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phillipe chatelain-contributor profile-nyc-untapped cities

This week, we profile Untapped Cities contributor Phillipe Chatelain, who most recently wrote about the beer caves in the Bronx and has been actively following the work of Invader in NYC.

What’s your “day job”?

Right now I work as a games attendant for the many Bryant Park activities. I’m a full-time poet and Managing Editor of In Parentheses, a literary/art magazine I founded with a friend from college.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city? 

Well, this one is tough. I really love visiting the Little Red Lighthouse at the foot of the George Washington Bridge for the amazing views of the river and bridge. But technically, my “city” is The Bronx– SO I would probably say that Castle Hill Park / Pugsley Creek Park are probably my favorites. Some people complain about the noise of the planes flying into LaGuardia Airport, but I think they’re soothing and this spot is a wonderful place to watch them.

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

Anything I’ve written from The Bronx is my favorite. But the most interesting story I’ve covered was probably this one about Jerry Gretzinger’s map of his imaginary world, because it covers many philosophical and artistic questions regarding the craft of art, the artist’s life work, and the artistic product.

What’s the most memorable thing that happened while at Untapped Cities?

It was awesome to check out the inside of the Metropolitan Club. It has always been one of those buildings that I gone past countless times, and to finally be able to go inside of it instead of gawking through the windows from the outside was just really awe-inspiring.

What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you learned at Untapped Cities?

If I had to pick the most valuable thing I learned it was to change my writing style from the poetic or critical thinking type that I had been previously used to in school and shift it slightly toward a more professional or journalistic diction that could work with the already-established “voice” of Untapped Cities.

What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?

When I lived in Spain last year, I had the amazing opportunity to explore around the country (often for much cheaper than traveling around in the US). In Basque Country, San Sebastian was possibly my favorite stop. After a day and a half of traveling (From Madrid, to Bilbao, and then San Sebastian), my friend and I were stoked to reach the mountains and beaches of this wonderful coastal city. It was filled with sublime moments, like watching the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean or climbing the steps of 200+ year old Baroque churches. I would love to revisit it. I’ve been really drawn to South America lately, especially Bogota, Colombia.

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

Goose Island sits in the Hutchinson River (right outside my window) in Co-op City, Bronx. It is uninhabited, except by many different types of birds and two bodies that are buried there. Read the full story in the obituary of the lady after whom the island is named, dated 1885.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

Honestly, spoken like a true New Yorker, I can’t say I have seen anyone worth mentioning.

What are some of your favorite websites?

Tumblr/Twitter go without saying! I obviously check Untapped Cities quite a lot, too. Rounding out my browser’s top sites include: In Parentheses (my literary magazine), Devour.

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