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Tour the city like a New Yorker
At right: Rockefeller Center's secret garden, the Chrysler Building's Art Deco lobby.

Yes, we should detest sightseeing buses and map-carriers, but sometimes we too want to be tourists in the Big Apple.

That's why we love Open House New York, the annual weekend-long event that celebrates the spectacular--and often hidden--architecture of the five boroughs.

On October 15 and 16, New York's leading architects will offer free insider tours of landmarks like the neo-Gothic Woolworth Building and Rockefeller Center's secret garden, plus unprecedented access to obscure treasures like Murray's underground cheese caves and the MTA's rotary relics in Crown Heights.

Be sure to check out new wonders like the metal-and-mesh facade of Hôtel Americano, Harlem's renovated PS90--now a gleaming apartment complex--and Greenpoint's 6,000-square-foot organic Eagle Street Rooftop Farm.

Begin your tour at Staten Island's Conference House, the only pre-Revolutionary manor still standing in NYC, then check out the ruins of Roosevelt Island's fascinating smallpox hospital. Foray into modern architecture with a guided walk up the breathtaking staircase terrace of the new Mercedes-Benz Manhattan building.

While all tours are free, a $150 VIP Passport gets you to the front of every line--which, with more than 200,000 estimated attendees, are sure to be monumental.

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