Visitors discover new skylines at the Jefferson Market Library Tower. Photo: Pontus Höök
Visitors discover new skylines at the Jefferson Market Library Tower. Photo: Pontus Höök


Get on the inside on Open House New York

October 17–18, New York opens up in a spectacular way. During a single weekend, the five boroughs engage in architectonial worship through the Open House New York Weekend.

During Open House New York, the sprawling, sparkling metropolis of New York gathers professionals, interested members of the public and some 800 volunteers for the annual weekend of tours, walks, and talks on architecture and all things related.

Jeffersson Market Library Tower. Photo: Pontus Höök For the 13th event, the newly renovated City Hall is included, as is Google’s office in Chelsea.

Arranged by a non-profit organization, the goal of the weekend is to open up spaces that the general public doesn’t normally have access to.

One of the most-visited sites during the past four years has been the TWA Flight Terminal at JFK Airport. The architectural masterpiece was designed by Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962, but was taken out of service in 2001.

Open House New York attracts visitors from all over the world. They leave with deeper knowledge, good stories, and great pictures. And maybe a new perspective on what it means to live in New York.

The Brooklyn event space, Weylin B. Seymour’s, located in a former bank, and renovated to its original splendor was the most popular building to visit last year.

When the schedule is set, hurry and book tours to locations that require reservations. They will go fast.There aren’t many private residences, but those listed are generally worth visiting.

Some locations require a booking fee of $5. Most are free of charge, and access is on a first-come, first-served basis.Realize that New York is a big city. Public transit to and from the outer parts of some boroughs (Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens) requires planning.

Scandinavian Traveler checked out the following places during last year's Open House New York.

Bright ’n Green

A brand new apartment building in Brooklyn where the elevator charges itself on downward trips and uses the electricity to lift occupants going up – just one of many environmentally-friendly perks for the tenants. The building aims to achieve net-zero ­energy use.


Jefferson Market Library tower

This tower in Greenwich Village – 149 steps to the top – is normally closed to the public but it opens up during OHNY. It’s a rare chance to get a new angle on those bird’s-eye views New York does so well.


Alice Austen house. Photo: Pontus Höök

Alice Austen house

This museum was once the home of one of America’s ­earliest and most prolific ­female photographers.


For more information, visit ohny.org

Text: Henrik Ek

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