Open House New York Celebrates Cultural Exchange with New Format

Louis Armstrong's blue kitchen is one of the many sites open to the public during Open House New York this weekend
(Courtesy of OHNY)

Open House New York, the annual weekend of open doors to some of the city’s most eminent and fascinating sites and spaces, presents a new format this year: “City of Cultural Exchange”, a curated selection of 10 architectural sites significant for the city’s multiethnic communities. The program was developed by the ARTNOIR collective, with the aim of exploring how built environments and identity correlate.

To this end, all selected sites were chosen as “arbiters of cultural exchange”  fostering cross-cultural conversation, ranging from well known institutions to hidden gems, including the Black Lady Theatre (important for the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in the 1980s as a think tank to fight civil rights inequalities), the old Vaudeville theater United Palace, and Louis Armstrong's as well as inventor Lewis H. Latimer's former homes.

“The multicultural landmarks we’ve curated for this program encompass everything from the historic homes of pioneers in the arts and sciences (Lewis H. Latimer, Louis Armstrong), to respected institutions (The Studio Museum, The Queens Museum, The Tenement Museum) to reborn relics of NYC’s past (The United Palace, The Black Lady Theatre, The Andrew Freedman Home),” ARTNOIR cofounder Nadia Nascimento notes.  “By stepping inside these spaces, we invite visitors to experience how architectural form and function can help us understand important historical moments, and get inside the heads of the influential people who made these spaces great.”

“The dynamism of New York City’s built environment is a direct reflection of the diversity of the people who occupy it,” OHNY executive director Gregory Wessner adds. “Buildings tell us fascinating stories about how people have shaped and re-shaped the city over time.”

Next to “City of Cultural Exchange”, Open House New York, which  runs concurrently to New York’s annual Archtober architecture festival, also presents  “Celebrating a Centennial: National Park Service” in collaboration with the National Park Service, providing exclusive and after-hour access to twelve historical sites, including Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the General Grant National Memorial, the African Burial Ground National Monument, and the Stonewall National Monument.

Further highlights this year include New York landmark Art Deco skyscraper 70 Pine in the Financial District, the Lowline Lab beneath Delancey Street with its subterranean park, which also serves as a preview for the full-scale park scheduled to open in 2021, Google's Chelsea offices, and tours of the former Brooklyn Army Terminal  re-purposed today for creative businesses.

Open House New York takes place from October 15- 16, 2016. Click here for more information and the full list of participating locations.

See a preview of the ARTNOIR selection in the slideshow