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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.


A few days ago, we reported on a vision that (thankfully) never came to be – high-density settlement on the islands of Jamaica Bay. A documentary that has traced the history and community of Jamaica Bay will premiere on March 17th at the Queens World Film Festival in New York – and is the only film being made that was actively shooting in Jamaica Bay before Hurricane Sandy, documenting both the environmental and human devastation to this natural resource. Saving Jamaica Baynarrated by Susan Sarandon and directed by David Sigal is more than an environmental film however, it tells the story of a community. 

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New York Transit-Money Train-Revenue Room-370 Jay Street-Transit Museum-Secret lIfe of 370 Jay Street-NYC-004The New York Transit Money Train. Photo by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

You know about armored trucks, but what about an armored subway? From 1951 to 2006, the New York City transit system ran an armored train that moved all the subway and bus fares collected to a secret room at 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn, the subject of the exhibit at the New York Transit Museum The Secret Life of 370 Jay Street.” A description in the exhibit describes that “most Money Trains were staffed by 12 collecting agents and one supervisor, all armed and wearing body armor.”

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Grand Central-Aerial-View from Glass Walkways-NYC

It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend, and for those still looking for gifts for others or themselves, we’re offering a limited time 15% discount on our upcoming tours with code VDAY16, valid until Monday at 11:55pm. This discount also applies to our new private tour offerings for groups from 1 to 10 people, contact us directly here.

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Jamaica Bay Flushing Canal-NYC That Never Was

This visual is a fascinating find from @Discovering_NYC – a plan to create a canal from a new port in Jamaica Bay to Flushing Bay which had been in the works since at least 1910, when it was presented to the Barge Terminal Canal Commission at an estimated cost of $12 million. A bill for its construction failed to pass the New York State legislature in 1912 but in 1914 the state included the latest in its Annual Report of the State Engineer and Surveyor on the Canals of the State of New York showing a cost between $12.6 million and $21 million.

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Placing Literature-Andrew Bardin Williams-Novels-Scenes-Books-NYC.57 PM

The website “Placing Literature” is a map-based, crowd sourced platform that locates literary scenes in real-life locations all around the world. Founded in 2013 by Andrew Bardin Williams, who was a resident of New Haven at the time, Placing Literature launched a redesigned site last week making the experience more even more fun, particularly on the go. In New York City, you can discover where Bartleby gets hired (Herman Melville), where the tree grows in Brooklyn, follow Sherman McCoy as he crosses the Triborough Bridge with his mistress in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and more.

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For more than a year, we’ve been bringing intrepid New Yorkers and visitors on a hunt of the architectural remnants of the original Pennsylvania Station still viewable inside and around the current station. There are few people that contest the tragedy of the demolition of Penn Station, which began on October 28, 1963, after the Pennsylvania Railroad found itself in serious financial trouble. The McKim, Mead and White masterpiece, only 53 years old, became a martyr for the landmarks preservation cause when the air rights to Penn Station were sold to accommodate Madison Square Garden, that perpetually moving entertainment venue.

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