Archive for January, 2010

Gangsters: Birth of Organized Crime in America Tour

Gangsters: Birth of Organized Crime in America
Sunday, February 28, 2010

In collaboration with the Lower East Side History Project, OHNY offers a unique walking tour covering 150 years of crime and vice in NYC. Trace the steps of criminal legends like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel–who earned their criminal stripes on the streets of the Lower East Side–and explore the roots of organized crime in America.

Dissect the myths and learn about how the Italian Mafia was established; visit the sites of Black Hand headquarters, Prohibition era speakeasies, shootouts and assassination attempts, and the homes and headquarters of some of the most powerful and infamous criminals in American history.

Led by Eric Ferrara, executive director of the Lower East Side History Project and the East Village Visitors Center and author of A Guide to Gangsters, Murderers and Weirdos of New York City’s Lower East Side. Purchase your tickets here.

UPDATE: The tour is currently sold out, we are working on offering another one, so please stay tuned!


Field Trip Friday: The Adventures of the Kong Chair

One lucky winner won the polished aluminum Kong chair, designed by Philippe Starck and donated by Emeco (and valued at $2,595), through the OHNY Weekend Raffle this past October.  It turned out to be Debra, who lives in Syracuse and made a special trip down to New York City for the 7th Annual OHNY Weekend.  She has also participated and won in our focus on architecture photography competition in years past.

So the chair made the journey from our office to Syracuse, where Debra let us know that it arrived safe and sound:

What a joy it was to unwrap it and behold the puddles of light that shimmered over it. For now it’s gracing the entryway, but may find its way to the office or kitchen in a day or two. I love the way its reflective element accommodates its milieu.  The puddles of light move across it as you approach and then pass by.  It really is quite visually as well as tactilely engaging.  I think of it as liquid mercury.

So thank you to everyone who participated and many thanks to Emeco, for donating the Philippe Starck Kong chair for our first ever OHNY Weekend Raffle!

Field Trip Friday Returns: Renee’s Trip to Israel

Renee recently took a trip to Israel in December and we’ll be highlighting her trip in a series of Field Trip Fridays!

Today takes us to The White City, a collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus or International style buildings in Tel Aviv,  introduced in the 1920s and 1930s by German Jewish architects who settled in Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. Tel Aviv has the largest number of buildings in this style of any city in the world. In 2003, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed The White City a World Cultural Heritage site, as “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century.”

Buildings in the White City

The construction of the buildings that make up The White City continued until the 1950’s in the area around Rothschild Boulevard. Their design had to incorporate the extremes of the Mediterranean and desert climate. White and light colors reflect the heat and walls had to protect against the sun. Although large areas of glass help characterize the Bauhaus style in Europe, these were replaced with small recessed windows that limit the heat and glare. And long narrow balconies allow residents to enjoy the sea breeze.

Buildings in the White City

Renee observed that while the area is beautiful,  many of the buildings have been neglected and could use some more attention. Fortunately, since legislation has passed, some have been refurbished and at least 1,500 more are slated for preservation and restoration.

Next week, we’ll share Renee’s visit to the Design Museum Holon, set to open this spring!

Field Trip Friday: Design Museum Holon

Continuing with Renee’s recent trip to Israel in December, today takes us to the Design Museum Holon.

Holon, located just outside Tel Aviv, has recently announced February 2, 2010 as the inauguration date for Design Museum Holon and its building by Ron Arad Architects. After four years of construction, the museum will finally open to the public. It is Ron Arad’s first completed commercial architectural project of this scale and he makes use of COR-TEN, or weathered steel, which forms five bands of different oranges and reds.

Holon has been campaigning and investing in the development of their city’s cultural identity over the last few years and in 2003, Ron Arad Associates were invited to design and develop the first Israeli museum dedicated to design.

Design Museum Holon

Exterior of the museum

Renee noted that the building’s structure, especially when photographed, reminded her of a painted Richard Serra, and the design seems very innovative for the area. There is, however, the pre-exisiting Mediatheque Holon, which joins the new museum and is located right next to it. In comparison to this building, the Design Museum is very different and the shapes and colors are in contrast to the existing Mediatheque Holon.

The Design Museum will have site-specific exhibitions by invited international curators as well as traveling exhibitions and a historical collection of Israeli design will also be included. The first exhibition opens on March 4, 2010.

Colored bands

More photos of the construction process can be seen here.

Happy 2010

Happy New Year from all of us at OHNY!

7 TWC, Sean Hemmerle

Thank you to everyone who donated  in support of openhousenewyork. Your commitment and contribution to OHNY and its Annual openhousenewyork Weekend is very much appreciated, and helps OHNY open hundreds of sites throughout New York City’s five boroughs and serve over 185,000 individuals per year.

The 7th Annual OHNY Weekend was our most successful event yet. Thousands of people joined in for what was an incredible celebration of New York City’s architecture. The two-day cultural event, which took place on October 10th and 11th, included 192 of the city’s most exemplary spaces and places—many not usually open to the public—and 130 free programs such as on-site tours, talks, workshops and performances in neighborhoods in all five boroughs. In addition, OHNY hosted the Second Annual OHNY Weekend Family Festival, welcoming 130 children and families who participated in range of designer- and educator-led interactive projects and activities.

We look forward to celebrating the 8th Annual openhousenewyork Weekend on October 9th & 10th.

All of us at openhousenewyork are most grateful for your support.