Kristin Heckler and Ashley Custer are a New York couple that launched Uprooted, New York City’s first mobile flower truck, in April. Since then, they’ve been hand-crafting bouquets daily on curbs and in flea markets all over the city. With obviously similarities to another successful New York City enterprise, the food truck, Uprooted made the transition to mobile business pretty seamlessly.


For those of us that lived through the peaceful blackout of 2003 in New York City, an outage that affected eight states as well as Ontario, Canada, there was always the memory of the violent 1977 blackout. Though lasting only two days, the earlier blackout was situated in a much different social time. New York City was virtually bankrupt, now gentrified neighborhoods like the East Village could be dangerous places to be after hours. Fear-mongering was prevalent in this tough time of high unemployment–the Fear-City anti-tourist pamphlet came out in 1975, an extreme reaction to layoffs in police, firefighting, sanitation, and other municipal services. To top it off, the Son of Sam, New York City’s most notorious serial killer was still on the loose.

In “Blackout,” the latest AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on PBS, explores what happened on the hot and humid day of July 13, 1977 and the days to follow. Lightning took out an electrical line in Westchester County, leading to a domino effect of downed lines from an overload of demand. Con Edison engineers were forced to disconnect customers to prevent a total failure of the system. But a story like this is better told through New Yorkers themselves, including first responders, journalists, shop owners, and those who worked in the Con Edison control center on West End Avenue. This exclusive clip on Untapped Cities shows, among other accounts, how disconnected even the police force was–their cars lacked AM/FM radios to begin with and for some, the portable radios went down.


new york hall of science reopening architecture-NYC-Untapped CitiesThe renovated New York Hall of Science’s Great Hall. Image via archdaily.com

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


Today’s Popular Articles:

lights of new york poster1928-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via museum.walterfilm.com

87 years ago at midnight on July 6th, audiences in New York saw a talkie for the first time in history. “Lights of New York,” which premiered nationwide a few weeks later, was screened at the Strand Theatre in Times Square and was billed as the world’s first ‘all-talking’ motion picture. The film, a pioneer of the 30s-era crime dramas that captivated audiences, nevertheless garnered a lukewarm reception from critics, especially a New York Times review that called the plot “crude in the extreme.”

But, the picture’s gross of $1,000,000, a veritable blockbuster for its time, seems to show that most audiences weren’t there to absorb the plot.


martini on the rock Algonquin Hotel-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via joonbug.com

The Algonquin on West 44th Street is a 181-room hotel that opened in 1902 that saw its rebirth as a literary haunt in the 20s and 30s when its owner and manager Frank Case transformed the place into a popular meeting place for writers. To this day, it offers discounted rooms to struggling writers in return for an autographed book and has housed a cat, either named Mathilda or Hamlet depending on the gender, in honor of the hotel’s original cat since the 30s.

Is it starting to become clear that ‘normal’ isn’t exactly the way the Algonquin does it? Here’s another head-scratcher: the hotel’s Blue Bar has been serving what it calls a ‘Martini on the Rock‘ since its $3 million renovation in 2005, a martini of the customer’s choice with with a diamond, its single ‘rock,’ placed at the bottom. The drink costs $10,000.


The Museum at Eldridge Street. Image by Peter Aaron

Come discover the history, architecture and the magical sanctuary of the landmarked Eldridge Street Synagogue, a beautiful house of worship built by Eastern European immigrants in America, in our After Hours Tour and Wine Reception on Wednesday, July 22nd, co-presented by Untapped Cities and the Museum at Eldridge Street. This will be our Summer Happy Hour event for our readers and contributor community, so come on down, we’d love to meet you.

You’ll step into the footsteps of the synagogue’s immigrant founders who finally got to celebrate their religion gloriously and openly in the free land of America. Swap historical facts and quirky architectural detail over wine. Be on the lookout for the parts of unrestored lath and plaster in the building’s balcony which reveal how the building is put together, with brick, lath, plaster, even pieces of horse-hair, used to bind the plaster.

Tickets are 25% off for Untapped Cities readers using discount code UNTAPPED. (Tickets for the neighborhood tour beforehand are now sold out).

Museum at Eldridge Street- New York City - NYC - Lower East SideThe Museum at Eldridge Street. Image by Peter Aaron

Discover more of our Untapped Cities Tours and Events here.