newtowncreekPeek behind usually closed doors during New York City’s 9th annual openhousenewyork. The yearly event, taking place October 15 and 16, offers free access to hundreds of sites throughout the 5 boroughs.

What is particularly cool is that most of these sites are usually closed to the general public. We live near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and the monument in Grand Army Plaza opens only once a year, at OpenHouseNewYork. You can walk up and see a bird’s eye view of the park.
If you’ve taken your kids to the Central Park zoo, you’ve passed the fortress-like building, The Arsenal. This weekend is your chance to finally get inside the building and look around.

Another year, we went to the Pier Glass Art Studio in Red Hook and were treated to a glassblowing demonstration. This year, there are tours of a wastewater treatment plant and a blacksmithing forge. There are also churches, LEED certified apartment buildings, gardens and museums, all open free.

Some of the events are guided tours, included a DOT (Department of Transportation) Bike Tour of public art and a family friendly tour of the mausoleums of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. There are also scavenger hunts, family art projects and a canoe tour of the Gowanus Canal.

Some of the events require reservations; others require patience, since you have to wait on line.