which require reservations. Check out the full list of places to go on Open House New York's website—and don't miss Curbed's special series of house tours presented in collaboration with OHNY.

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Andrew Freedman House

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Part of the South Bronx’s Grand Concourse Historic District, the Andrew Freeman Home operated as a senior home between 1924-1983. It was declared a New York City landmark a decade later and today has become an arts and cultural center for the borough. On October 15, AFH a day-long celebration of music and art especially geared towards kids and is known as Dr. Drum’s Neighborhood Harvest Festival.

620 Fulton

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Its design by Francis Cauffman is meant to resemble a teardrop, and and when it’s complete next spring, this Downtown Brooklyn building will be home to the New York Hotel Trades Council, which is a provider of health benefits to union members, retirees and dependents. In addition this building will also feature retail, office, some public amenities, and a restaurant when complete. Architects from Francis Cauffman are offering tours on Oct 15 & 16 at 12, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30pm. Note: Hard hats, safety vests and closed toe hard soled shoes will be required to tour.
Francis Cauffman

Gil Hodges Community Garden

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This small community garden in Gowanus recently got a revamp that's both utilitarian—one of the measures implemented was a storm water management system—and beautiful. One of the elements is a "fragrance walk" courtesy of Jo Malone London, one of the garden's benefactors. It's all there for visitors to experience during OHNY weekend.
Stantec

Lite Brite Neon Studio

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Neon fiends would do well to check out this studio, which is responsible for lighting that's been used in the Whitney Museum, DIA Beacon, MoMA, and more. (Its work also appears on the booklet that OHNY visitors will receive during this year's event.) During tours of its studio, people will get to see neon bending happen live and in person.
Kristina E. Knipe

Naval Cemetery Landscape

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This lovely, peaceful garden opened earlier this year on the site of a former cemetery within the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During OHNY, visitors can take self-guided tours, with landscape architects Jeffrey Longhenry and John Ridenour of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, and Milton Puryear of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, around to answer questions.
Max Touhey

50 West

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Helmut Jahn's downtown skyscraper is inching closer to completion, and during OHNY weekend, visitors can not only tour the site, but head to the building's observation deck, perched approximately 700 feet above Manhattan.

Alexander Hamilton US Custom House

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Amid a restoration of the beautiful, Cass Gilbert-designed Customs House building at the southern tip of Manhattan, architects from EE&K will be on hand to give tours of the Custom House's main Rotunda, Library, and the Diker Pavilion.
Kathryn Yu

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diasporan Institute

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This center devoted to Caribbean culture and history, housed in a Romanesque Revival building in Midtown, is among the sites chosen for the series, and will be open for tours that show off both CCCADI's exhibits and the restoration of the historic structure.
Janet Sackey

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

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A long-closed and little-known section of Central Park reopened to the public this year. The four-acre section at the park's southeast corner was largely overlooked and overrun by weeds after it closed to the public in 1934. In 2001, the Central Park Conservancy took up efforts to restore and maintain the area.
Sara Cedar Miller

Liberty Park

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The World Trade Center's vaunted green space opened to the public this year, bringing new seating, viewing decks, and public gardens to an elevated platform on top of a vehicle screening area. The 64,000-square-foot park offers views of the World Trade Center campus, and will also accommodate the entrance to Santiago Calatrava's Greek Orthodox church that's still under construction. AECOM Principal Gonzalo Cruz will lead the tour.

Marjorie Eliot Parlor Entertainment Jazz

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This year, OHNY partnered with ARTNOIR to open up 10 different sites that "illustrate how the built environment serves as a catalyst for cultural exchange." As part of the series, living legend Marjorie Eliot will open her Sugar Hill apartment for special performances on Sunday at 1 and 3:30 p.m. (per OHNY, space is limited, and is first-come, first-served). Her apartment is located within a complex that was once home to jazz greats like Count Basie and Paul Robeson.

Metropolitan Opera

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On Sunday, OHNY will let visitors into the Metropolitan Opera House—which celebrates its 50th birthday this year—for a special behind-the-scenes tour, which will include visits to the costume shop, the iconic lobby, and the storage rooms where sets are kept when they're not in use. There'll also be "the once-in-a-lifetime chance to actually walk on the Met stage," which is definitely something you don't get to do every day.

Manhattan Municipal Building Cupola tour

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The 102-year-old cupola of this Lower Manhattan icon will be open for tours on Saturday only, with reservations required. It offers nearly panoramic views of the city, including of the World Trade Center and both rivers.

New York Times Building

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Unless you work for the New York Times, it's unlikely that you've visited the Birch woodland garden that's located within the Gray Lady's Renzo Piano-designed headquarters. During OHNY weekend, landscape architects from HMWhite, which conceived the space, will lead tours and discuss the design and environmental impacts of the site.

Pier 17

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The revamped South Street Seaport is on the road to completion, and during OHNY, visitors can get a peek at the forthcoming mall rising at Pier 17. Reps from the Howard Hughes Corporation, which is developing the site, and SHoP Architects (which is behind the transformation) will lead hard-hat tours of the site. (Fair warning: close-toed shoes and "appropriate clothing" are required.)
SHoP Architects PC

Stonewall National Monument

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Christopher Park and the area around the iconic Stonewall Inn became a National Monument earlier this year, and as part of OHNY's celebration of the National Parks Service's centennial, tours of the new landmark will be open to the public.
NPS

Via 57 West

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Bjarke Ingels's triangular "courtscraper" may have gotten a lot of attention for its unusual shape, but the tours during OHNY weekend will delve into another aspect of the structure: its gardens. Both architects from BIG and landscape architects from Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects will be on hand to talk about the building's design and how its landscaping complements the structure itself.
Durst Organization

QueensWay

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The QueensWay is still in the works, but tours during OHNY weekend are intended to give visitors a peek at what the park—which will travel along an abandoned LIRR rail line in eastern Queens—could look like. Per OHNY, the tours will travel along an undeveloped portion of the site, and will "follow the rail lines within Forest Park and will continue to a section near the future Metropolitan Hub." But heads up: closed-toe shoes and clothes suitable for hiking are required.
DLANDstudio

New York Wheel

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Though Staten Island's enormous observation wheel is merely a construction site at the moment, the team behind it (which includes Perkins Eastman, S9 Architecture, and the New York Wheel LLC) will lead tours that delve into the history and engineering of the attraction. Tours will happen throughout OHNY weekend.
Perkins Eastman, S9 Architecture

Ghosts of Penn Station

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Architect and historian Shan Jayakumar will lead tours that look at the history and future of Penn Station, from the magnificent McKim Mead and White-designed structure that was demolished in the 1960s, to the current plans for the new Moynihan Train Hall that's due to open in several years. Along the way, you may even see some pieces of the old Penn Station. Tours happen on October 16 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and reservations are required.

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Andrew Freedman House

Part of the South Bronx’s Grand Concourse Historic District, the Andrew Freeman Home operated as a senior home between 1924-1983. It was declared a New York City landmark a decade later and today has become an arts and cultural center for the borough. On October 15, AFH a day-long celebration of music and art especially geared towards kids and is known as Dr. Drum’s Neighborhood Harvest Festival.

620 Fulton

Francis Cauffman
Its design by Francis Cauffman is meant to resemble a teardrop, and and when it’s complete next spring, this Downtown Brooklyn building will be home to the New York Hotel Trades Council, which is a provider of health benefits to union members, retirees and dependents. In addition this building will also feature retail, office, some public amenities, and a restaurant when complete. Architects from Francis Cauffman are offering tours on Oct 15 & 16 at 12, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30pm. Note: Hard hats, safety vests and closed toe hard soled shoes will be required to tour.
Francis Cauffman

Gil Hodges Community Garden

Stantec
This small community garden in Gowanus recently got a revamp that's both utilitarian—one of the measures implemented was a storm water management system—and beautiful. One of the elements is a "fragrance walk" courtesy of Jo Malone London, one of the garden's benefactors. It's all there for visitors to experience during OHNY weekend.
Stantec

Lite Brite Neon Studio

Kristina E. Knipe
Neon fiends would do well to check out this studio, which is responsible for lighting that's been used in the Whitney Museum, DIA Beacon, MoMA, and more. (Its work also appears on the booklet that OHNY visitors will receive during this year's event.) During tours of its studio, people will get to see neon bending happen live and in person.
Kristina E. Knipe

Naval Cemetery Landscape

Max Touhey
This lovely, peaceful garden opened earlier this year on the site of a former cemetery within the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During OHNY, visitors can take self-guided tours, with landscape architects Jeffrey Longhenry and John Ridenour of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, and Milton Puryear of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, around to answer questions.
Max Touhey

50 West

Helmut Jahn's downtown skyscraper is inching closer to completion, and during OHNY weekend, visitors can not only tour the site, but head to the building's observation deck, perched approximately 700 feet above Manhattan.

Alexander Hamilton US Custom House

Kathryn Yu
Amid a restoration of the beautiful, Cass Gilbert-designed Customs House building at the southern tip of Manhattan, architects from EE&K will be on hand to give tours of the Custom House's main Rotunda, Library, and the Diker Pavilion.
Kathryn Yu

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diasporan Institute

Janet Sackey
This center devoted to Caribbean culture and history, housed in a Romanesque Revival building in Midtown, is among the sites chosen for the series, and will be open for tours that show off both CCCADI's exhibits and the restoration of the historic structure.
Janet Sackey

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

Sara Cedar Miller
A long-closed and little-known section of Central Park reopened to the public this year. The four-acre section at the park's southeast corner was largely overlooked and overrun by weeds after it closed to the public in 1934. In 2001, the Central Park Conservancy took up efforts to restore and maintain the area.
Sara Cedar Miller

Liberty Park

The World Trade Center's vaunted green space opened to the public this year, bringing new seating, viewing decks, and public gardens to an elevated platform on top of a vehicle screening area. The 64,000-square-foot park offers views of the World Trade Center campus, and will also accommodate the entrance to Santiago Calatrava's Greek Orthodox church that's still under construction. AECOM Principal Gonzalo Cruz will lead the tour.

Marjorie Eliot Parlor Entertainment Jazz

This year, OHNY partnered with ARTNOIR to open up 10 different sites that "illustrate how the built environment serves as a catalyst for cultural exchange." As part of the series, living legend Marjorie Eliot will open her Sugar Hill apartment for special performances on Sunday at 1 and 3:30 p.m. (per OHNY, space is limited, and is first-come, first-served). Her apartment is located within a complex that was once home to jazz greats like Count Basie and Paul Robeson.

Metropolitan Opera