Archive for December, 2009

Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours

Photo courtesy of Ellen McKnight

More Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours
Saturday & Sunday, January 23 & 24
Saturday, January 30

Due to high demand, OHNY and the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association are again offering special guided tours of the world’s oldest subway tunnel, built in 1844 and constructed in seven months using only hand tools and primitive equipment. Bob Diamond, who rediscovered the tunnel in 1980, will lead two tours through the half-mile long underground space. Purchase tickets here.

Guests should wear sneakers or boots (no high-heeled shoes) and bring a flashlight.

Please be aware that all attendees will have to sign a waiver and please take note of the following:

  • the tunnel entrance is a manhole in the middle of Atlantic Avenue, which you climb down via ladder
  • there is also a set of wooden steps that are unevenly spaced, without a hand rail
  • remember to wear appropriate footwear and clothing– it is an underground tunnel and a bit dirty
  • there will be 70 people on each tour
  • the tour takes about 1 1/2 hours, as we all have to enter and exit from one manhole

That being said, there will be volunteers to help you down the steps and accompany the tour group. Check out photos from our recent tours and read comments from past attendees below:

I am so happy to have access to this – without heavy security, merchandising, and everything else that usually gets in the way of feeling directly linked to a historical place… but that’s why I love OHNY already!

This was awesome! If anyone has any doubt to go check this out don’t this is coolest urban spelunking experience your gonna get.

Thanks again for putting the tour on.  It was very fun and Mr. Diamond gave quite a presentation.


Field Trip Friday: “The Young Victoria” at the Museum of Arts & Design

This past Wednesday, OHNY staffers Jessica and Hae-In  attended a screening of The Young Victoria at the Museum of Arts and Design, courtesy of New York Magazine. The film was introduced by’s fashion editor and two representatives from Swarovski, who spoke about their involvement in the design and production of the jewelery featured in the film, including Queen Victoria’s coronation crown and scepter. The film was beautiful, especially the costumes, and provided an interesting and romantic look into Queen Victoria’s early reign and relationship with Prince Albert. After watching the film, I went home and researched the Queen and her descendants on Wikipedia!

Museum of Arts & Design

Museum of Arts and Design

Inside the lobby

Theatre screening

Museum of Arts and Design

2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY

Field Trip Friday: Las Vegas, NV

OHNY program manager Jessica headed out West to Las Vegas, NV over the Thanksgiving holiday. Temperatures in the low 70s for late November and waking up to the bright, sun shining through her window every single day, what more could a girl ask for?

When you think of Vegas, what immediately comes to mind is most probably the Las Vegas Strip. Finding historic buildings on the Strip is a rarity since many hotel and casino owners tend to implode defunct buildings to construct brand, new ones to entice tourists to gamble, shop, dine, and stay at their casinos. Walking along the Strip, you can almost imagine that you are transported to places around the world like Venice, Rome, Egypt, and Paris without requiring your passport with each specially-themed hotel and casino.

Right now, the most talked about new complex of buildings on the Strip is CityCenter – featuring luxury hotels, residential apartments, entertainment districts, and high-end retail shops. The buildings and interiors were designed by recognized architecture firms including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Studio Daniel Libeskind, Rockwell Group, Foster + Partners, and Gensler.

Moving away from the Strip, there are plenty of other sites to explore such as Red Rock Canyon – 197,000 acres within the Mojave Desert. A newly constructed visitor’s center serves as a hub for information and interpretation about recreation opportunities and hiking trails, wildlife including wild horses and burros, vegetation, geology, and cultural resources.

Another popular and quite impressive destination is the Hoover Dam. It was completed in 1936 and is the world’s largest hydroelectric power generating plant.

The trip would not be complete without a trip to Ethel’s Chocolate Factory. Founded in 1981 by Forrest Mars, Sr., the factory was created as tribute to his mother who made gourmet chocolates in their Tacoma, Washington home when he was young child. There were plenty of tasty samples as well as a botanical cactus garden right outside the factory to burn off a few calories!

Overall, the trip proved to be a great, sun-filled relaxing two week experience for her with plenty of places to see and things to do other than gambling!

Red Rock Canyon

Hoover Dam

Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden

Field Trip Friday: Our new office!

This past Monday, OHNY moved offices! Still in Chelsea, we have moved to the office of Stephan Jaklitsch Architects, located on 27th and 6th Avenue. We have unpacked all of our boxes and settled in, although there is still some work to be done. For one thing, our phones have not been set up yet, so if you are calling us (we are checking our voicemails remotely) please email for a quicker response!

Renee, at her new desk

Stephan Jaklitsch's office

SJA kitchen

Tour The Belnord Courtyards

Private Garden Courtyard Tour on the Upper West Side

This month, visit the private garden courtyard of The Belnord, a palatial, Renaissance-style apartment building occupying a full city block in the heart of the Upper West Side. At 22,000 square feet, the courtyard was touted as the world’s largest when The Belnord was completed in 1908.

To attract upper-class tenants, architect H. Hobart Weeks designed the building around the courtyard to guarantee pleasant garden views for most of the building’s approximately 200 apartments. Functional as well as beautiful, the courtyard is encircled by a driveway loop linked to the street by barrel-vaulted passageways painted with neoclassical frescos.

Self-guided tours of the courtyard are available weekday afternoons, free-of-charge, now through December 16th, and are managed by the Trust for Architectural Easements. For more information, email or visit their website.

Belnord Courtyard Facing West

Archway Frescos