The Museum of the City of New York will launch a comprehensive exhibit, New York At Its Core, on November 18th that chronicles 400 years of the history of the city. The exhibit will occupy the entire first floor of the museum and will include 400 artifacts and significant objects ranging from those connected to Alexander Hamilton to Jay-Z. The first trailer for the exhibit, released on August, tells the story of an apple peeler – an opening to a discussion about the culinary and social history of the Lower East Side. This new trailer (above), released exclusively first to Untapped Cities by the museum, follows the story of the city’s confrontation of the civil rights movement from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Harlem.


Aerial view of Rikers Island. Image via Wikimedia Commons: U.S. Geological Survey

Rikers IslandNew York City’s main jail complex (and the island it sits on), is situated on the East River, between Queens and the Bronx. As one of the largest correctional institutions in the world, the facility is comprised of 10 jails which have a total capacity of nearly 17,000 people – although daily numbers are between 7000 and 9000 .In fact, it has been referred to as the “World’s Largest Penal Colony.” As a jail however, stays are one year or shorter, with a large portion of detainees who can’t afford bail simply awaiting hearings and trials. 60,000 people men and women return home from Rikers Island each year.

For some time, Rikers Island has peaked our interests; so, in 2010, when someone on the Untapped Cities team officially received access inside, we made sure to document the experience as we learned about its secrets hidden beyond the ID checkpoints and X-ray scanners of the facility.


Times Square’s Palace Theatre. Image via Flickr: Randy Lemoine

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

    Today’s popular articles:

    This image of 23rd Street and Broadway is viewable in Times Square on the Membit app. Membit is a new augmented reality app that gives you a way to share the past with the present and a way to share the present with the future. It’s so new it isn’t even in the App Store yet, it’s in beta. If you would like to try it out before everyone else, click here.

    On October 17, 1966 a devastating fire claimed the lives of 12 firefighters, the most dead after 9/11, in what is called today “The 23rd Street Fire.”

    At 9:30pm that evening a fire was reported in the cellar of an art dealer at 7 West 22nd Street, one block south of the Flatiron Building. Although no one knows exactly how the fire started, the basement was filled with highly flammable paints and supplies which caught fire quickly. When the first wave of firefighter’s responded they realized they couldn’t get to the fire through the art dealer’s ground floor entrance because of the thick smoke and intense heat so they went around the corner to the Wonder Drug on 23rd Street.


    paparazzi dogs

    They’re back! The Paparazzi Dogs have left the Pearl Street Triangle in Dumbo, and resettled at the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle at the intersection of Greenwich Avenue, Avenue of the Americas, and Eighth Street. Created by Australian husband and wife team of Gillie and Marc, The Paparazzi Dogs have cameras aimed at the doors to C. O. Bigelow Apothecaries, the oldest surviving apothecary in the United States. No word on how long the four sculptures will be at that location.


    Mulry Square

    With the new Metropolitan Transit Authority ventilation system complete (looking like a fake townhouse), the Tiles for America have been permanently reinstalled on the three walls of the new structure. The tiles were created after 9/11 by artists and local residents, and spontaneously placed on the chain-link fence that surrounded the empty lot where the new MTA facility now resides. It became a gathering place for the people in the community, with additional tiles adorning the fence over the years.