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NYC's architectural gems shine during monthlong Archtober festival

The event includes daily tours, exhibitions and panel discussions throughout the five boroughs.

The Archtober festival will feature tours of "Building

The Archtober festival will feature tours of "Building of the Day" locations, including this Thursday's pick, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

As temperatures cool and days shorten, an annual, monthlong festival is encouraging New Yorkers to get out and explore some of the city's architectural gems.

Archtober kicked off earlier this week, and includes dozens of events such as exhibitions, tours of New York City's oldest buildings, and expert-led panel discussions. Benjamin Prosky, the executive director of AIA New York and the Center for Architecture, which launched Archtober in 2011, said he and the nearly 60 institutions that coordinate the festival want to help map out the diverse architecture along with its rich history.

"The point is New York is an important place for design," he said. "Whether you’re local or from abroad, you want your ideas on architecture to be seen and heard in New York."

This year's Archtober includes "Building of the Day" tours in locations across the five boroughs. Prosky said the Center for Architecture took time to highlight buildings and locations to which the public doesn't typically have direct access.

For example, Thursday's building of the day is the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. The large domed roof is familiar to anyone who frequents the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but its interior is seen far less often and is a site to behold, according to Prosky. 

"They are an extraordinary [architecture] form that you can’t necessarily go to," he said. 

Other events include sketch workshops and the screening of documentary film on women architects at the Guggenheim Museum, as well as the opening reception of The Municipal Art Society's "Toward a Livable City" — an exhibition detailing its 125-year history.  Ianna Angelo, MAS's public programs associate, said the Archtober events opened up the city's design community to a new audience.

"It’s a great collaboration of passions and focuses coming together to celebrate architecture and design in New York City," she said. 

Prosky agreed and encouraged anyone, regardless of architectural experience, to take part in one of the events. 

"Through understanding comes appreciation. I feel cities are open books and open laboratories, but sometimes you need to give them some extra insight," he said.

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