Today, we profile Untapped Cities contributor Jeff Reuben who has written about the Secrets of Brooklyn Heights, the reopening of High Bridge and discovered the hidden history Harlem’s townhouses.


Beauty Hair shop Bukchon South Korea

Silicon Valley isn’t the only place in the United States that could learn from Seoul (as trumpeted by the New York Times Magazine in early June). So could New York City. Seoul, South Korea, is older by centuries than New York, but it is also younger. Devastated by the Korean War in which whole neighborhoods were demolished, Seoul had to rebuild and recreate itself after the ending of the war in July 1953.

It has since grown into one of the most energetic and compelling of global cities. It is simultaneously gorgeous (sleek skyscrapers lit up nightly in dazzling colors) and ugly (blocks of monumental concrete buildings erected to military standards to withstand bombing).


New Stapleton Waterfront-The Cove-Rendering-NYCEDCRendering of future Stapleton Waterfront Esplanade with reclaimed wetlands

Staten Island is the next frontier of urban development in New York City, with the forthcoming arrival of the world’s tallest ferris wheel and the St. George Waterfront development. While these projects are currently under construction, there’s already a lot happening. In our next Behind the Scenes NYC tour with the NYC Economic Development Corporation, we’ll be doing a walking tour of the New Stapleton Waterfront with the NYCEDC’s Munro Johnson, Vice President of Development for Staten Island on Saturday, July 25th at 10am.

Stops on this walking tour will include:

  • SI Makerspace, an arts, technology and business incubator for NYCEDC
  • The New Stapleton Waterfront development project with Ironstate Development speaking on the construction progress of the decommissioned U.S. Naval Base, to be turned into a mixed-use development and public waterfront esplanade
  • The Stapleton Town Center (with a representative from the Neighborhood Association)
  • Staten Island Artists Building Corporation

After the tour, for those interested we’ll head to the nearby Flagship Brewery in downtown Stapleton for beers and pizza at around lunchtime for those that want to grab a bite to eat (food/drink not included in price of ticket).

The tour will begin at the St. George Ferry, where Munroe will speak about the St. George Waterfront developments, then we’ll take the Staten Island Railroad two stops down to Stapleton for the rest of the tour. 

The Statue of Liberty may be one of the most visited sites in New York City (if you’re willing to battle with the tourists), but it too has a long list of secrets and fun facts. Here we explore the history and architectural details that make the Statue of Liberty still one of the most unique landmarks in the city.

Designed as a gift to the United States, the Statue of Liberty (officially called Liberty Enlightening the World) has always maintained a connection to its native France. It was dreamt up by Edouard Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, a French abolitionist, lawyer, and poet. Its exterior was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor, its interior created by Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer. It was built in France and paid for by its citizens.


Van Cortlandt Park-NYC-Catherine Mondkar-Untapped Cities-002A mock battle staged in the Parade Ground in Van Cortlandt Park held by the National Guard in 1902. Image source: Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and the George Stonebridge Family

Native Americans, European Americans and African Americans have served as brothers-in-arms since the American Revolution. On August 31, 1778, an area of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx now called Indian Field, was the site of a Patriot defeat in the American war for independence. Here, members of the Stockbridge Mohicans, laid down their lives in the Battle of Van Cortlandt Wood, also known as the Battle of Kingsbridge.


freedom of the human spirit world's fair-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via nytimes.com

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