07/24/14 4:00pm

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading today!

07/24/14 2:00pm

Tickets for our upcoming Untapped Cities tours are going fast. Our Edgar Allan Poe Greenwich Village tour is already sold out, but there are two tickets left for the August Woolworth Building tour (and more dates in October, November and December), plus new tours added of a real Prohibition Speakeasy and an adventurous Vertical Tour of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Read more about these tours and get tickets below:

Tour of the Woolworth Building Lobby and Cocktail Event – August 23rd at 12pm

Untapped Cities will be offering readers the chance for intimate, hour-long tour of the normally off-limits Woolworth Building lobby led by Lisa Swyers, a preservationist working directly with the archives of the Woolworth Building. In addition to a guided visit through the spectacular lobby, we will also visit the basement level where the bank vault is located and where the former entrances to the subway are. Other locations, as seen on previous Untapped Cities tours, will be dependent on building access on the particular day. Untapped Cities works directly with the tour guides to provide additional access not necessarily available on regular tours of the building. Following the tour, we will lead guests to an optional cocktail hour at the historic Fraunces Tavern.

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07/24/14 12:00pm

Lincoln Center-1963-Demolition

Introducing our new series with 6sqft, a publication on architecture, real estate and neighborhoods in New York City. 

The glossy cultured patina of Lincoln Center reveals nearly nothing of what the neighborhood once was, and New Yorkers, accustomed to the on-going cycle of building and demolition, have likely forgotten (or never knew) about the lively San Juan Hill that was demolished to make way for the famous cultural center. Any such development dating from the 1960s wouldn’t be without the fingerprints of the now-vilified Robert Moses, who was more than willing to cut up neighborhoods both poor and wealthy in the eye of progress.

While the tough reputation of Hell’s Kitchen on the west side just south of Lincoln Center is well-documented in the history of the Irish diaspora, the history of San Juan Hill was mostly erased by a single sweep of urban planning, by nature of simply no longer existing. As New York City expanded and industrialized, immigrant communities moved northwards. African Americans were also part of this movement, even pre-Civil War, along with their neighbors the Irish, Italians and Germans.

Originally, all groups were mixing and getting in trouble down in Five Points. Harlem’s reputation as the center of African American culture wouldn’t exist without the gradual northward movement of their community through the 1800s. After Five Points, the population moved into Greenwich Village, then to the Tenderloin in the streets between the 20s and 30s, then to Hell’s Kitchen. The area that’s now Lincoln Center was the logical next step, originally settled by the Dutch as an enclave by the name of Blooming Dale with its leafy aristocratic country homes.

Read the rest on 6sqft.

 

07/24/14 10:00am

Wetzlar-Leitz-Leica Tunnels-Jewish Refugee-WWII-Dr Ernest Leitz-Mines-Germany-021

The town of Wetzlar, Germany recently celebrated the return of iconic lens and camera manufacturer, Leica, which was founded 100 years ago in this manufacturing enclave outside Frankfurt. The new headquarters, shaped like a camera lens, offers both a look behind-the-scenes into the intricate production process of Leica cameras, as well as an exhibition space that celebrates the company’s illustrious history.

While attending the opening of the new Leica headquarters, we also learned some of the secrets of the company from the staff. One, which particularly caught our attention, was the tunnel system in Wetzlar that enabled Jewish Leica (then the Leitz company) employees to escape Nazi-controlled Germany in the late 1930s. Known by Holocaust historians as the “Leica Freedom Train,” this initiative of Dr. Ernest Leitz II and his daughter Elsie Kuehn-Leitz have all the hallmarks of a Schindler’s List-like story, but remains mostly unknown to the global public. During our trip, we were able to visit the tunnels with a local tour guide.

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07/24/14 9:00am

Nicholas Reale, the Untapped Cities resident biking expert, tour guide for Get Up and Ride and former bike messenger, shares his Top 10 Tips for biking in NYC, if you’re looking to move from the intermediate, post Citibike stage to expert urban cycler. 

top-tips-for-biking-in-nyc-4Image Source: Flickr.com by Eric Konon

With a burning desire to elevate your NYC bike lifestyle to the next level, you’ve made the $150 investment for some endearing hunk o’junk (which you will soon christen as Betsy, or whatever) from that ex-hippie that sells bikes street-side on Avenue A. It would be incorrect to call you a “newbie,” but just the same you’re not quite the “expert” yet. Below, we detail some of the top habits and tips to get acclimated with, if you wish to make biking in NYC a daily part of your routine. We’ve intentionally excluded the obvious things like, “Wear a helmet!” and, “Get a bell!” assuming that you have a functioning brain and want to keep it that way.

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07/23/14 4:00pm

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today: