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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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1. Andrew Freedman House

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1125 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10452
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.

2. 620 Fulton

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620 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
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

3. 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

4. Lite Brite Neon Studio

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232 3rd St Ste C102
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 855-6083
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

5. Naval Cemetery Landscape

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63 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
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

6. 50 West

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50 West St
New York, NY 10006
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.

7. Alexander Hamilton US Custom House

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1 Bowling Grn
New York, NY 10004
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

8. Caribbean Cultural Center African Diasporan Institute

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408 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019
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

9. 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

10. Liberty Park

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Liberty St & West St
New York, NY 10006
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.

11. Marjorie Eliot Parlor Entertainment Jazz

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555 Edgecombe Ave
New York, NY 10032
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.

12. Metropolitan Opera

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70 Lincoln Center Plz
New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-5000
Visit Website
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.

13. Manhattan Municipal Building Cupola tour

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1 Centre St
New York, NY 10007
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.

14. New York Times Building

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620 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018
(212) 556-1234
Visit Website
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.

15. Pier 17

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90 South St.
New York, NY 10038
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

16. Stonewall National Monument

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Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014
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

17. 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

18. QueensWay

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Abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch
Queens, NY 11374
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

19. 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

20. Ghosts of Penn Station

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1 Penn Plz
New York, NY 10001
(212) 630-6401
Visit Website
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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1. Andrew Freedman House

1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10452
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.
1125 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10452

2. 620 Fulton

620 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
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.
620 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

3. Gil Hodges Community Garden

Brooklyn, NY 11215
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.

4. Lite Brite Neon Studio

232 3rd St Ste C102, Brooklyn, NY 11215
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.
232 3rd St Ste C102
Brooklyn, NY 11215

5. Naval Cemetery Landscape

63 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205
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.
63 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205

6. 50 West

50 West St, New York, NY 10006
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.
50 West St
New York, NY 10006

7. Alexander Hamilton US Custom House

1 Bowling Grn, New York, NY 10004
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.
1 Bowling Grn
New York, NY 10004

8. Caribbean Cultural Center African Diasporan Institute

408 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019
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.
408 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019

9. Hallett Nature Sanctuary

Central Park, New York
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.

10. Liberty Park

Liberty St & West St, New York, NY 10006
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.
Liberty St & West St
New York, NY 10006

11. Marjorie Eliot Parlor Entertainment Jazz

555 Edgecombe Ave, New York, NY 10032
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.
555 Edgecombe Ave
New York, NY 10032

12. Metropolitan Opera

70 Lincoln Center Plz, New York, NY 10023
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.
70 Lincoln Center Plz
New York, NY 10023

13. Manhattan Municipal Building Cupola tour

1 Centre St, New York, NY 10007
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.
1 Centre St
New York, NY 10007

14. New York Times Building

620 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018
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.
620 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018

15. Pier 17

90 South St., New York, NY 10038
SHoP Architects PC
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.)
90 South St.
New York, NY 10038

16. Stonewall National Monument

Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014
NPS
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.
Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014

17. Via 57 West

New York, NY
Durst Organization
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.

18. QueensWay

Abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch, Queens, NY 11374
DLANDstudio
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.
Abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch
Queens, NY 11374

19. New York Wheel

Staten Island, NY
Perkins Eastman, S9 Architecture
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.

20. Ghosts of Penn Station

1 Penn Plz, New York, NY 10001
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.
1 Penn Plz
New York, NY 10001