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Every October, more than 250 buildings and projects across New York’s five boroughs take part in Open House New York Weekend (OHNY). OHNY is a citywide celebration of NYC architecture and urban design. A variety of buildings open their doors to the public, from infrastructure facilities and cultural spaces to workspaces and private residences, and give tours and talks by architects, urban designers, historians, preservationists, and city leaders. The 2019 Open House New York Weekend will take place on October 18-20 (Friday-Sunday).

CityRealty culled through the list of events and highlights some events to take note of.

Minetta Lane Residence

↓ 16 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village
16-Minetta-Lane-1 Minetta Lane via Justin Leary
Located on a historic Greenwich Village street, this single-family townhouse dates back to the 1920's, but architect/contractor Adam Kushner has given it a contemporary touch while respecting its history. The historic facade remains intact with a criss-crossing ivy trellis in honor of previous owner Robert Isbell's mark on the house. Inside, the basement floor is made of wood pieces Mr. Kushner cut and pieced together himself. One floor up, the kitchen counter is made from a single plank of wood from a fallen tree he discovered upstate. A well on the property will be replaced with a Jacuzzi, and the piece de resistance is the rock-climbing wall. At 50 feet high, it will extend from the basement to the rooftop and be embedded with family photos and mementos.

Morris Jumel Mansion

↓ 65 Jumel Terrace, Washington Heights
morris jumel mansion Photo by edwardhblake (Flickr)
The Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765. In 1776, the mansion was seized by the Continental Army and served as headquarters for George Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights. British and Hessian commanders occupied the house after Washington’s retreat from New York. In 1790, Washington held the First Cabinet dinner there which included Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Knox (and their wives). In 1810, French wine merchant Stephen Jumel and his American wife, Eliza, purchased and refurbished the mansion. In 1832, a year after Stephen Jumel died, Eliza married former vice president Aaron Burr. The marriage ended quickly and Eliza lived alone in the house until her death in 1865. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote parts of Hamilton in the Aaron Burr bedroom.

Bartow–Pell Mansion Museum

↓ 895 Shore Rd, Pelham Bay Park
bartow-pell mansion Courtesy of Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum via OHNY
In 1654, Thomas Pell, an English doctor from Connecticut, bought the land from the Siwanoy Indians as part of a nearly 9,000-acre tract. By the end of the Revolutionary War, the estate was reduced to 220 acres. In 1836, the estate was bought by a Pell descendant, Robert Bartow, who built the present late Federal Style stone mansion with Greek Revival interiors. In 1888, the estate was acquired by New York City and in 1914, the International Garden Club formed to promote horticultural knowledge and to save the Bartow-Pell Mansion from decay. The architectural firm of Delano and Aldrich carried out the restoration. The estate includes formal terraces, a fountain, and herb and perennial gardens, cemetery, hiking trails, and a 1840s stone carriage house that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

museum of bronx history Courtesy of Bronx Historical Society via OHNY
Isaac Valentine, a blacksmith and farmer, bought this parcel of land from the Dutch Reformed Church. He built a two-story fieldstone house which is the borough's second oldest house. The Valentine home was occupied by British, Hessian, and American troops during the Revolutionary War (1776-1783). Except for 11 months between 1775-1776, Valentine and his family remained in what must have been a very full house throughout the war. Valentine sold the 260-acre property to Isaac Varian, a successful butcher and farmer, in 1792. One of Isaac's grandsons (also named Isaac) served as New York City's 63rd Mayor, from 1839-1841. In 1965, the house was donated it to The Bronx County Historical Society but the land was sold to developers. The house was moved diagonally from its original location.

The home's symmetrical style, referred to as Georgian vernacular, has evenly placed windows and identical chimneys at either end, interior rooms that mirror one other across a central hallway and deep-set, splayed windows to let in light and keep out the cold.

Westbeth Artists Housing

↓ 155 Bank Street, West Village
155-Bank-Street-1 Westbeth Artists Housing via Roger Braimon
In the far West Village, Bell Laboratories was transformed into the largest artist community in the United States in the late 1960's. Inspired by the need to provide affordable housing and studios for artists and their families, developer Dixon Bain transformed the industrial space into 384 live-work spaces for artists of all disciplines. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 and unanimously declared a New York City landmark in 2011.

50 West Plaza

↓ 50 West Street, Financial District
50-West-Street-1 Plaza via W Architecture and Landscape Architecture
This 6,000-square-foot plaza is located at the base of 50 West, a luxury condominium designed by Helmut Jahn, and right next to the West Thames Pedestrian Bridge, which was designed to connect Battery Park City to the Financial District. At the same time, this lushly planted oasis with custom benches offers a respite from the bustle of Lower Manhattan and the noise of the nearby Battery Tunnel entrance. It is elevated from street level, and the transition is part of the design for flood-proofing.

Payne Whitney House: Photo by Gryffindor [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

Morris Jumel Mansion: Photo by edwardhblake (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0]

Van Cortlandt House Museum: Photo by Rich Mitchell (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0]

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Additional Info About the Building

Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.
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