October 9, 2009
October in New York means the Yankees in post-season play, pumpkins and kabochas at the green markets -- and Open House New York weekend, the annual event when dozens of sites throughout the city opens their doors to the curious.
This year's parting of the city's curtain is this weekend -- Oct. 10 and 11 -- and features a cross section of New York architecture and design from the historic to the cutting edge across the five boroughs, all free of charge.
Visitors can venture underground into the world's oldest subway tunnel, dating from1864, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (above) or drop by the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, which served patients, inmates, and laborers on Roosevelt Island. They can tour the Bronx's Woodlawn cemetery and gawk at some of the more than 1,300 private mausoleums, including those designed by such luminaries as McKim, Mead & White and Tiffany. The lavishly decorated Grand Lodge of Masons in Chelsea will be open for inspection as will be the iconic 1930s bathhouse at Jacob Riis Park and the usually closed Samadhi Garden at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island.
The event also boasts more modern sites, highlighting examples of green architecture and the latest work of design studios. The townhouse at 93 Nevins St. in Brooklyn, for example, melds a classic brownstone with strict green-building standards. Visitors to Long Island City can view models of famed architect Richard Meier's buildings, while Focus Lighting opens its workspace -- a pioneering green space in Harlem -- to the public.
Some sites do set limits on the number of visitors; there may be waits at others, and hours can vary. For all the information, check Open House New York.