I’m an Open House New Yorker
Each December, Open House New York invites representatives from our community to share why our work matters and what it means to be an “Open House New Yorker.”
Hometown: Albany, New York
Neighborhood: Sunnyside, Queens
Occupation: Project Manager, Amie Gross Architects
Describe New York in three words: Beautiful. Oppressive. Uplifting.
I’ve been an Open House New Yorker since … 2015. My roommate insisted I get involved and that we volunteer together. They did not volunteer, and I went on my own. I am happy I did because it has been a stimulating and rewarding experience.
I’m an Open House New Yorker because … Architecture and infrastructure impact every aspect of our daily lives but, we have limited access if any to our built environment. I enjoy being a part of an organization that demystifies our city and makes it accessible to all.
Favorite OHNY experience? The OHNY Zoning Scavenger Hunt in 2016! Running around the city deciphering clues based on the zoning resolution was a magical experience. We jammed an OHNY weekend into a few hours. My team did not win but I now have a fashionable Zoning New York t-shirt.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Neighborhood: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Occupation: Executive Director, Sanitation Foundation (official non-profit partner of NYC’s Department of Sanitation)
Describe New York in three words: One crazy place!
I’ve been an Open House New Yorker since … 2008, when I started my first job in NYC government at the Parks Department and learned that we were opening the doors of our headquarters, the Arsenal, to Open House New York
I’m an Open House New Yorker because … OHNY Weekend is like Christmas (for us agnostic, non-religious urbanist nerds)! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Favorite OHNY Weekend site? I’m super proud of the OHNY Weekend site we hosted for the first time in 2019 at the NYC Sanitation Department’s industrial composting facility on the former Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. We were all set to do it again in 2020 and then….
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Neighborhood: East Harlem
Describe New York in three words: Magic. Opportunity. Reinvention
I’ve been an Open House New Yorker since … 2003, when I heard they were offering a sneak peek at the site that would become the High Line.
I’m an Open House New Yorker because … I want to be involved with and included in the places in my city that go unnoticed or are inaccessible.
If you could “unlock” any site in NYC what would it be? I am waiting to be invited to photograph from the eagles on the Chrysler Building like Margaret Bourke-White.
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Neighborhood: South Street Seaport
Occupation: Retired/Licensed tour guide
Describe New York in three words: Amazing and inspiring.
I’ve been an Open House New Yorker since … As I was getting ready to retire from my career in December 2006, I was told about an amazing OHNY Weekend event by a friend who thought I should become involved. It was the best advice I was ever given! I have been active in every OHNY Weekend for the past 16 years, either as a Volunteer, a District Coordinator, or a Site Partner.
I’m an Open House New Yorker because … it has given me the opportunity to be a part of an event that opens the City up to everyone. I have visited places that I never would have experienced if not for OHNY.
Favorite OHNY Weekend site? The Woolworth Building! (That might be cheating since I was the guide in the building for the Weekend for five years, prior to it being closed to the public due to Covid-19.)
Hometown: Suburban Chicago
Neighborhood: Rego Park, Queens
Describe New York in three words: Chaotic, changing, challenging.
I’ve been an Open House New Yorker since … 2017, I got to visit the cupola on top of the Municipal Building and I was hooked!
I’m an Open House New Yorker because … I love the access to buildings and the architects/designers that build them as well as learning about this city.
If you could “unlock” any site in NYC what would it be? City Hall station!
Hometown: New York City
Neighborhood: Bloomingdale, Manhattan
Describe New York in three words: Greatest city (in the) world.
I’ve been an Open House New Yorker since … 2003. A friend of a colleague was on the Board and he thought I might be interested. I didn’t have much cash to spare, but volunteering time and enthusiasm were what I could offer.
I’m an Open House New Yorker because … New York is my hometown. Cities, buildings, design … how they are made, grow, work, and change captivate me. Getting to share that with other people just as hooked or just getting introduced to the thrill is a great thing to be able to do.
If you could “unlock” any site in NYC what would it be? Just one? Ha! Over the years I have been particularly eager to get into infrastructure sites such as the [NYC DEP] Newtown Creek digester eggs and the DSNY Salt Shed; secret spaces like the clocktower of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian and above the dome of St John; and the High Line pre-restoration, which was both.
Still, my favorite moment was my first time as a volunteer, when OHNY Weekend was new. It was pouring buckets and curious people were lined up outside the [NYC Parks] Arsenal. Who knew this crazy idea was going to be so popular!