The underground of any city is fascinating. It reveals layers of history, things thought discarded or tucked away. It contains the underbelly of the city’s infrastructure. While the catacombs of New York City, Paris and other cities may be the most Halloween-esque for today’s holiday, we thought it would be fun to round up some of the city’s most interesting vaults. Instead of bodies and bones, these are subterranean spaces deliberately set aside for storing important and precious items. What is most interesting is the range in types of vaults here in New York City (no, money doesn’t make everything go around here, even though it might seem like it).

1. The Federal Reserve Gold Vault

1-Federal-Reserve-gold-new york-untapped cities-wesley yiinSource: Open Currency


Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria

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

Today’s most popular articles: 10 of the Best Noodle Soups in NYC from Ramen to Hand-Pulled Noodles10 Hidden Apartments in NYC & ParisInside the Newly Renovated United Nations Complex in NYC

There’s a lovely video spreading around the internet called Paris / New York, so well done you don’t realize it’s an ad for British Airways until the very end. Of course, it takes on a city duality comparison already heavily explored from Varham Muratyan’s influential illustrated series Paris v. New York: A Tally of Two Cities, to our own Parisians v. New Yorkers live drawing event at the French Embassy with illustrator David Cessac. Time lapse videos in Paris are also popular fare–with Luke Shepard’s groundbreaking one, Le Flâneur, a few years back. But, who doesn’t love a video of Paris and New York City all together? So, here are three! But first, some striking screen shots of the video, via Fubiz.


Over the last six weeks, The New York Times has presents a video series called “Living City,”explaining New York City’s infrastructure and making it more accessible to the public. By bringing in MTA and city officials, anthropologists, architects, historians, artists, writers, and regular New Yorkers, these short documentaries by Melanie Burford and Greg Moyer of Blue Chalk are generating real interest in urban issues. Here’s as recap of the five videos, explaining where the city’s trash goes, how the steam system works, the development of the 2nd Avenue subway line, rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, and the story of the Tappan Zee Bridge.


Times Square Toshiba-Bond-Sign-1980s-Municipal Archives-NYC

In 1939, the City began using photography to appraise building values for tax purposes. As a result, 750,000 pictures were taken of every building in the five boroughs. In the 1980s the pictures were updated, resulting in a collection of 900,000 photos. The images from the 1940s database can be accessed via the Municipal Archives reference room at 31 Chambers Street, but the 1980s collection has been digitized and made available online. Click here for instructions on how to search for a specific building and how to order a print of it.


Marathon-Untapped Cities-Bronx-Van Cortland-NYC-HistoryNYC Marathon Runners (Image via NYC Parks)

This Sunday, the TCS New York City Marathon will once again feature over 40,000 runners, along with a countless number of Gatorade cups, filling the 26.2 mile route across all of the cities boroughs. The marathon is the largest in the country, with thousands of spectators along the marathon route, and millions of people watching at home. The event is one of the biggest in NYC, with a storied history we covered and updated for this year’s marathon. However, the historical relationship between NYC  and marathons has its origins long before the current incarnation started in 1970. Beginning in the early 1900s, marathons have been events that have captured the attention of New Yorkers. For a look back, we present a timeline of the major marathons held in NYC before the birth of the current NYC Marathon.