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.

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New York Compost, a project by designer Debbie Ullman,  a former art director at the New York Daily News takes those ubiquitous but underutilized newspaper boxes you see on the sidewalks of New York City and turns them into clever, guerrilla composting sites. A composting proponent, Ullman uses decommissioned newspaper boxes to collect compost to make the experience fun, memorable, and transformative.


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The new Amazon show, Man in the High Castle is (loosely) based on the 1962 book by Philip P. Dick that reimagines the United States if the Allied forces had lost World War II. The East Coast to the Rocky Mountains, known as the “Greater Nazi Reich,” is ruled by the Nazi regime. The Japanese Pacific States in the west is ruled by the Japanese, with a thin Neutral Zone in the center of the country serving as a buffer between the two. The show takes place across the country, with two home bases – New York City and San Francisco, and traces the lives of two main characters – Juliana Crain and Joe Blake, two characters from opposite sides of the country who meet in Canon City in the neural zone.

A lot of the show’s establishing shots are edited with CGI, put on top of familiar places, the city of Seattle serves as some stand-ins for both New York City and San Francisco, while the interiors are clearly filmed on sets. We’ll focus first on locations set in and near New York City, then move to San Francisco and other locations.


Top on any urban explorer’s (and Untapped reader’s) list is getting to see the inside of the Washington Square Park Arch. Occasionally, press get access but as the story goes, we have Dadaist Marcel Duchamp, painter John Sloan and their buddies to thank for the closure. In 1916, they climbed to the top, cooked food, lit Japanese lanterns, fired cap pistols, launched balloons and declared it the independent republic of New Bohemia. Citizens were outraged and the interior door of the arch was sealed.


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Affordable Housing: A New York Legacy is an impressive, comprehensive exhibit that showcases New York City’s leading role in the affordable housing movement since the 19th century. While we shared with you a walkthrough with the curator, Thomas Mellins recently, here are 10 surprising things you should not miss in this compelling exhibit:


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‘Tis the season for miniature creations in New York City apparently – beyond the annual train show at the New York Botanical Garden and in Grand Central Terminal, the $8.5 million Astolat Dollhouse currently in Columbus Circle’s Time Warner Center, and in 2017 there will be “the largest, most intricate, most technologically advanced” miniature display on the ground floor of the former New York Times building in Times Square. As reported by Crain’s New York, the man who built Mini Israel in Jerusalem hopes to build “Gulliver’s Gate,” a $30 million tourist attraction that will include 300+ mini buildings and 1,000 model trains. These 3D printed miniatures will include landmarks likeGrand Central Terminal, Times Square, and other places around the world. If the rendering is accurate, there’s even the Calatrava train station at World Trade Center which has not opened yet.


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It’s one thing to see a lost building rise again in front of your eyes. It’s another to feel emotion for a building many have only seen in photographs. The new off-Broadway play The Eternal Space, which premiered this past weekend at The Lion Theatre on 42nd Street, does both. A long labor of love by Justin Rivers, who wrote and produced the show, The Eternal Space, is a story of two unlikely souls who meet as the demolition of the original Pennsylvania Station begins in October 1963.