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MTA Arts & Design_NYC_Sandra Bloodworth_Untapped Cities_Bhushan Mondkar09‘Whirls and twirls’ by Sol LeWitt at the 59th Street – Columbus Circle station. Photo: Rob Wilson; (Top) Installation views, Images: MTA

In celebration of their upcoming 30th Anniversary, MTA Arts & Design recently launched their latest book New York’s Underground Art Museum: MTA Arts & Design, an updated companion to Along the Way which was published in 2006. The new edition features nearly 100 new works of art that have been commissioned and installed over the past eight years. Untapped Cities took this opportunity to kick start a four part series featuring our interview with Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design as well as the co-author of this fabulous book. We started with the origin and evolution followed by the various programs within Arts & Design. In this third part we discuss the process involved in installing these refreshing art pieces within the NYC transit system. The interview was conducted by Catherine McKeon Mondkar and Bhushan Mondkar.

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The Woolworth Building is one of New York City’s most famous off-limits landmarks. Though its Byzantine, cathedral-like interior of glass tesserae and marble is landmarked, security concerns after 9/11 rendered it closed to only those that worked in the skyscraper, once the tallest in the world.

We’ve worked with Woolworth Tours, a company founded by Helen Post Curry, the great-grand daughter of the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert to curate tours of the building lobby and basement level specifically tailored for our discerning readership here at Untapped Cities. Our last 2014 tour of the building will be on Thursday December 4th at 7pm led by Ryan Walsh, a landmarks preservationist working at the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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Heat Map-Illegal Apartments Dwellings-NYC-SITU Studio-311 complaints-Department of BuildingsHeat Map of Illegal Dwelling 311 Complaints by SITU Studio

Although New York City has come a long way from the tenement days of yore, it still faces problems of illegal housing. In a city as dense in New York, the modern slum isn’t something low-rise and set apart from the rest of the urban fabric–it exists within our buildings. At a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, design firm SITU Studio created an urban heat map of 311 complaints to the NYC Department of Buildings for illegal dwellings. There’s no official number, with the complaint data “the only real indicators,” as SITU Studio partner Basar Girit tells Fast Company.

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Popeye-Thanksgiving Day Parade-NYC Times Suare1961 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Popeye

If you were at the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 (then called the “Macy’s Christmas Parade”), you would have witnessed the first iteration of what became a country-wide phenomenon. The parade, with its huge balloons, ended at the Macy’s department store, where Macy’s holiday window displays were revealed to an awed crowd. Since then, the tradition of the parade has evolved and become a staple of commercialism for the city and the country. Here we look back at ten photographs of the parade over the years.

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Wild West-Old School-Wooden-Candy Store-77 Water Street-Financial District-Melvyn Kaufman-NYC

You might catch a glimpse of this Wild West-style candy store just outside the entrance to 77 Water Street in the Financial District and think it’s one of New York City’s real estate holdouts, built around with skyscrapers. But actually, it’s the quirky addition of an oddball developer named Melvyn Kaufman. In fact, 77 Water Street is full of surprising finds, including an astroturf runway on the roof adorned with a World War I-era model fighter plane.

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GOTHAM-Fox-Dark Knight-Opening-Bryant Park-New York Public LIbraryOpening screening of Gotham, at the New York Public Library Bryant Park. Gotham TV show Film Locations here.

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading from the HQ today!

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