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Historic Spaces Open to the Public

Ever walk past a particular building or gate and wish you could go inside? Well this weekend, maybe you can, since it is Open House New York. More than 140 sites can be visited for free and without reservations!

In our East Village, NoHo and Greenwich Village neighborhoods there is a delightful selection of places to visit, including art studios, a cemetery and even a roof garden on a formerly abandoned building.  Here are just some:

Umbrella House rooftop.

Atop an old homesteaded tenement is a verdant roof garden.  This rooftop garden is an 820-sq. ft. intensive green roof that serves as a source of fresh produce for building residents, as a means to assist in storm water management, and as a model for other New York City buildings. One of the former Lower East Side squats, the residents of Umbrella House at 21 Avenue C have worked to create a viable alternative community and housing model since 1988.

New York City Marble Cemetery

On East 2nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues is the Marble Cemetery, a 2014 Village Award winner. One of only two non-sectarian burial grounds in Manhattan, this historic cemetery contains 258 underground burial vaults. Many people of note were laid to rest here, including Uriah Scribner, father of the publisher; Aaron Clark, New York’s first Whig mayor; Congressman and NYU President James Tallmadge; and Benjamin Wright, father of American Civil Engineering.


Plaque unveiled by GVSHP and the foundation.

To the west at 526 Laguardia Place is the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation.  In 1963, renowned American sculptor Chaim Gross and his wife Renee converted an art storage warehouse in Greenwich Village into their home and studio. They added a sculpture studio to the ground floor, which is illuminated by an enormous skylight that underwent extensive restoration work in 2017 and 2018 and only reopened fully in May of this year. The first floor showcases work spanning Gross’s entire career in both the studio and the adjacent gallery. The second floor features the exhibition “Teaching Through Touch: Works by Chaim Gross,” designed to provide accessible programming for visitors who are blind or partially sighted. On the third floor, see how the Gross family lived surrounded by their global, world-class art collection in their historic, salon-style installation of African, American, European, and Pre-Columbian collections.

There many more in our neighborhoods and across all five boroughs.  Check out the interactive map here and plan your visits!

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