Posts by mariannehoward:

Articles By: marianne howard

Marianne received her BA from the University at Albany and her MA from Arizona State University, both degrees in Anthropology. After working in the museum field for ten years, she switched gears and now works in program development and special events for a Manhattan-based health and research non-profit. She loves history, the outdoors, and travel and keeps a blog about the life of her two golden retrievers.

mills pond house-front-smithtown-long island-ny-untapped citiesImage via Yelp

What was once a grand Long Island farmhouse now stands repurposed as an interactive art gallery. Located in St. James, the Mills Pond House is now the home of the Smithtown Township Arts Council, a non-profit which promotes the arts through educational exhibitions, programs and outreach. The Arts Council boasts a flourishing summer camp program and holds puppetry, music, dance, art instruction and cultural programs year round.  (more…)

Co-written by Samantha Sokol

Untapped Cities-South Street-Museum of the City of New YorkThis photo dates to 1895 and shows South Street looking north to Broad Street.  In the background, many masts of ships are visible. Source: Museum of the City of New York.

The Southern tip of New York City wasn’t always as wide as it currently is. Originally, the eastern shoreline of Manhattan was in the vicinity of the current Pearl Street, as shown in the map below.  As the shipping industry and the port of Manhattan grew to become the engine behind the thriving economy of New York, expanding the shoreline the city could add more piers and docks which could service the increasing sea traffic. As a result, the Dutch started using landfill to expand Manhattan’s area, and Water Street, Front Street, and South street were completed by 1815. (more…)

Museums Without Walls-App-Untapped Cities-Location Search

The Museum Without Walls app is sponsored by CultureNOW, an organization formed in 2002 which celebrates our surroundings as a gallery itself. By mapping art, architecture and history in nine U.S. cities, CultureNOW hopes the app will help residents better understand the richness and diversity of their communities.

The user uncovers art and architecture in the public realm, in other words a “Museum Without Walls,” and can explore over 10,000 sites. The app is supplemented by over 750 podcasts by artists, architects, historians and curators. The app was voted New York’s Best Cultural App of 2011 and was a winner of the NY Big Apps 2.0 competition.


Tucked between two office buildings at 55 Water Street is a hard-to-find escalator which whisks you up to The Elevated Acre. Don’t be daunted though, this transformed public plaza well worth the hunt.

The Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street was actually completed in the early 1970s. After new zoning regulations for skyscrapers were passed in 1961, developers could add an additional six and a half stories to a building’s height if it included a public plaza on the property. So, while this outdoor space was always there, the current design was just completed in 2005 by Rogers Marvel Architects, designers of other public spaces including Bronx’s Mill Pond Park, Washington DC’s Constitution Gardens, and Jersey City’s Berry Lane Park. The firm won an international competition to transform this one acre from a barren deck to a vibrant public park which hosts numerous programs – outdoor movies, weddings, and dance performances as part of the River to River Festival. For most though, the Elevated Acre remains a favorite lunch spot for weekday commuters.


Inisfada-Long Island-Mansion-Jesuits-Nicholas Brady-Manhasset. 23 016Inisfada in Manhasset, Long Island. Photo via Mansions of the Gilded Age

On June 3rd, the doors closed on Inisfada, once the fourth largest estate on Long Island during the 1920s. It had been sold to the the New York Province of the Society of Jesus in 1937, concerted into a Jesuit retreat house in the 1960s and was used in that capacity for the past fifty years until they were no longer afford to keep it open.  (more…)

Sefton Manor-Gold Coast Estate-Repurposed

According to the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, approximately 58% of mansions built on Long Island between the Civil War and World War II have now been repurposed. By sidestepping the rising cost of living and increasing taxes, the Long Island elite could still maintain the legacy of their philanthropic natures by donating their estate to a non-profit or government agency, which would in turn, use the estate for educational, religious, or other purposes. The alternative? Often times, it was abandonment. As the Gold Coast era drew to a close and lost its cache, Long Island became more accessible to the middle class. Veterans returning home from World War II could now find more affordable housing in suburbs like Levittown. Robert Moses created parkways and public beaches, bringing masses from Manhattan eastward to enjoy some of the recreation Long Island had to offer.  (more…)