Upcoming Programs

Photo by spikehalo via Flickr

Conversations on the City
Select Thursday Evenings
June – September
7:00 PM

All conversations hosted by
150 Broadway
New York City

When we think of Open House New York, we rightfully think about buildings and the thrill of getting access to the otherwise inaccessible. But this summer, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of Open House New York Weekend, we invite you to join us as we explore some of the deeper values and ideas that make the experience of architecture and cities so powerful, values and ideas that Open House New York itself champions in its programs.

Open House New York has invited a group of leading thinkers from design, art, science, and media for open-ended conversations about life in the contemporary city. In different but compelling ways, the work of each of these individuals helps us better understand the pleasures and frustrations of living an urban life, and asks questions that challenge the way we see and think about the city. Each conversation is structured around a broad theme but all will explore how fundamental values like openness and access help shape our experience of New York and give cities everywhere their vitality and meaning.

All of the talks in this series will take place at 7pm on select Thursday evenings from June through September at LMHQ in the Financial District, 150 Broadway, 20th floor.

Admission is free but reservations are required as space is limited. Reservations will begin two weeks before each event. Each talk will last approximately one hour, and will be followed by a reception with wine and snacks.

June 8
Justin Davidson: On Exploration

Architecture and music critic, and author of Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York

This conversation is now at capacity; click here to join the waitlist.

July 13
Miquela Craytor: On Inclusion

Planner, and Vice President, Industrial Policy, New York City Economic Development Corporation

July 27
Alexandra Horowitz: On Observation

Scientist, and author of On Looking: A Walker's Guide to the Art of Observation

August 3
Vishaan Chakrabarti: On Opportunity

Architect, and Founding Principal of PAU--Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

August 17
Jorge Otero-Pailos: On Transitions

Artist and architect, and Director of Historic Preservation at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

August 24
Prerana Reddy: On Engagement

Activist, and Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement at the Queens Museum

September 7
Charlie Todd: On Delight

Director and comedian, and Founder of Improv Everywhere

Click here to read more about the series and the speakers.

This series is organized in partnership with LMHQ. Created by The Alliance for Downtown New York, LMHQ is a collaboration space for Lower Manhattan's creatives and creators. Companies can come together at LMHQ to collaborate, activate, and accelerate their growth.


Photo by Kathryn Yu

Getting to Zero: Waste Waterways Boat Tour
Midtown Manhattan
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
6:30 PM

Getting to Zero will take to the city’s waterways with a special boat tour on the longest day of the year to highlight the oft-overlooked role of our rivers and harbor in supporting the vast and complex infrastructural systems created to keep the city clean.

An expert panel of guides will include Marty Bellew, a retired Director of the Bureau of Waste Disposal for the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY); Alyssa Loorya, president and principal investigator at Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants; Robin Nagle, NYU professor and DSNY anthropologist-in-residence; and Tom Outerbridge, general manager at Sims Municipal Recycling.

Departing from Midtown Manhattan, the tour will traverse New York Harbor and the Hudson and East Rivers to illuminate the ways in which the waterways that have defined the city’s culture and economy have also played an outsized role in shaping the ways in which New Yorkers dispose of the things that they no longer want or need. From early landfilling practices that reshaped Lower Manhattan to the environmental battles that raged across the city in the last quarter of the 20th century, the stories told on this tour will transform the way that participants think about and understand the city’s waterfront.

$30 OHNY Members
$40 General Admission
$75 Special Combo (1 Ticket + 1-Year Friend Membership)

Reservations are required as space is limited.

Not a member? Click here to see a full list of membership levels and benefits and join today!


This program is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.


Photo by Teri Tynes via Flickr

New York Now Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Check-in: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Hunt: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closing Reception: 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Open House New York challenges you to show how much you know about New York’s recent past!

A lot has changed in New York City since the first Open House New York Weekend took place on October 11 and 12, 2003. From the High Line and Hudson Yards to Citibike and the Second Avenue Subway, the city and our experience of it has changed dramatically over the past fifteen years. 40,000 new buildings were built, 450 miles of new bike lanes were laid, and more than a third of New York’s neighborhoods were rezoned.

Through it all, Open House New York was there, opening doors and giving New Yorkers access to the changing city. Now Open House New York invites you to test your knowledge about this vibrant and volatile period in New York’s history! To celebrate the 15th anniversary of OHNY Weekend, Open House New York has organized a citywide scavenger hunt of recent architecture, planning, and development. Travel the five boroughs while answering clues that send you to New York’s most breathtaking new buildings. Relive some of the city’s most heated preservation battles and uncover the policies and politics that shaped contemporary New York. Join us in celebrating a city that remains the greatest metropolis in the world!

Closing Reception Hosted by


How it Works:

  • Players must register in advance, as space is limited. You may play solo or in teams of up to 6 people. One person will register for your team and will be asked to submit a team name and the names of team members.
  • Each team will also be required to designate one Instagram account from which they will submit photos during the course of the scavenger hunt. Only photos submitted via this account will be counted toward your team's total.
  • The person who registers your team will receive a follow-up email prompting them to send in any key info not provided on the registration form. If you don't know your team name, all of the team members, or your preferred Instagram account when completing your registration, that info can be sent later, but must be confirmed prior to the event.
  • On June 17, check in at Open House New York (1133 Broadway, Suite 245) between 10 AM and 12 PM to receive clue pamphlets and New York Now Scavenger Hunt t-shirts, which will need to worn in each photo submitted in order to earn points.
  • From 10 AM - 5 PM, decipher clues and race across the city posting photos of you and your team in front of the key sites hinted at in more than sixty clues. To level the playing field, teams can walk, run, or take public transportation between sites—the use of bikes, private cars, or taxis is not allowed.
  • At the end of the day, join us for a closing reception from 5:30-7:30 PM at A/D/O (29 Norman Avenue, Brooklyn) where drinks and snacks will be served, winners announced, and prizes awarded!

$35 per person. Advance registration is required, and early registration is encouraged as the number of participating teams is limited.



Photo by Edward H. Blake via flickr

Getting to Zero: Dead Horse Bay
Marine Park, Brooklyn
Friday, June 9, 2017
12:45 PM

When the cap of a landfill built by Robert Moses in the early 1950’s eroded into Jamaica Bay, artifacts from the period appeared in the sand, creating the infamous “bottle beach.” Explore the site and learn about the long-term environmental impacts of the landfill’s slow disintegration, which continues to this day.

As part of Getting to Zero, Open House New York has organized a tour of the beach with educator Howard Warren, who has been visiting and researching Dead Horse Bay for decades. We’ll comb the beach and learn about the history of the site through the objects found that day. (Please note that the beach is part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, and visitors are prohibited from removing any objects from federally protected land, so all artifacts must be left on the beach).

Tickets for this tour will be free of charge, and will be distributed via a public raffle. Registration for the raffle will be open from Tuesday, May 23rd, until 5pm on Wednesday, May 31st. Winners will be notified via email by Thursday, June 1st.

Dead Horse Bay is an especially rugged site, so tour participants should come ready for an adventure! Hard-soled, closed-toe shoes are an absolute must.



Photo courtesy of Covanta

Getting to Zero: Covanta Union County Resource Recovery Facility
Lower Manhattan
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
9:30 AM

While most of New York City’s waste is sent to landfills far from the five boroughs, around 25% of it makes its way to facilities around the metropolitan area where it is burned to generate electricity. These enormous facilities are commonly referred to as “waste-to-energy” or “resource recovery” facilities.

Join us for a tour of Covanta’s Union County Resource Recovery Facility, a 22-acre industrial complex on the banks of the Rahway River in suburban New Jersey. Learn about the technology used here to process approximately 1,500 tons of solid waste per day into enough electrical energy to power 30,000 homes and businesses in the area.

Bus transportation to and from Lower Manhattan, near the Holland Tunnel entrance, will be provided to registered attendees of this tour. The location of the bus pick-up will be made available via email upon completion of registration. Times listed on this page include transportation to and from Rahway, NJ; the tour itself will last approximately 1.5 hours.

$25 OHNY Members
$35 General Admission

Reservations are required as space is limited.

Not a member? Click here to see a full list of membership levels and benefits and join today!


This program is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.

To see additional Getting to Zero: New York + Waste programs click here.


Recent Programs


Photo by Michael Anton, DSNY

Getting to Zero: Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station
Gowanus, Brooklyn
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
7:00 PM

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station will be the transfer point for household waste from ten community boards across Brooklyn. This brand new facility is one of a planned network of four across the five boroughs. The first, in Queens, opened in 2015; later this year, Hamilton Avenue will be the second to come online, with the other two already under construction in Manhattan and southern Brooklyn.

When Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island closed in 2001, DSNY shifted to a truck-based system to cart waste from the city to distant landfills. The Hamilton Avenue MTS is a key part of the city’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan, which re-activated marine transfer sites to shift waste handled by DSNY to a rail- and marine-based transportation system, dramatically reducing air pollution caused by truck-based transport.

Join us for a tour, led by DSNY guides, that will explain how innovative environmental technologies and architectural sensitivities come together to create a state-of-the-art infrastructure. Learn the surprising intricacies of municipal waste management with a tour of this complex and cavernous space.

Open House New York thanks NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) for making this tour possible. 

This program is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.

Photo by Robin Nagle

New York City's Dis-Contents: A History of Waste Systems
SVA Theatre, Manhattan
Monday, May 1, 2017
6:30 PM (Doors Open) / 7:00 PM (Presentation)

Getting New York City’s garbage where it’s going has always been a massive and complex challenge. While the story of New York is often told through its captains of industry, artists, and politicians, the story of the people who have handled its waste is uniquely revealing in what it tells us about how the city has evolved to support such a dense concentration of life.

In the city’s early days, New Yorkers dumped their waste into the rivers to create new land, taking the idea of hyperlocal waste management to the extreme. Today, in our highly industrialized consumer society, we produce vastly larger quantities of garbage per capita than we did in the past, but we send it all to distant landfills hundreds, or even thousands of miles away. Eliminating our reliance on a landfill-based system is critical, but to truly become a zero waste city, New Yorkers will need to re-think the systems of production and consumption that gave rise to it.

On May 1st, join us for a talk by NYU professor and DSNY anthropologist-in-residence Robin Nagle, author of Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City, to learn about the evolution of the city’s waste infrastructure over the past four centuries: where we’ve sent our waste, how it got there, who carried it away—and how it could change.

This program is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.


Photo courtesy of Materials for the Arts

Getting to Zero: Materials for the Arts
Long Island City, Queens
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Materials for the Arts is a program of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Departments of Sanitation and Education, that collects unneeded materials from businesses and individuals -- everything from office furniture to arts supplies -- and makes these donations available for free to nonprofits, government agencies, and public schools. Based out of a sprawling warehouse in Long Island City, MFTA diverts over 1 million pounds of materials a year from the waste stream to help enrich New York’s arts and creative community.

Join us for a tour of the warehouse to learn about how the program works and about the importance of reuse centers in a zero waste city. The tour includes a special viewing of “ Institutional Memory: 35 mm Slides from the Met’s Collection Reimagined,” a new exhibition of work created entirely from the recently digitized slide collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with work created by artists Martina Mrongovius, Michael Kelly Williams, Andrea Wolf, and Dustin Yellin. The tour will be followed by a discussion with wine and light refreshments.

Open House New York thanks Materials for the Arts for making this tour possible.

This tour is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.


Photo by Dan Lucal

Getting to Zero: Goodwill NYNJ + Big Reuse
Astoria, Queens
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We throw away huge quantities of objects and material long before the end of their useful lives. From t-shirts and toys to lumber and light fixtures, reuse will be a fundamental part of life in a zero waste city. 

Along the industrial waterfront of Astoria, Queens, two adjacent facilities present very different models for how reuse centers can contribute to their communities, as well as the city at large. This tour will visit Goodwill Industries’ regional hub for the NY/NJ area to learn about how the organization’s famous thrift stores support its robust slate of job training and youth education programs.

Then, we’ll cross the street to the sprawling warehouse operated by Big Reuse (formerly Build It Green NYC) and see how one of the city’s largest thrift stores has supported the development of a number of new forms of reuse activity, including a commercial compost operation and a sawmill that processes reclaimed lumber from across the area—including the city’s thousands of rooftop water tanks.

Open House New York thanks Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey and Big Reuse for making this tour possible.

This tour is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.


Photo by Naomi Castillo

Getting to Zero: Treasure in the Trash at the M11 Garage
East Harlem, Manhattan
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Tours at 11am and 1pm

Over the course of more than three decades, DSNY sanitation worker Nelson Molina rescued tens of thousands of objects from the garbage of his upper Manhattan route, creating one of the world’s largest known collections of material reclaimed from the trash.

Now installed in an astonishing "museum" display on the second floor of the M11 garage in East Harlem, the collection serves as a profound commentary on waste and consumption. To see this sprawling collection in person is a visceral experience that challenges our understanding of how we think about and categorize objects as "waste."

Two tours of the Treasure in the Trash collection will take place as part of Getting to Zero. Please note that, while Nelson Molina will be on-site throughout to answer questions and speak with attendees, tours are self-guided.

Open House New York thanks the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) for making this tour possible.

This tour is part of Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a year-long series of tours and talks exploring New York City's waste system.


Image Courtesy of MCR Development LLC

Projects in Planning: TWA Hotel at JFK Airport
SVA Theatre, Manhattan
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
6:30 PM (Doors Open) / 7:00 PM (Presentation)

Open House New York invites you to a presentation about one of the most eagerly anticipated projects in New York City: the transformation of the TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport into the TWA Hotel. The TWA Hotel will celebrate and preserve Eero Saarinen's masterpiece and reopen it to the public for the first time in many years. It will include 505 guest rooms; 50,000 square feet of conference, event, and meeting space; a 10,000-square-foot roof deck; 8 food and beverage outlets; and an innovative museum showcasing New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age.

Presenters will include Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner, MCR Development LLC; Richard Southwick, Partner and Director of Historic Preservation, Beyer Blinder Belle; Anne Marie Lubrano, Founding Principal, Lubrano Ciavarra Architects; and Jim Steven, Manager, JFK Physical Plant and Redevelopment for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Projects in Planning is a series of OHNY programs that explores the design and planning process of a single project during its early stages of development and construction. Projects in Planning is made possible with sponsorship support from


Photo by Daniella Shin


The Future of Waste in New York
A Lecture by Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation
Followed by a conversation with Kate Ascher

SVA Theatre, Manhattan
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
6:30 PM (Doors Open) / 7:00 PM (Lecture Begins)

We are excited to announce that Kate Ascher, author of The Works: Anatomy of a City, will join Commissioner Garcia after her lecture for a conversation about the future of the city's waste infrastructure.

With the release in April 2015 of the OneNYC Plan, the City of New York laid out an ambitious goal: to reduce to zero the amount of waste that New York sends to landfills by 2030. Like all cities, New York manages a complex system of waste collection, transportation, and disposal -- a vast physical infrastructure that keeps our neighborhoods healthy and thriving.

Open House New York announces Getting to Zero: New York + Waste, a yearlong series of tours and public programs that will explore New York's waste infrastructure. How have changing approaches to waste management shaped and reshaped the city over time, and what possibilities might a radical shift in the amount of trash we produce, and how we dispose of it, have for our neighborhoods and the future of the city? Read more about Getting to Zero.

To launch this major new initiative, Open House New York is honored to host a lecture by Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY). Commissioner Garcia will outline the steps that New York has already taken toward becoming a zero waste city, the opportunities and challenges we will face over the next few years, and innovative practices that have the potential to transform the waste management industry.


Image courtesy of DLANDstudio


Projects in Planning: QueensWay
SVA Theatre, Manhattan
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
6:30 PM (Doors Open) / 7:00 PM (Presentation)

Open House New York invites you to a presentation about the plans to transform an abandoned rail line in Central Queens into the QueensWay, a new 3.5-mile linear park, with Susannah Drake, Principal, DLANDstudio; Andy Stone, Director of the New York City Program at The Trust for Public Land; and Travis Terry, Steering Committee Founding Member, Friends of the QueensWay.

Located on an abandoned stretch of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch, the QueensWay will include biking, jogging, and walking paths and will create a link to Forest Park for thousands of Queens residents from six underserved neighborhoods. Once completed, the 47-acre park will also feature upgraded facilities for local little leagues, schools, and neighboring communities.

Projects in Planning is a series of OHNY programs that explores the design and planning process of a single project during its early stages of development and construction. Projects in Planning is made possible with sponsorship support from