Private residences and historic houses will be open for New Yorkers this weekend as part of an annual event showcasing some of the city's hidden gems. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Sculptor Chaim Gross and his wife Renee moved to his Greenwich Village townhouse in 1963. The four story building located at 596 LaGuardia Place was his home and studio until his death in 1991.
"The first floor is the sculpture studio, the gallery, the second floor we have a new exhibition up about Chaim and his contemporary American sculptors so people can learn about American art and culture from the 1920s to the 1950s," said Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation Executive Director Susan Fisher.
On the third floor is his living room just as it was when he lived there, featuring an incredible art collection with around 500 pieces. It's just one of the places being opened to the public for free this Saturday and Sunday as part of Open House New York weekend, which is in its 11th year.
"To understand buildings and cities, to really appreciate them, requires access and experience. And so Open House opens doors, lets people in to look around, to feel a space, to smell it, to touch it, and to really understand why design is so important to the life of the city," said Open House New York Executive Director Gregory Wessner.
Over the years, Open House New York has opened up thousands of landmarks, sacred spaces and other sites usually closed to the public. Some well known, and others like the Gross home are hidden gems just waiting for more people to discover. And it's a hot ticket every year.
"They all have different hours, so as long as you know what the open hours are, you can just walk up and go in, presuming that there are no lines which you might need to prepare for," Wessner added.
Nearly 900 volunteers help run the tours. For folks at the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, opening their home is a great opportunity to spread the word about their organization.
"It's central to what we are trying to do right now, is to open our doors, bring more people in, really connect with the community so this is exactly what we want to be doing here at the foundation," Fisher said.
For a list of locations participating in this weekend's event, visit ohny.org.