Open House New York

For New Yorkers who love to explore their city, Open House NY Weekend is their Christmas. Open House New York is a non-profit founded to "celebrate the best examples of design and planning throughout the five boroughs". While the organization offers events year-round, it is most known for its weekend in October where OHNY and the city open up over 250 sites across the city, many of which are normally not public.

If you will be in the city this weekend, I cannot recommend enough finding a few events to see a new side of the city. {*anticipate some lines at the more popular OHNY offerings}

For those planning to attend the weekend, here are my suggestions of some of the more interesting open offerings:

Wyckoff House Museum: First built in 1652, this old farmhouse is NYC's oldest surviving building. Though it is not in the most convenient location (East Flatbush, Brooklyn), its history makes it a nice off-beat visit.

Kings Theater: Loews built 5 "wonder theaters" in the late 1920s, most of which were left to decay for decades. The Brooklyn theater reopened in 2015 after a massive renovation. They will be open for visitors on Sunday afternoon.

United Palace: This was another of the 5 Loews wonder theaters. This Harlem theater will be open for a few hours on Saturday.

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine: This is the world's largest gothic cathedral. Its location in upper Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighborhood makes it far less visited than St. Patrick's Cathedral in midtown, but this church is far grander and worth a trip uptown.

Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse: Popularized from the 1942 childrens book "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge", this lighthouse will be offering a rare chance to visit the inside. It will be open for a few hours on Sunday.

Manhattan Municipal Building: This 40-story building is a key part of the downtown skyline. The office of the Manhattan borough President will be open for a few hours on Saturday.

New York City Hall: The municipal building's smaller neighbor, City Hall will be opening its doors on Saturday from 12-4. Visitors can see the gorgeous rotunda, City Council chambers, and some other historic rooms.

Mmuseumm: One of my favorite off-the-beaten-path NYC "attractions" is Mmuseumm... New York's smallest museum. Housed in a street-level freight elevator in Chinatown's Cortlandt Alley, it offers a rotating set of unique artifacts.

Lowline Lab: The success of the High Line has people looking for new spaces to create parks... this time, underground. Plans are being developed to convert the old Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, in the Lower East Side, into public space using new solar technology. Their test lab on Essex St can be visited both days this weekend.

New York City Marble Cemetery: This gated East Village cemetery will be opening its doors on Saturday and Sunday.

New York Marble Cemetery: Right around the corner from the above is this similarly-named, but unrelated, cemetery. This one is unique because its deceased residents are stored in vaults without traditional cemetery tombstones. Also open both days.

Brooklyn Navy Yard: This site was once key to NYC's waterfront and Naval history. After it was decommissioned, it has slowly become a key home to the new industrial boom in Brooklyn. On Saturday afternoon, the Yard and many of its businesses and studio spaces will be open for visitors.

Taking advantage of this weekend is something I look forward to every year. If you are planning to do so as well, let me know which sites you are hoping to explore!