This city is incredibly dense, with so many doors to open and hidden places to explore. Yet it’s mostly off limits, shut away in skyscrapers or behind sturdy locks. However, each year the wonderful Open House New York event hosts a weekend of tours, events, and open houses for these places that are usually closed.
For the 2010 OHNY, I was joined by Ladies Adventure Club members Eszter and Patty for an exploration of the Lighthouse Tender Lilac ship, the Blackwell Lighthouse, and the New York Lunatic Asylum (now the Octagon). I did a rather extensive post for Atlas Obscura that you can read here, so I am going to keep it mostly to photos here. Enjoy!
First we visited the Lighthouse Tender Lilac steamship, which was used to supply lighthouses on the coast and later served in the Coast Guard:
From the Lilac, we took the train to Roosevelt Island and rode the red bus all the way to the island’s northern end to see the Blackwell Lighthouse:
Then we walked to the Octagon, formerly the New York Lunatic Asylum. It has been renovated as apartments with a new spiral staircase:
Walking along the water, we saw some colorful sculptures by Tom Otterness:
Finally, we tried to see the AVAC Center where all the pneumatic tubes that carry the Roosevelt Island trash go, but we had missed their open house hours:
It was a wonderful adventure and took me to parts of town I rarely visit. Also, Roosevelt Island just gets more and more bizarre each time I visit. Now I have to watch for dangerous money lobsters! Hey, maybe that means I am becoming more and more like my idol Sartre, who feared lobsters was stalking him through the streets? Perhaps this is not a goal I want to reach.