Photos from Atop 432 Park Avenue

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

Rooftop-Dancers-in-Paris-by-JR-Palsis Garnier-Inside Out-Untapped Cities

In the three years after he called for a “participatory art project” at a TED conference in Long Beach, California, French street artist JR and his Inside Out Project has become one of the most ambitious and appealing art projects in the world. Since 2011, the art project has expanded from the streets and villages acrossthe globe, to installations in places like our own Lincoln Center, Times SquareEllis Island and the Paris Pantheon.

One aspect of the Inside Out Project that JR has picked up during his many travels is the photography of ballet dancers. Inspired by his time at Lincoln Center photographing the NYCB, Jr has once again photographed ballet dancers, this time on the roof of the famous Palais Garnier, one of the homes of the Paris opera.


IMG_2231 seaman drake arch

Yesterday, we covered 8 of NYC’s monumental arches, including two that are no longer standing today. One, the Seaman-Drake arch still exists but is mostly forgotten and graffiti-ridden. This 35-foot high marble arch is now partially obscured behind buildings in Inwood. The arch is a remnant of a once wealthy family, whose marble estate was once entered via this monumental arch. According to The New York Times, the Drake family built their estate in 1855 on a hilltop north of the Dyckman family, using marble quarried from a location at the foot of the hill along Broadway. A low marble wall extended from the arch, which was said to be an exact replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


New York Historical Society-Time Capsule-New York Business Men's Association-1915-NYCImage via New York Historical Society

It seems to be the month of time capsule openings here in New York City, with a 1949 time capsule that was just opened this morning on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Next week on October 8th, the New York Historical Society will open a bronze one from a century ago deposited by the Lower Wall Street Business Men’s Association. In fact, it’s the oldest, unopened time capsule because it was temporarily lost for a few decades.


Nas-Time Is Illmatic-Untapped Cities-Hip Hop-Queens-NYCNas: Time Is Illmatic (Photo via Facebook)

If you know anything about Hip-Hop you know what Illmatic represents. You know it was the first album to achieve the highest rating the The Source Magazine can award an album, 5 Mics. It birthed the career of Brooklyn rapper AZ, whose guest verse on the albums second song is considered one of the greatest debut verses of all time. Artists would claim that Illmatic inspired them to pursu music. 20 years ago, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones forever changed the Hip-Hop world with just nine tracks.

Making a documentary on what many people have compared to Citizen Kane is a daunting task. How could a first time director truly make a documentary worthy of Illmatic’s legacy? The answer was something we were not prepared for. For us, watching Nas: Time Is Illmatic in Queensbridge, the country’s largest housing project and the inspiration for Nas’ first and still most championed work, we witnessed more than just a music  documentary. We witnessed a film about romance–a romance between a man and his culture, his family and his neighborhood.


Old Times Square-Long Acre Square-Cobblestone-NYCTimes Square, then Long Acre Square in 1905

We’ve been doing a bit of research about Times Square these days, in a forthcoming book about the history of Broadway that we’re working on. The Library of Congress has as great repository of vintage photographs and we’d thought we’d share the striking evolution of Times Square from 1905 to today.