Thursday, October 12, 2006

OHNY: Open House New York

Last weekend was the fourth annual Open House New York where the general public is allowed entry to otherwise closed areas of the city. This was my fourth one attended, so I tried to hit up only sites that were new to me. Here's some highlights.

We started off at the little red lighthouse. You may know it from "...and the big grey bridge" fame. We were able to climb the stairs to the top and enjoy the view from atop Manhattan's only lighthouse. Ok the view wasn't great cause it's only like 30 feet tall but it was neat to be on top of a lighthouse.

We made a few less memorable stops and then went to 7 World Trade Center where there was an art exhibit on the 45th floor. The elevator was extremely fast and the views from the unfinished space were phenomenal.

On Sunday we went to one of the Rockefeller Center roof gardens, normally open only to certain tenants in the building. A very peaceful oasis about 6 stories up.

One of the great things about OHNY is they let you into individual architects homes, where you can admire their bold choices and laugh at their ridiculousness. Here is someone's shower from a home in the West Village. Yep 100% clear and right in the middle of their bedroom. This apartment also had a small shallow pond-like hottub made of something that felt like rubber. This small tub was built into the floor and completely uncovered- if you walked in the front door with your eyes closed and took 3 big steps, you'd be wet.
This is from another architect's home in Gramercy; what you are looking at are the steps to get from the living room to the loft bedroom. At the bottom of the steps is a pond with black rocks on the bottom; you have to jump across 4 concrete islands to go from the stairs to the living room. On the right of the photo is the bed- no guardrail or anything to prevent that thrown pillow (or person!) from going over the edge into the water.
I don't know how people can live like that. Overall, OHNY was fun as usual but much more crowded this year than the past few; long waits at many places made it difficult to see as many sights as we would have liked.