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Open House New York: Get to know notable NYC sites for free

We’ve all heard of the New York Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. But did you know the sprawling Bronx oasis was founded in 1891 and has 250 acres? Or that the Army Terminal was constructed by the military in 1918, serving as the largest military supply in the U.S. through World War II? Or that the South Street Seaport is Manhattan’s oldest intact neighborhood?

On Oct. 15 and 16, New Yorkers interested in learning more about their city can stop by dozens of free sites throughout the five boroughs during Open House New York. There are tours, free admission to parks and churches and discussions happening Saturday and Sunday.

The goal of the annual weekend, hosted by nonprofit Open House New York, is to promote a greater appreciation of the city’s architecture, engineering and design.

This year, about 250 city buildings and landmarks are participating, more than half being “open access” and requiring no reservation. Here are some places from all five boroughs that piqued our interest. For the full list of “open houses” check out ohny.org

Brooklyn Army Terminal

Once WWII's largest military supply hub, the Brooklyn
Photo Credit: Nicolas Lemery Nantel

Once WWII's largest military supply hub, the Brooklyn Army Terminal (140 58th St., Sunset Park) is now an industrial campus boasting more than 100 tenants. Tours will be given hourly from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Kings Theatre, Brooklyn

The lavishly decorated Kings Theatre (1027 Flatbush Ave.)
Photo Credit: Matt Lambros

The lavishly decorated Kings Theatre (1027 Flatbush Ave.) was inspired in the style of the French Revival period. Tour the space from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

BAM's Peter Jay Sharp Building (30 Lafayette Ave.)
Photo Credit: Etienne Frossard

BAM's Peter Jay Sharp Building (30 Lafayette Ave.) in Fort Greene is home to handsome performance spaces that have housed the likes of Gertrude Stein and Lou Reed. Tours will be given on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

New York State Pavilion, Queens

The site of the 1939 and 1964 World's
Photo Credit: Daniel Avila, NYC Parks

The site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park lets visitors see relics from those historic events as well as tour one of the largest green spaces in the city. Tours will be given between noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Welling Court Mural Project, Queens

The Welling Court Mural Project (11-98 Welling Ct.)
Photo Credit: Garrison Buxton

The Welling Court Mural Project (11-98 Welling Ct.) in Astoria has been growing since it was established by Jonathan Ellis and Ad Hoc Art in 2009, drawing together artists from various contemporary styles. It's open 24/7, but tours will be given on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

New York City Hall, Manhattan

Tour one of the oldest city halls in
Photo Credit: Andrew Moore

Tour one of the oldest city halls in the nation (Broadway East at Murray Street) from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx

Tour the botanical gardens (2900 Southern Blvd.), which
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden

Tour the botanical gardens (2900 Southern Blvd.), which cover 250 acres, on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Gould Memorial Library & Hall of Fame at Bronx Community College

Both the library and Hall of Fame (2155
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Gould Memorial Library

Both the library and Hall of Fame (2155 University Ave., University Heights) are Beaux Arts Landmarks, so architecture enthusiasts should head to the sites on Sunday between noon and 4 p.m., with tours beginning at 1 p.m.

Noble Maritime Collection, Staten Island

The 28,500-square-foot museum (1000 Richmond Terrace, Livingston), featuring
Photo Credit: Michael McWeeney courtesy of Noble Maritime Collection

The 28,500-square-foot museum (1000 Richmond Terrace, Livingston), featuring works by Painter John A. Noble, offers a sense of the retirement home for mariners that it once was. Tours run on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Staten Island MakerSpace

MakerSpace (450 Front St., Unit B, Stapleton) is
Photo Credit: Michael McWeeney

MakerSpace (450 Front St., Unit B, Stapleton) is a community workspace and start-up incubator that houses a metal shop, woodshop and a computer lab with 3-D printers, plus communal and individual studio spaces. Tours will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Battery Weed, Staten Island

Residing on the Staten Island side of the
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Battery Weed

Residing on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge is Fort Wadsworth (120 New York Ave.), a one-time military installation covering more than 225 acres. Visit the site Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., with tours at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Alice Austen House, Staten Island

The Alice Austen House (2 Hylan Blvd., Rosebank)
Photo Credit: Floto + Warner, Clear Comfort, 2015

The Alice Austen House (2 Hylan Blvd., Rosebank) is a Victorian gothic cottage, with tours Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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