New York City has a rich history in extraordinary and world-leading architecture and design. Each district and borough has its own unique mix of contemporary and historic spaces, some of which are regularly open to the public, and plenty of which are not.
For one exceptional weekend in October, new and vibrant locations open their doors, in the event known as Open House New York. The program offers wide audiences unparalleled access to some of the most illuminating buildings and spaces in the city - including private homes, farmhouses, breweries and dance studios.
Visitors can continue their learning with year-long programs such as this year’s exploration of the architecture of New York’s justice system, or last year’s conversation on urban development and transformation in response to waste management. But the open house weekend is all about the experience of seeing the public and private spaces that have shaped this city’s architectural landscape. Most of the locations offer admission free entrance, but check their website beforehand in case your preferred spot requires a reservation or ticket. Here’s our guide of what to explore that weekend:
This year, Open House New York is launching a special series called Open Studios, where visitors will be invited into the workspaces of the city’s leading architects and designers. A few blocks south of WestHouse, you can visit the offices of Dattner Architects, a firm specializing in civic architecture. See first-hand where the artists of the city’s future design and work, during their open-house hours from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, October 14th.
Another series this year highlights important spaces built and designed by women. Art galleries, botanical gardens and public libraries are included in this list, but perhaps the most exciting is the Avalon Morningside Park Apartments at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. See this 20-story apartment building from the inside, including it’s unique alignment with the adjacent cathedral buildings. Take note: reservations are required for this visit.
Finding large homes in Manhattan is rare enough, but a mansion? The Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765, right at the cusp of the Revolutionary War. It’s history is simply astounding. In the summer of 1970, George Washington used the mansion as the location for the First Cabinet Dinner with Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams (and more). When new owners bought the house in 1828, they redecorated every room with furnishings and paintings that were said to have belonged to Napoleon. What’s more, Lin Manuel Miranda used the Aaron Burr bedroom to write select scenes for “Hamilton.” So whether you’re a fan of American History or Musical Theater History, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this house.