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Three Uptown Treasures Featured in 'Open House' Weekend

By Carla Zanoni | October 12, 2011 8:00am | Updated on October 12, 2011 9:42am
The Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest house, was once home to General George Washington in 1776.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest house, was once home to General George Washington in 1776.
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Open House New York

UPPER MANHATTAN — The George Washington Bridge terminal will soon be getting a facelift, but architectural voyeurs will get a chance to look at the bones of the building during this weekend’s Open House New York event.

New York City transportation, architecture and history buffs are invited to take a peek at the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, one of only two American works by Italian engineer-architect Pier Luigi Nervi.

The work straddles the Trans-Manhattan Expressway in Washington Heights and "features Nervi's uniquely lyrical approach to reinforced concrete," according to OHNY.

The tour, at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and led by architectural writer Ian Volner, will examine some of the more interesting facets of the structure, famous for its roof of triangle pieces cast in place at the terminal.

The ninth-annual architecture and design event will give attendees access to hundreds of normally off-limits locales throughout the city and features performances, presentations, talks and family activities.

"This is the one weekend each year when thousands of New Yorkers and tourists alike are given entrée into places and spaces, many of which are not normally open to the public,” OHNY’s executive director Renee Schacht said in a statement.

Upper Manhattan will also play host to three other OHNY venues, including Manhattan's oldest house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which was home to George Washington in 1776, and the Fort Tryon Cottage and Heather Garden in Washington Heights.

The more-than-100-year-old cottage was originally the gatehouse of the G.K. Billings Estate, according to OHNY.

Both self-led and guided tours will be available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at both sites.

On Sunday, visitors can take in the sights along the Hudson River from the top of the 1880-built Little Red Lighthouse, which sits at the foot of the George Washington Bridge. The lighthouse was made famous when the children's book "The Little Red Light House and the Great Gray Bridge" by Hildegarde H. Swift helped save it from demolition in 1942.

A full list of Open House New York events is available on the OHNY website. Tickets can be reserved online. A $5 processing fee will be applied to each individual reservation.