Open House New York shows off a rare side of Queens

Explore neon signage at Krypton Neon. Photo by Kenny Greenberg

Explore neon signage at Krypton Neon. Photo by Kenny Greenberg

By Victoria Merlino

Some of New York City’s most interesting spaces will open their doors to the public for exploration through this month’s “Open House New York Weekend.” 

The weekend, hosted from Oct. 18-20, invites city residents to celebrate architectural design, urban planning and cultural significance across the five boroughs through free or lost-cow programming. Many of the over 250 sites on offer usually allow only limited access to guests — or no access at all.

While the World’s Borough holds over 30 sites to choose from, the Eagle has you covered with our top picks to visit: 

Photo by Megan Swann

Photo by Megan Swann

BiG aLICe BREWING Co.

Beginning in 2013, this small-batch brewery cooks up big flavor with locally sourced and organic ingredients. Now, BIG aLICe distributes throughout the five boroughs, Long Island, the greater New York area, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The weekend will take visitors inside the company’s Long Island City facility, where guests can follow the beer brewing process. 

Tour location shared after confirming reservation // Hour-long tours throughout Friday morning and early afternoon

This Flushing temple was the first of its kind in North America. Photo by Hindu Temple Society of North America

This Flushing temple was the first of its kind in North America. Photo by Hindu Temple Society of North America

Hindu Temple Society of North America

Described as “one of the most historically important Hindu temples in the West,” this Flushing temple was the first of its kind in North America. The temple was completed in 1977, and boasts a host of unique architectural features, including stone shrines, five domes, carved wooden doors and two 16-foot high pure silver chariots. 

45-57 Bowne St., Flushing // Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No tickets required; tour every 30 minutes. 

Photo by Kenny Greenberg

Photo by Kenny Greenberg

Krypton Neon

Learn what goes into making a neon sign through a tour of Krypton Neon. This Long Island City institution began in 1981, today specializing in hand-blown neon for Broadway stage productions, feature films and television. The company also collaborates with museums, artists and companies, and has been featured on PBS and on other media outlets. 

Tour location shared after confirming reservation // Hour-long tours throughout Friday morning and early afternoon

Photo by Ryan Struck

Photo by Ryan Struck

Ridgewood Reservoir

This 50-acre ecological wonder was constructed in 1859 to supply the then-independent City of Brooklyn with fresh drinking water. It was decommissioned in the 1980s following reservoir construction in the Catskills, and slowly its basins have returned to nature. Forests sprouted in the two outside basins, while the middle basin now hosts birds in a freshwater pond that visitors can view. The Ridgewood Reservoir was designated a Class 1 Wetland in 2019. 

Tour location shared after confirming reservation // Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Eagle  photo by Jonathan Sperling

Eagle photo by Jonathan Sperling

Welling Court Mural Project

Astoria’s streets hide a treasure trove of street art. The Welling Court Mural Project features a mix of over 150 murals painted by artists from all around the world, with new installations added over time. Though the murals are usually up for public display, the weekend event will allow visitors to speak with organizers, artists and residents that help make the project tick. 

11-90 Welling Ct, Astoria // Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m both days 


For more information on all the sites, visit ohny.org.