Open House New York

An interior view of a golden theater with bronzed wall and bright red drapes and curtains with deep maroon seating.
Photo Credit: OHNY Facebook

In case you haven’t heard… the Open House New York Weekend is coming up! The weekend of October 15-16th marks one of the country’s largest architecture and design festivals, inviting New Yorkers and tourists alike to visit more than 275 historic and contemporary sites throughout the five boroughs since 2003. What makes this REALLY special is that these sites are usually off-limits to the public… kinda making this a once in a lifetime (or at least once a year) opportunity!

Along with venue visits, OHNY includes talks and tours from leading design professionals – giving some background on what makes these spots so unique. The lineup ranges from historic farm houses to jazz age theaters and the cutting age architectural design of today. The special event weekend includes many open access sites that are completely free to visit.

Some of the more popular spots require advance reservations, which can be made online and include a small $5 reservation fee. Some of these sites include the New York Photo Safari, Ridgewood Reservoir, and the Queens Botanical Garden. Go on and reserve your favorite before tickets sell out!

With so many beautiful and unique spots to choose from, there’s no way to see all of them in one weekend. But don’t worry – we’ve rounded up 5 favorite Open Access Sites (meaning no reservation/payment required). With our list of one event in each borough, you won’t miss out on a nearby site, so here’s some guidance of where to start your weekend!

A photographer points his camera for a shot with dim lighting in the background of brown wooden walls and a white stone fireplace.
Photo Credit:

Brooklyn: NY Sun Works’ Greenhouse Project at PS84

We love the idea of using NYC rooftops for something good, especially since there’s so many of them! The folks at the Greenhouse Project did just that – they made a rooftop greenhouse and use it to teach urban agriculture to students from K to 12th grade in NYC public schools. ‘Tis the season for beautiful foliage!

When: Saturday, October 15th from 10 am – 2 pm

Manhattan: Marjorie Eliot’s Parlor Jazz

How does a “living treasure” of a national landmark gone apartment building to hear jazz music sound? You can do just that in Marjorie Eliot’s Washington Heights apartment! Marjorie hosted audiences from all over the world here for over 20 years, and now you can get a front row seat for yourself. She honored the legacy of African American music, and bridging cultures and communities through her parlor jazz concerts. Two concerts will be happening over the weekend, first come, first served!

When: Sunday, October 16th at 3:30 pm

An aerial view of a tall New York City skyscraper with lots of bright windows and green plans growing on the side.
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Bronx: The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

Any Poe fans out there? Of course there are! Take this opportunity to visit this wooden farmhouse overlooking the shores of Long Island where the legendary poet penned many of his works, including “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells.”

When: Saturday, October 15th from 10 am – 4 pm, and Sunday the 16th from 1 pm – 5 pm

Queens: The Hindu Temple Society of North America

This is the perfect opportunity to feel like you’re exploring the temples of Asia without leaving New York City. The Hindu Temple Society boasts shrines, idols, towers, and so much more to appreciate from a design and spiritual standpoint.

When: Saturday the 15th from 10 am – 2 pm and Sunday the 16th from 2 pm to 6 pm. Tours are also happening throughout the day.

A line of people standing outside in cloudy weather wearing grey clothing and suits.
Photo Credit:

Staten Island: Battery Weed

Fort Wadsworth is one of the oldest military installations in the country, and it’s nestled right here in NYC! A visit to Battery Weed gets you both history and magnificent views of New York Harbor. Double win!

When: Saturday the 15th from 12-4 pm. Tours are being offered at 12:00 noon, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm.

Let us know what you’re looking forward to visiting during Open House New York Weekend on Facebook and Twitter!


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