Seems like a pretty obvious idea-pick a few days, and open up all kinds of unique buildings and interesting or historic places up for tours. New York, was actually a late adaptor of this concept, now done in over a hundred cities around the world.
"Renee Schacht, Executive Director of OHNY said in 2010: “We will be touring places and opening doors to sites that span the history of New York – from Staten Island’s Conference House, the only pre-Revolution manor house still standing to contemporary public and private spaces including The Centurion, a midtown Manhattan residential building designed by Pei Partnership Architects with I.M. Pei.”
More than 185,000 people participate in the event that includes over 300 sites, programs, events and tours, which in past years has drawn audiences from beyond the five boroughs to encompass all 50 states and many nations around the world."
In many cases, the event has grown beyond building tours to encompass all sorts of walking, bike and boat tours and more extreme forms of urban exploration. Take a hard hat tour of a building under construction or being rehabbed or perhaps an abandoned tunnel or bridge one can't normally go to. The value of this kind of thing sometimes leads to new thinking--remember that the High Line in NY was once an obscure abandoned space.
A few highlights I came up with.
Check out the 6000 sqare foot roof garden in Greenpoint Brooklyn.
Explore the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue on The Lower East Side.
Tour NY's oldest operating Whiskey Distillery in Bushwick
Learn about the design and engineering behind supertall skyscrapers.
Take a walk with a photographer down Industrial, Newtown Creek in Queens
See the Plans For The New Moynihan Station In The Old 34th Street Main post Office building
Take a canoe tour of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal
Tour the amazing Lobby of The Chrysler Building.
See historic and long abnadoned PS 90 in Central Harlem which is now being restored.
Tour a working Art Glass Studio in a Civil War Era warehouse in Redhook
Tour Brooklyn's historic Greenwood Cemetery by trolley.
I'll stop there. Doesn't Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Youngstown, Johnstown or other great places in our region have great historic buildings and places that would be great to link together in an event like this?