Every year, Gotham lifts the veil on many of the city’s off-limits or restricted-access locations around town as part of Open House New York, a weekend of tours taking you through landmarks and places of interest that you don’t ordinarily get into. Imported from London where it started in 1992, Open House crossed the pound in 2003 and has been a hit with the public ever since. As always, this year’s festivities covers all five boroughs, but to help you get started, here’s our list of must-see spots.
RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to Open House New York
Brooklyn Army Terminal Designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect of the Woolworth Building, this massive army supply depot was built during World War I and is now being re-purposed as a hub for creative businesses, including new manufacturing and design firms. Tours of the building’s futuristic, multi-tiered atrium are on tap, along with visits to some of the burgeoning services that now call the Brooklyn Army Terminal home
A/D/O Billed as a “place for designers,” A/D/O is another creative hub headquartered in a converted warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Scheduled to open before the end of the year, OHNY is offering a first look at this “ever-evolving space,” which measure 23,000 square feet. It will feature free work space open to the public, along with offices that can be rented by the day, week and month. Classes will offered along with full calendar of performances and other events.
Lowline Lab This subterranean greenspace in an abandoned streetcar station beneath Delancey Street uses a series of polycarbonate tubes outfitted with lenses and mirrors to pipe sunlight into its interior. The process illuminates a lush garden of trees and plants, and the Lab serves as a demonstrator model for the technology that makes it happen. It’s also a preview of a full-scale park that will span an acre once it becomes a reality as soon as 2021. The tour takes you through the above-ground portion of the Lab.
New York State Pavilion A survivor of the 1964 World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion was one of two structures (the other being the Unisphere) left standing in Flushing Meadows Corona Park after the fair closed in 1965. Designed by Philip Johnson and dubbed the “Tent of Tomorrow,” it featured the world’s largest suspension roof and a 567-panel terrazzo road map of New York state. For many years, the pavilion served as a concert venue and roller rink, but in 1976, it was declared structurally unsound and closed to the public. However, recent efforts have been made to stabilized the structure. New York State Pavilion is probably best known for its turn in the 1997 hit, Men In Black.
Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility A lot of New Yorkers hate recycling, but most of us do it anyway, because, you know, it's good for the environment. But if you’ve ever wondered where all that stuff ends up, OHNY has the answer for you. This state-of-the-art facility located at the 30th Street Pier in the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal serves as the processing center for all recycled discards before they're shipped out as raw material for re-manufacturing. Opened in 2013, the building is itself made of recycled steel.
70 Pine This classic Art Deco landmark in the heart of the Financial District is the ninth tallest skyscraper in New York. When it opened in 1932 as the Cities Service Building, it was the third tallest tower after the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. Built during the depths of the Great Depression, it was the last skyscraper to be built in Lower Manhattan prior to World War II, and was the tallest building there until the original World Trade Center was completed in 1973. After 9-11, it briefly reigned as the tallest in FiDi until the new WTC One took its place on the skyline. These, days the 67-story, 952-foot structure is home to swank condos.