When: Columbus Day Weekend
New York City is full of history, but rarely are its inhabitants granted access to its most intriguing locations. This Columbus Day weekend, be prepared for that to change. Since 2002, Open House New York has been an annual event showcasing places in the city that are closed to the public 363 days a year. This event, lasting for just one weekend, is an amazing opportunity to see and learn more about the city.
Open House New York (OHNY) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Scott Lauer. Originally, the mission of this organization was to educate New Yorkers about the city’s rich architectural history. Now, OHNY is known for its open house weekend. The first annual OHNY weekend took place in 2003 and included access to 84 locations. Since then, the organization has done nothing but expand and grow, introducing a variety of programs for families and students to learn more about their city.
This event offers extraordinary access to some of NYC’s premiere hotspots, including free tours in many locations. People travel from all over the country, and even all over the world, to participate in the annual OHNY weekend. Last year’s event pulled in over 200,000 participants and included more than 300 sites. The hardest thing about the weekend is deciding which sites to visit.
Past open house locations have included The Jefferson Market Library Building, The NYC Marble Cemetery, The Little Red Lighthouse, The Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage. Some sites are world renowned, while others are hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. The common thread is that each site makes a unique contribution to the diverse and intriguing history of the city. This year’s full list of sites is scheduled to be released on Sept. 30, so be on the lookout.
This event is free, but there are options to reserve spaces at the more popular sites for five dollars. The most expensive option is the OHNY passport, which works like a Disney World fastpass, and allows you to skip the line. At $150, this is only for those who really have some cash to burn, but it does cover both days of the open house, and one passport is good for two people.
People looking to get involved next year can volunteer in a variety of ways. It provides an excellent opportunity to help others enjoy the weekend, and as a bonus, all volunteers are granted front of the line access to all sites.
All events are open rain or shine. See you there.
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