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'Open House' Weekend Showcases Chic Hotels in Chelsea

By Mathew Katz | October 14, 2011 1:12pm
The unique 'staircase' design of the Mercedes-Benz building in Hell's Kitchen, which will be open to the public this weekend.
The unique 'staircase' design of the Mercedes-Benz building in Hell's Kitchen, which will be open to the public this weekend.
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Open House New York

CHELSEA — Brand new boutique hotels, a controversial homeless shelter and a century-old seminary will all open their doors to the public this weekend in Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen as part of the ninth annual Open House New York.

The event, running all weekend, lets New Yorkers see the mysterious insides of many of the buildings they pass by every day.

For those interested in seeing some of the city's most chic hotels without paying a hefty room rate, there are several options.

The architects that designed the towering, eighteen-story Standard Hotel at 848 Washington St. are giving a guided tour of the building on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Newly-opened and much-hyped Hôtel Americano, the first American hotel by Mexican chain Grupo Habita, will also open to the public. Staff will give guided tours of the hotel at 518 W. 27th St. at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. One of the hightlights is the hotel's rooftop pool and bar, La Piscine.

For those hoping to have a more stoic time, the General Theological Seminary, the Episcopal Church's oldest training ground, is a prime example of the Gothic-Revival architectural style that was popular when it was built in 1883. The city block-sized campus at 440 W. 21st St. has hidden nooks and crannies New Yorkers can sneak a peak at. The campus is open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday, with guided tours every half hour.

One of the more controversial buildings open to the public this year is the Bowery Residents' Committee's new 12-story shelter and detox center. The huge complex is currently the subject of a lawsuit by Chelsea and Flatiron residents who say it's too big, and is also being opposed by the City Council. Visitors can go on guided tours of the newly-renovated building at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

A select few will get a sneak preview of the third section of the High Line Park. The sold-out tours will give the public its first glimpse of the yet-to-be-opened new section of the park, which was built out of an old elevated rail yard originally built in the 1930's.

The pickings are a little more slim in Hell's Kitchen. Only one building in the neighborhood will be open to the public — the new Mercedez-Benz building at 555 W. 53rd St. The S-shaped stacking 'staircase' design of the building features a car dealership on the main floor, and allows 27 floors of apartments to each have their own terrace. The building is open to the public at 11 a.m. both days, with guided tours at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.

A full list of Open House New York events is available on the OHNY website. Tickets can be reserved online for $5 each.