Peter Peg Leg
Painting of Peter Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam’s fourth and most notorious Director General. Image via All-Len-All. 

On July 25, 1647, New York City’s first zoning law was put into place. The law came from the iron fist (or wooden peg) of Director General Peter Stuyvesant himself. It was one of the first in a series of decrees meant to transform New Amsterdam from the unruly backwater it had become to a full-fledged city. (Coincidentally, Sunday was also the 100th Anniversary of NYC’s Zoning Resolution of 1916, and the Center for Architecture released a website in celebration, Zoning @ 100).


Everyday, billions of gallons of water are used in New York City for showers, filling up toilet bowls and consumption – and one government agency ensures that the entire system stays intact. The Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for maintaining New York City’s water supply, as well as the city’s air quality and excessive noise caused by everyday occurrences.

Here are 10 Secrets of the Department of Environmental Protection and New York City’s water supply.


Big Apple Circus-Shutting Down-NYCPhoto via Flickr/Debbie R

Here’s what we’re reading at the Untapped HQ: 

Today’s top articles: 

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On Thursday, August 25th at 6:30pm, join us for a Behind the Scenes NYC Tour of the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, a state-of the-art recycling facility located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). The facility is the result of a public-private partnership between New York City and Sims.

Completed in 2013 using sustainable design practices, the reactivated site processes all plastic, metal, and glass collected by the Department of Sanitation and helps traffic the City of New York’s recyclables while creating jobs for the local community. Eadaoin Quinn, Education Coordinator at Sims, will take Untapped Cities readers behind the scenes of the recycling plant, which currently occupies 11 acres of SBMT. Join us for a 90-minute tour and get a insider look at the City’s recycling process. Tickets are limited.

Operated by Sims Municipal Recycling, the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility is New York City’s principal recycling center receiving approximately 20,000 tons of residential metal, glass, plastic and paper every month. The facility features advanced sorting equipment, award-winning architectural design, interactive educational displays, a 600kW solar panel array and NYC’s first commercial-scale wind turbine.

The Untapped Cities Behind the Scenes NYC Tour Series is produced in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to provide special access to some of the city’s most exciting development projects.

Here is an aerial picture of the SIMS recycling facility:

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Check out more Untapped Cities Behind the Scenes tours.

Bloomingdale's TIme Capsules-Cornerstone-Babe Ruth Baseball-003

The pleasant but befuddled young media handler interrupted my story: “Bloomingdale’s has a time capsule?” Well actually, there were two time capsules, I told her, placed in the cornerstones on Lexington Avenue, by Fifty-ninth Street, back when the economy was careering off the rails during early Great Depression days. Did they have forgotten documents related to the event?

“To be honest most of our early archives are not yet digitalized, so I don’t know who to even ask, I need to get back to you on this…”

It’s not that Bloomingdale’s staff never knew their Art Deco-era flagship store housed time capsules. Starting at 4 p.m. on April 23, 1930, a number of bigwigs spoke before several hundred businessmen and city officers. But as Jim Morrison said, “The future is uncertain but the end is always near.” It is very likely that everyone who witnessed the event is dead, and their collective memories are buried with them.


Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Rajkiran Pericherla

The USS Intrepid, the decommissioned United States aircraft carrier, has been a mainstay on the New York City shoreline since 1982. Offering insight into a type of place that very few people see, this carrier is a perfect learning experience for people of all ages. But the big question is how much do people actually know about the famous ship? Well, here are ten secrets that you may not have known about the Intrepid.