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Broadway-Trinity Church-Vintage Photography-Michelle Young BookLower Broadway c. 1908-1913. Image via Library of Congress as seen in the book Broadway by Michelle Young

Here at Untapped Cities, we have a soft spot for vintage photographs–and not just for the nostalgic aspect. It’s also because what earlier photographers chose to document and what they chose to leave out give weight to the importance of certain moments in history and the consequence of the buildings that awed their aesthetic sensibilities. Releasing next week (but available for pre-order now on Amazon), is the new book Broadway by Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young about the history of Broadway as a street in New York City. Reproduced below is a modified excerpt from the forthcoming publication.

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Pac-Man Google Maps-Screenshot-NYC-Madison Square ParkMadison Square Park and Flatiron Building in Pac-Man mode on Google Maps

If you read in the news yesterday that you could play Pac-Man in Google Maps, but didn’t get to it–do not fret. It’s still available. Just navigate to Google Maps on your desktop browser and you’ll see the normal option to toggle to Google Earth in the bottom left, and a new icon to toggle to Pac-Man mode. Most fun is that you can choose anywhere around the world, and that becomes your game frame. There’s sound too, but luckily it defaults to mute so your coworkers may not hear the siren sounds coming from your computer.

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Jonas-Salks-Childhood-Home-The Bronx-853 Elmsere Place-Historic Landmarks Medallion Jonas Salk lived with his family in an apartment complex located on 853 Elsmere Place in the borough of the Bronx

Last Thursday, the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center held a cultural medallion ceremony at the childhood home of world renowned scientist and humanitarian Jonas Salk, the man who developed the world’s first polio vaccine. Born on October 28, 1914, Jonas Salk lived with his parents and two younger siblings in an apartment complex located at 853 Elsmere Place in the Bronx.  Jonas Salk’s cultural medallion plaque states that, “In 1955, he developed the first polio vaccine with his research team at the University of Pittsburgh, at a time when polio crippled tens of thousands in the U.S. annually.”

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Last night, the latest Blueprint video from NYCmedia about the transformation of The High Line premiered. Before the full episode is available for streaming, here’s a reminder of where we’ve come since the High Line was constructed in 1934.

By 1934, the Manhattan’s West Side Elevated Line was constructed as part of a massive urban redevelopment project, spearheaded in part by Robert Moses. This was not the only elevated train line in Manhattan at the time. Its novelty, however, came by way of its path, bisecting city blocks, rather than running directly over traffic. Trains running on the High Line unloaded their cargo directly into buildings on Manhattan’s West Side, such as the warehouses for the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco), the present-day Chelsea Market. The original High Line tracks ran as far south as Spring Street, almost twice its current length. Though by 1961, most of this southern section had been demolished. 

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Smoking Ban-Mayor Michael Bloomberg-NYCImage via NPR

History remembers bold moves. Mayor Michael Bloomberg called his 2002 restaurant and bar smoking ban one of the most important things he had done in his life. It took effect 12 years ago, on March 30, 2003.

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Orange County Government Center-Goshen-Hurricane Irene-FEMA-Paul Rudolph-Brutalism-NY
This is the abandoned Orange County Government Center. Would you save it? It was built in 1970 and abandoned in 2011. It sits in the town of Goshen, New York, on the outermost fringes of the New York City Metropolitan area. It’s as far out as you can get while still being pulled ever so slightly towards midtown Manhattan, like a comet is pulled towards the sun.

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