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.

Heat Map of Operating Systems NYC Scott Galloway-NYU Stern-L2-Apple iOS-Android-BlackberryHeat map of operating systems: Red = iOS, Green = Android, Purple = Blackberry

As part of a presentation for DLD (Digital-Life-Design) Conference, NYU Clinical Professor of Marketing Scott Galloway, who is also the founder of research firm L2, presented a heat map of mobile operating systems in New York City created on Mapbox by GNIP, a social data resource. Galloway says that the wealthier areas of Manhattan correlate with iOS usage, while “as you go into the lower income households and suburbia, Android lights up.” He also makes a note, “By the way, if you see purple in the middle lighting up, that’s Jurassic Park. That’s the dinosaurs using Blackberry.” While the composite map is certainly impactful, it’s another example of how maps can be misleading–a subject we previously explored with Runkeeper in “Beautiful Maps and the Lies They Tell.”


NYC Map Stench Map Showing Location of Odor Producing Industries of New York and Brooklyn, circa 1870 (“Charles F. Chandler Papers Columbia University Rare Books and Manuscript Library“Map Showing Location of Odor Producing Industries of New York and Brooklyn,” 1870 from Columbia University Rare Books and Manuscript Library

Last week, we showed photographs from the Untapped Cities tour of Dead Horse Bay, including the “fun” fact that odors from the noxious industries there were once so bad, they’d cause evacuations of the hotels on Manhattan Beach. This week, Tanvi Misra at City Lab has uncovered a great “stench map” made by the New York City Metropolitan Board of Health in 1870. Unlike a map of what the sewers smelled like in 1910 we previously covered which locates smells at the point of smell, the Board of Health stench map locates “offensive traders,” or the industrial culprits of the smells.


Shortly after the deadly gas explosion in the East Village last week, we watched FDNY and NYPD first responders race down Second Avenue. Among these was the mythical undercover yellow taxi cab NYPD cop car. Following  an NYPD van at top speed, in this case the undercover cab was hard not to miss with sirens, flashing lights and a uniformed NYPD officer driving.


Nue York Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen-Erica Simone-Photography-NYC-008

What if we didn’t have clothing as an identifier? Franco-American photographer and artist Erica Simone explores this concept to its natural end extreme through a series of nude self-portraits in quintessentially New York situations: riding the subway, getting out of a cab, shopping at the bodega, getting hotdogs at Papaya Dog. As she writes in her artist statement for the project Neu York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen“What would the world feel like naked? What if we didn’t have clothing to come in between us? Or if we couldn’t show off our social status? What if all we had were our bodies to express our personalities?


Lamb-Sheep-Pet NYC--Lower East Side-Dudleys Cafe-Irving Farm Coffee Roasters-NYC

We were just sitting here, working out of Irving Farm Coffee Roasters in the Lower East Side when a lamb came running by. If you weren’t paying attention, it might seem like a furry dog running alongside a jogger, peering into the local boutique, and sitting on the lap of  a happy lady at Dudley’s Cafe. This particular lamb made the news earlier this month when the NY Post wrote about the lamb’s visit to restaurant Five Leaves in Greenpoint. Recently its been making its mark downtown.


5 Bryant Park-Mural-1950s-David Dunlap-111 West 40th Street-Max Spivak-NYCPhotos via David W. Dunlap

As far as developers go, the ones at 5 Bryant Park have been doing some interesting things since the get go. Capitalizing on the street art movement in New York City, they permitted “Art Battles” in the unfinished lobby in 2013. Yesterday, The New York Times reported that a large 1950s-era glass mosaic mural by Max Spivak had been uncovered behind metal panels, added during a previous modernization of the lobby. But within hours of the article publication, the mural was covered by a blue screen.