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.


If you haven’t yet visited the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus, the exhibit “Walter Pottery’s Kitten Taxidermy Wedding” may just be the ticket to get you in the door of this quirky museum. The Kitten Wedding, on display until November 6th, is part of a larger exhibit, Taxidermy: Art, Science & Immortality, curated by J.D. Powe in the main portion of the two-room exhibition space. Powe is a collector who has lent items to the Morbid Anatomy Museum in the past and sits on the board of directors of the museum.


The Museum of the City of New York will launch a comprehensive exhibit, New York At Its Core, on November 18th that chronicles 400 years of the history of the city. The exhibit will occupy the entire first floor of the museum and will include 400 artifacts and significant objects ranging from those connected to Alexander Hamilton to Jay-Z. The first trailer for the exhibit, released on August, tells the story of an apple peeler – an opening to a discussion about the culinary and social history of the Lower East Side. This new trailer (above), released exclusively first to Untapped Cities by the museum, follows the story of the city’s confrontation of the civil rights movement from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Harlem.


Here at Untapped Cities, we’re pretty obsessed with Nikola Tesla, tracking him around New York City including checking out the room he died in at The New Yorker Hotel and making sure one of his statues survived a recent fire. Not surprisingly, we’re very excited about the upcoming documentary on PBS American Experience, “Tesla” that tells the story of this prolific and visionary inventor who continues captured the popular imagination of the 21st century – from the line of electric cars to the name of rock bands and a minor planet.

We’re excited to share with you an exclusive clip provided to Untapped Cities from the documentary that chronicles Tesla’s celebrity days in Gilded Age New York City – when he lived in luxurious hotels like the Hotel Astor, a foreshadowing of his later residential choices at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the New Yorker Hotel, and dined in society hotspots like Delmonico’s. PBS describes him as a “showman,” beloved by the press for his ability to expound at length on any given subject, even things that were yet to come: robots, radar, solar and wind energy, and more.



Many of Untapped Cities’ writers and photographers revel in accessing New York City’s off-limits spots, but often, incredible remnants of urban archeology are hidden in plain sight. Our popular Remnants of Penn Station tour reveals what still persists despite a massive demolition more than 50 years ago, but another subterranean transit spot uses art to highlight former history. Walking through the Union Square subway station, you may notice bright red outlines scattered throughout. More than mere decoration, the color intervention is part of a 1998 MTA Arts & Design commission, “Framing Union Square” by Mary Miss.


City of Women Map, via The New Yorker and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.

City of Women is one of the creative cartography pieces in the Queens Museum exhibit Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix curated by Rebecca Solnit with map maker Josh Jelly-Schapiro. Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas is also the title of the third publication in a series of books that utilize creative mapping to offer a new understanding of history and place. City of Women reimagines the New York City subway system if all the stations were named in honor of New York City’s notable women. 


all-seeing-trump-trump-zoltar-fortune-telling-machine-misfortunes-columbus-circle-trump-international-nyc_3Misfortune telling machine Trump Zoltar appeared on the streets of NYC yesterday and today

[Update: We have new photos from today’s appearance of the All-Seeing Trump at Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle. Here’s a Facebook live video we took, also embedded below.]

The internet pretty much exploded yesterday after Gothamist reported that an all-seeing Trump Zoltar machine, akin to Grandma’s Predictions out on Coney Island but much more vulgar, was spotted on street corners around New York City from a mosque in Queens, and a Mexican restaurant in Greenpoint, to the sidewalks in front of the Trump Tower in Midtown, the New York Times building and NewsCorp.

Then yesterday afternoon, Untapped Cities received a curious message from a non-press partner of ours: “A friend of mine from work did this yesterday,” with a link to the news coverage on the Trump Zoltar. Speaking to one of the artists through this proxy, they informed us that the Zoltar would be moving around indefinitely. As of 5:36 pm yesterday, they told us “Planned Parenthood just happened not sure what’s next.” They noted that last night would be dedicated to editing a video (now below) and that they planned to become “more friendly with press tomorrow.”