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Posts by michelle young:

Articles By: michelle young

Michelle is the founder of Untapped Cities. Michelle can usually be found in New York (where she grew up), Paris, backpacking in South America or Southeast Asia, or in-transit between. She’s traveled to 40+ countries, has an obsession with buses and shoots with a Canon SLR camera. She is an author of 100 Ways to Make History, published by the New York Public Library and is currently working on a book on the history of Broadway for Arcadia. She holds a masters in urban planning from Columbia University, where she is an adjunct professor, a B.A. from Harvard in the History of Art & Architecture, and is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music. Follow her on Twitter @untappedmich.


Public Theater-Lafayette Street-Astor Place-New York Symphony-Film Locations-Mozart in the Jungle-Amazon

The show Mozart in the Jungle, a commissioned series by Amazon for Prime Instant Video will return for a second season this fall starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Lola Kirke and Jason Schwarzman. Based in New York City and inspired by the book Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, a memoir by oboe player Blair Tindall, the show is set in New York City and follows the trials and tribulations of Hailey, an oboe player and her encounters with Rodrigo, the international superstar who is the new music director and conductor of the troubled (and fictional) New York Symphony.

Beyond an entertaining, binge-worthy first season, Mozart in the Jungle features some wonderful film locations, which urban explorers will recognize. It’s clear the film scouts on this show knows their stuff about New York City and its alternative side. Here are some highlights of New York City film locations from the first season:

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George Washington Bridge-Dave Freider-Pedestrian Path-Toll-Washington Heights-Panorama-NYC-2

The 2010s have been the era of the teenage urban explorer, all motivated by many different reasons. Some for sheer brashness, some for Instagram fame, some for architectural preservationist reasons. It is also a response, we believe, to the shrinking numbers of places in New York City to explore without rules and regulations. With social media, we have seen more entrants into the urban explorer community, the expected clash between old school and new school, and a faster rise in awareness for the savviest of urban explorers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is photographer Dave Frieder, also known as “The Bridge Man.” Over the last 22 years, he has been patiently documenting New York City’s bridges using film, predominantly from foot tingling perspectives up top. In 2013, we accompanied him to his favorite bridge, the George Washington Bridge, where he recounted the long quest to get his work known.

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NASA Graphics Standard Manual-Kickstarter-Hamish Smyth-Jesse Reed-Pentagram-NYC

From Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, the same duo from design firm Pentagram that reissued the 1970 NYC Subway Graphics Standard Manual and the poster of all 468 subway stations in New York City, now comes a new Kickstarter campaign to reissue the 1975 NASA Graphics Standard Manual. This controversial manual, by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn of the New York firm Danne & Blackburn, was approved in 1974 to much fanfare, but as Reed and Smyth write, “over the next 18 years, some people at NASA will attempt to revoke their work. And they will succeed in 1992.” The team aims to highlight this moment in design history–one of the excellent examples of Modernist graphic design during a forward-thinking era.

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WNYC Map Distance to NYC Parks-Open Space per Resident

WNYC’s Data News Team has mapped out New York City’s open space accessibility, both in terms of distance to a park and the amount of space, per thousands of residents. Currently, the New York City Parks Department reports that 79% of New Yorkers have access to a small and large park in under ten minutes, but they aim to increase that to 85% by 2030. And as WNYC reports, while the city is doing pretty well in terms of park access, it’s not #1 in the country: “We currently rank fifth out of the 75 most populous cities in the US, according to the Trust for Public Land.”

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76th Street-Subway Station-Abandoned-Unused-Ozone Park-Queens-A Line-Dark Cyanide-NYC-2

There may be no other subway station more contentious among subway buffs than the 76th Street subway station in Queens, an IND station on the A line near Ozone Park, Queens that the The New York Times calls the “Roswell” of the New York City subway system. Its existence is hotly debated but urban explorer Dark Cyanide says us he’s gotten closer than most and shared the photos of his exploration.

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Mapdwell MIT Solar System Potential Map-NYC-2

In 2009, we remember late professor Mojdeh Baratloo sharing about her work mapping solar potential of rooftops in New York City. The work was conceptual then and open-source data was in the early stages. But last week, Mapdwell, a collective of academics and researchers from M.I.T., launched the site Solar System, which maps solar rooftop potential in eight American cities, including New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, as well as two cities in Chile. The interactive map allows you to select specific buildings and will calculate the cost of installing a solar system (including tax credits), the number of years it will take to pay back the investment, the revenue per year, and the carbon offset.

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