Cab Calloway Minnie the MoocherPhoto: RogerEbert.com

On March 3, 1931, Harlem big band leader Cab Calloway recorded “Minnie the Moocher,” the classic tale of chasing opium that made Calloway a national star and put Harlem’s big band sound on the map.

Born on Christmas Day in 1907, Calloway had moved to Harlem to break into the jazz scene, and soon won the attention of Duke Ellington’s agent, a Russian Jew from the Lower East Side named Irving Mills. When Ellington, already one of Harlem’s biggest stars, went on a 1931 national tour, Mills booked the Cab Calloway Orchestra to headline in Ellington’s place at the Cotton Club.


Grand Central Terminal- NYC-1936

Using the app Timera, New Yorker Dan Kafalas (who previously contributed a photograph to our Top 10 Secrets of the Chrysler Building piece), melds vintage photographs with images from the same locations in present day New York City. Over the past couple weeks, Kafalas went on assignment for us to capture these shots of iconic locations in the city, including Grand Central Terminal, Washington Square Arch, the Manhattan Bridge, and Union Square, along with quaint streets like Charles Street in Greenwich Village and Varick Street in Tribeca. Take a look below for more:


Our Untapped Cities events series has grown quite a bit, thanks to all of you intrepid explorers. While many of our upcoming events are sold out (or awaiting new dates for the waitlisters), we’ve got some new upcoming tours that still have space. From a tour of an authentic Prohibition era speakeasy, a tour and tasting at Industry City Distillery, to a visit to the off-limits Woolworth Building, these are just a sampling of what we have in store.

Woolworth Building Tour: April 18th & May 16th

Untapped Cities will be offering readers the chance for intimate, hour-long tour of the normally off-limits Woolworth Building lobby led by Lisa Renz, 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 Tiny’s. Buy Tickets


We’re pretty sure in New York City you can get any food you can dream up, and we credit that to the melting pot that the city is and its population that likes to push the boundaries. Here are 10 of the weirdest and most bizarre foods available here that will probably make you pucker up (or for some, make your taste buds water).

1. Live Octopus at Sik Gaek

Live Octopus-Sik Gaek-Flushing-Woodside-Bizarre Weird Foods-NYCPhoto via Yelp by Wing L.

Korean restaurant Sik Gaek has two locations, one in Woodside and one in Flushing. The real delicacy is the live octopus. Yes, it’s served to you squirming. People describe it as “chewy,” “slimy,” but also for some, their “favorite dish.” Make sure to call in advance if you want to order it, as it’s not always available.


Abandoned Children's Hospital-Seaview Hospital-Staten Island-NYC-004Photo by @nativenyc

Seaview Hospital was once the largest tuberculosis sanatorium in the country, now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is also a U.S. Historic District and New York City landmark. The historic district, which was developed next to the Staten Island Farm Colony, includes 37 buildings planned and developed between 1905 and 1938. The NYC.gov website for the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center & Home gives no indication of the surrounding abandonment, but indeed a few organizations have returned to operate from within the grounds, including a rehab center, volunteer firefighting organization and volunteer ambulance service. The photographic team of f/11 recently took a visit inside the crumbling remains of the Children’s Hospital at Seaview, as well as the underground tunnels beneath the main building, and shared with us their photos.


Roseland Ballroom-Demolition-NYC

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