On a recent Behind the Scenes NYC tour, a series we produce with the NYCEDC, we were given access inside and onto the roof of the newly renovated Corn Exchange Building with Artimus Construction. Originally built in 1883-84, this Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival structure was designed by the architectural firm of Lamb & Rich at a time when Harlem was a suburb. The main floors were occupied by the Mount Morris Bank and Safe Deposit Company, with luxury apartments on the floors above – conveniently located next to the Metro Station. The structure had three arched entrances. One used for the apartments, one for the lower-level bank vault, and a grand entrance to the main level of the bank. In 1913, the Mount Morris Bank became a branch of the Corn Exchange Bank.


Vendy Plaza Retona Harlem Untapped Cities AFineLyne

The historic La Marqueta in East Harlem has a unique art installation gracing the ceiling of their outdoor space known as Vendy Plaza, through its cultural arm, La MarquetaRetoña. More than sixty artists participated in hand-painting para-sol umbrellas from Taipei, Taiwan, using them as their canvas. The installation, “Parasol Expo” creates a colorful ceiling for the food vendors, beer garden, salsa dancing, food market and live music that occupy the space every weekend.


When people think of the New York City underground, they usually think of the vast subway system, or maybe the sewers, and water tunnels buried deep in the bedrock. Far lesser known are the obscure tunnels – often running from building to building, or through lesser documented parts of the city. Here’s a very unique look at 7 such locations that will make you question where else there might be hidden in subterranean passageways.


Ace Lobby Hotel - Untapped Cities - Staff picks - NYCAce Hotel Lobby. Photo via Gothamist

Here’s what we’re reading in the Untapped Cities HQ today: 

Today’s top articles: 

The Hip Hop Project-Metropolitan Museum of Art-Rappers Delight-NYC

In “Juicy” when the Notorious B.I.G. says “fuck all y’all hoes,” no one expects to see an ancient artifact of a hoe (the farming kind). But Regina Flores Mit, a graduate student at Parsons design and technology program is building an exciting bridge between the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the songs of the world’s most famous rappers. Her new project, The HipHop Project (located at the URL rappersdelight.nyc), takes certain words from various rap sounds with lyrics sourced from Genius and pairs them with famous artwork from the around the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


NYC RIP-Miron Zownir-Photography-1980s-2Photograph by Miron Zownir from NYC RIP

Released in September, the book NYC RIP features 156 photographs by Miron Zownir of New York City in the gritty 1980s, focusing a large part on the sex workers along the West Side “Sex Piers” and former nudist area, gay parties before the AIDS crisis, the desperation along the Bowery, and subcultures that were once a fixture on city streets. Numerous NSFW images are published on Dazed Digital (h/t Vanishing NY) and show what is described as his “uncompromising” eye – images that will certainly make those only familiar with the more sanitized New York flinch. While the focus is on human subjects, the environment is key to the photographs which explains why Zownir has been compared to Weegee.