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martini on the rock Algonquin Hotel-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via joonbug.com

The Algonquin on West 44th Street is a 181-room hotel that opened in 1902 that saw its rebirth as a literary haunt in the 20s and 30s when its owner and manager Frank Case transformed the place into a popular meeting place for writers. To this day, it offers discounted rooms to struggling writers in return for an autographed book and has housed a cat, either named Mathilda or Hamlet depending on the gender, in honor of the hotel’s original cat since the 30s.

Is it starting to become clear that ‘normal’ isn’t exactly the way the Algonquin does it? Here’s another head-scratcher: the hotel’s Blue Bar has been serving what it calls a ‘Martini on the Rock‘ since its $3 million renovation in 2005, a martini of the customer’s choice with with a diamond, its single ‘rock,’ placed at the bottom. The drink costs $10,000.

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The Museum at Eldridge Street. Image by Peter Aaron

Come discover the history, architecture and the magical sanctuary of the landmarked Eldridge Street Synagogue, a beautiful house of worship built by Eastern European immigrants in America, in our After Hours Tour and Wine Reception on Wednesday, July 22nd, co-presented by Untapped Cities and the Museum at Eldridge Street. This will be our Summer Happy Hour event for our readers and contributor community, so come on down, we’d love to meet you.

You’ll step into the footsteps of the synagogue’s immigrant founders who finally got to celebrate their religion gloriously and openly in the free land of America. Swap historical facts and quirky architectural detail over wine. Be on the lookout for the parts of unrestored lath and plaster in the building’s balcony which reveal how the building is put together, with brick, lath, plaster, even pieces of horse-hair, used to bind the plaster.

Tickets are 25% off for Untapped Cities readers using discount code UNTAPPED. (Tickets for the neighborhood tour beforehand are now sold out).

Museum at Eldridge Street- New York City - NYC - Lower East SideThe Museum at Eldridge Street. Image by Peter Aaron

Discover more of our Untapped Cities Tours and Events here.

Amanda Ross-Ho

Amanda Ross-Ho’s installation at City Hall Park as part of “Image Objects”

New York City comes alive with outdoor art installations during the summer months, enticing viewers to visit parts of the City they might not otherwise frequent. In June, we showed you 17 outdoor installations worthy of checking out in person, but July has proven to be equally prolific. Here are 20 you shouldn’t miss:

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Today, we profile Untapped Cities contributor Jeff Reuben who has written about the Secrets of Brooklyn Heights, the reopening of High Bridge and discovered the hidden history Harlem’s townhouses.

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Beauty Hair shop Bukchon South Korea

Silicon Valley isn’t the only place in the United States that could learn from Seoul (as trumpeted by the New York Times Magazine in early June). So could New York City. Seoul, South Korea, is older by centuries than New York, but it is also younger. Devastated by the Korean War in which whole neighborhoods were demolished, Seoul had to rebuild and recreate itself after the ending of the war in July 1953.

It has since grown into one of the most energetic and compelling of global cities. It is simultaneously gorgeous (sleek skyscrapers lit up nightly in dazzling colors) and ugly (blocks of monumental concrete buildings erected to military standards to withstand bombing).

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New Stapleton Waterfront-The Cove-Rendering-NYCEDCRendering of future Stapleton Waterfront Esplanade with reclaimed wetlands

Staten Island is the next frontier of urban development in New York City, with the forthcoming arrival of the world’s tallest ferris wheel and the St. George Waterfront development. While these projects are currently under construction, there’s already a lot happening. In our next Behind the Scenes NYC tour with the NYC Economic Development Corporation, we’ll be doing a walking tour of the New Stapleton Waterfront with the NYCEDC’s Munro Johnson, Vice President of Development for Staten Island on Saturday, July 25th at 10am.

Stops on this walking tour will include:

  • SI Makerspace, an arts, technology and business incubator for NYCEDC
  • The New Stapleton Waterfront development project with Ironstate Development speaking on the construction progress of the decommissioned U.S. Naval Base, to be turned into a mixed-use development and public waterfront esplanade
  • The Stapleton Town Center (with a representative from the Neighborhood Association)
  • Staten Island Artists Building Corporation

After the tour, for those interested we’ll head to the nearby Flagship Brewery in downtown Stapleton for beers and pizza at around lunchtime for those that want to grab a bite to eat (food/drink not included in price of ticket).

The tour will begin at the St. George Ferry, where Munroe will speak about the St. George Waterfront developments, then we’ll take the Staten Island Railroad two stops down to Stapleton for the rest of the tour.