September 11, 2009
This weekend offers an opportunity to get a peek at how other New Yorkers have lived over the last 300 years. Some 21 houses across all five boroughs will open their doors to visitors and present tours, lectures and other special events as part of the Historic House Festival.
Some of the sites --the Dutch colonial Hendrik I. Lott House, for one -- as are generally off limits. Others that usually charge a fee, such as the Van Cortlandt House Museum in the Bronx will be free.
At the Lefferts Historic House in Brooklyn, visitors can harvest potatoes and then cook and eat the fruits of their labor. The Little Red Lighthouse, featured in the classic children's story, will be open for climbing, while visitors to the Merchant House Museum will be able to view the servants' quarters and learn about the young Irish women and their hard lives "in service." The Louis Latimer House in Queens will hold a poetry reading, as the Alice Austen House Museum on Staten Island celebrates the opening a new exhibition featuring photographs of Russia by Donald Webber.
For more on these events -- and listing for dozens of other activities -- go to Historic House Trust.