Articles by

ben huff

A graduate of Columbia University's Urban Planning program. Ben's interests include historical accuracy, post apocalyptic movies set in New York, being a coffee snob, and occasionally writing about something interesting.

06/27/14 12:00pm

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Once upon a time the independent city of Brooklyn considered its own fate as it faced both bankruptcy and drought as its quest to supply its own citizens with water was failing, and money was running out to provide vital services and keep roads paved.  Ultimately Brooklyn chose to be annexed by the City of New York, at the time just Manhattan, to avert disaster. Water was a key turning point in this negotiation and, according to Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione, certainly one of the main reasons Brooklyn–then the 3rd most populous city in the United States–chose to join what would become the uncontested largest city in America.

Although it was a failure, the Brooklyn’s attempt to supply its own citizens with water has left an interesting mark on the urban landscape of Brooklyn and Queens.  We joined Matthew Malina of NYC H2O, a non-profit that focuses on environmental education, and Michael Miscione on a bike tour of the remnants of this system and received an in-depth history of how it was built and why it failed.

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06/20/14 2:00pm

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On Saturday June 21st, the North Brooklyn Boat Club will be celebrating the longest day of the year with food, drinks and live music at their boatyard on Newtown Creek.  Come down and check out the facilities, talk to members, and enjoy beautiful views of Midtown from the boat launch. Set to play on top of the shipping containers are Whiskey Bitches , PuppiesMetorana,Throw Vision, and Late Cambrian.

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02/27/14 12:00pm

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Last Friday a couple dozen people gathered in to a ground floor loft at 56 Bogart in Bushwick for an opening of a new exhibit at fuchs projects

LandLords, as the exhibit is aptly named, is original work done by the gallery owner, Rafael Fuchs, and the pieces were inspired by the difficulties he has had renting both apartments and studio space in North Brooklyn. Fuchs started this project a few years ago, but decided he needed to finish it after the recent death and tabloid exposure of Hasidic landlord, Menachem Stark(more…)

12/02/13 2:00pm

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The Last Bookstore. Thankfully this is not a true statement, but the provocative name and lettering on the sign are enough to make anyone wandering around Downtown Los Angeles curious. This might be one of the largest bookstores you’ll ever see, inconspicuously tucked away in a former bank on Spring street.

The store’s name is a play on words. The owners are well aware that the book selling industry is in a sort of crisis, but this never fazed them. The store’s first incarnation was a downtown loft in 2005, and when their online-only shop started to take off, they decided to find a brick and mortar space.  They opened a shop on 4th and Main in 2009, but as the only store that bought used books, they quickly filled out their shelves.  When that lease was up they moved into the current 10,000 square foot location.  (more…)

11/22/13 2:00pm

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He ran on a “Tale of Two Cities” platform, and when he enters office on January 1st, Bill De Blasio will have to put a lot of forces in motion to tackle the issue of homelessness in New York City.  To continue to shed light on this subject The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs recently hosted a public forum featuring a mix of academics and scholars, all of whom work on this issue daily.

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09/11/13 3:00pm

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Over the weekend, Untapped Cities checked out the Waterfront Museum‘s barge, the Lehigh Valley No. 79 in Red Hook as the organization prepares to host a fundraising Pirate Ball on September 19th. The festive party is to kick off No. 79′s 100th birthday, and start an endowment to continue the mission and preservation of the boat.

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