Articles by

michelle young

Michelle is the founder of Untapped Cities. She can usually be found in New York (where she grew up), Paris, backpacking in South America or Southeast Asia, or in-transit between. She has an obsession with buses, shoots with a Nikon SLR camera, and destroys cellos on stage with her indie rock band. She’s traveled to 35 countries, including working for earthquake disaster organizations in Peru and Sumatra. She is an author of 100 Ways to Make History, published by the New York Public Library. She holds a masters in urban planning from Columbia University, 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.

04/24/14 9:00am

North Brother Island

Unlike other photographers of the abandoned, the work of Christopher Payne has always been about the delicate balance between human presence and physical structure. His study of the Steinway Factory in Astoria, Queens was simultaneously a conceptual exploration of abstraction, an architectural analysis, and how Steinway workers factor into the production space. Each of the workers he photographed had a story, and together, making a piano was like a choreographed dance.

Payne’s recently released book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City is clearly an evolution of Payne’s particular type of photographic discovery. Of course, there are the perfectly framed images of North Brother Island’s infamous crumbling hospitals and of its industrial gantry. Then there are the interior shots of medical rooms whose ceilings look like they might fall any second.

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04/23/14 2:00pm

Wyndcliffe-Rhineback-Abandoned-Mansion-Hudson River-NYCImage via Flickr by Joseph

This article is from our partner, Urban Ghosts, a website on hidden history and offbeat travel. 

The abandoned mansion known as Wyndcliffe stands on the eastern bank of the Hudson River near Rhinebeck, New York. Built in 1853 at a time when new rail links made it possible for wealthy merchants and bankers to work in the city but live in the countryside, this Norman-style brick-built villa originally called Rhinecliff and set amid 80 acres of land, was designed by George Veitch with construction led by John Byrd.

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04/22/14 4:30pm

New York State Pavilion-Abandoned-Interior-NYC Parks-Flushing Meadow Corona Park-1964 World Fair-Queens-NYC-023

We’re going to venture a guess that even the NYC Parks Department was unprepared for the sheer number of people excited to catch a glimpse of the long-closed, and deteriorating New York Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair today. While press got early access (the only time we gladly relished the opportunity), the public lines stretched around the pavilion, across the elevated walkway over Grand Central to the Queens Zoo.

Thus far, we’ve been privy to Abandoned NYC’s haunting photos of the Philip Johnson structure, vintage photos that brought us back to the future, and a great mash-up of then & now images. Stepping into the space today, we were reminded of the more mundane things that have been left behind: signage reproduced from the time when it was a very active space for a short period of time.

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04/18/14 3:00pm

Space Invaders-Fresco-Dan Hernandez-Genesis-Kim Foster GallerySpace Invaders as Frescos

New York City

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04/18/14 12:00pm

Judgemental NYC Map-Brooklyn-Queens-Manhattan-Bronx

In March, we posted the first Judgmental Map of NYC by Joe Larson. Though hilarious, his colorful comments were mostly located to Manhattan, which Untapped reader Ivan also pointed out in the comments “Hey look at that someone who thinks NYC doesn’t extend past Manhattan how cute.” As if responding to that cue, Larson released an all new judgmental map this week.

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04/17/14 10:00am

The Original Ray's Pizza Restaurant-New York Pizza Project-NYC

Last summer, we rounded up six great urban photography projects that were going on, including those visiting every bodega in Manhattan, capturing the city’s disappearing neon signs, and a guy walking every street of NYC. Yesterday, another one came across our way: For the last three years, five friends have been visiting and documenting New York’s old-school pizza joints. For extra authenticity, all five are native New Yorkers. According to Ian Manheimer, a member of The New York Pizza Project, they’ve “been to over 100 of the most authentic shops in the City: talking to patrons and pizza makers, snapping photos…We like to say, it’s not about the food, it’s about everything else.”

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