It’s always exciting for us at Untapped to see the passionate work of residents get the spotlight. Michael Perlman, chair of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, is one of those New Yorkers who has taken his fascination for urban quirks and history towards a greater mission–in his case, preservation. Last week, Michael’s work saving the diners of New York City was featured a piece by Eric Jaffe in The Atlantic Cities, chronicling his (often successful) quest to find buyers for iconic diners like the Moondance and Cheyenne diners. He’s also been trying to save the Empire Diner in Chelsea and the abandoned Lost Diner/Lunchbox Diner on West Street.
Ellis Island Southside Hospital
We love hearing from readers in our Untapped Mailbag, especially when they have questions like, “Where can I film a TV show with an apocalypse v. man story line?” In our answer, here’s a sampling of the spots we suggested:
Ellis Island Southside Hospitals: There isn’t much creepier than an abandoned hospital. This one has old incinerators, medicinal bottles, surgical wards and more.
Fort Totten: This Civil War fort is particularly apocalyptic for the inscriptions soldiers carved into the walls while stationed here.
Image via New York Insolite Secréte
We previously covered Fraunces Tavern on Pearl Street, where George Washington gave his farewell address in 1783, in our roundup of Presidential Haunts in New York City. But did you know Fraunces Tavern is also home to one of George Washington’s teeth and a lock of his hair? Washington had one tooth left when he was sworn in as the first President of the United States, and this solitary tooth was holding together a set of dentures made of cow’s tooth, gold, Washington’s teeth and ivory of a hippopotamus. (Contrary to a popular misconception that he had wooden dentures).
Yesterday The Atlantic Cities and Curbed broke the news of a Watertower Speakeasy in Chelsea–that’s right, a speakeasy IN a watertower. For urban buffs, this is probably the ultimate New York experience, up close and personal inside those ubiquitous characters of the city skyline. The six-week event was produced by N.D. Austin under the organization The Night Heron. Austin is also involved with Wanderlust Projects, an urban exploration group partnered with our friends at Atlas Obscura.
In true speakeasy style, invitations were only had through a previous attendee (similar to another favorite event of ours, The Dîner en Blanc), passed on to new attendees through the gift of a pocket watch. Guests entered into the space via a trap door cut into the watertower and a stage was built inside. The series was deliberately not held in Brooklyn, to keep the “hipster quotient” low, aiming for attendees of a variety of backgrounds and economic levels, mixing high-profile celebs with “struggling artists in threadbare jackets.”
Sadly, the watertower is now closed but you can sign up for the lists of both The Night Heron and Wanderlust Projects to stay in the loop for future events.
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.
The New York World’s Fair, with its “World of Tomorrow” theme, inspired a legacy of cultural references, from the 1941 film Mr. and Mrs. Smith, to Charlie Chan’s film Murder over New York, to an essay by E.B. White. For urban planners, the Futurama exhibit by General Motors introduced Americans to the idea of the expressway system, which would then dominate city and regional planning for the next 60 years.
Photographer and teacher Walter Plotnick has been melding images of the 1939 World’s Fair with 1930s circus performers, using a hybrid of wet photography and digital processes. He’s inspired by photographers of the Bauhaus and Constructivist movements, lending a Surrealist influence juxtaposed against familiar vintage imagery of culture and commerce.
Last week’s popular Google Keyword was “Slums of Paris.” Did you know there were even slums in Paris? We previously showed one such prominent informal settlement along the RER B train line from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to the center of Paris, visible to many visitors to Paris. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was notorious for his push to clear out slums and illegal residents (mostly Roma gypsy populations). Photographer Steven Wassenaar has been photographing the Parisian gypsy populations since 2005 and told us, “I have met many Roma that just go from campsite to campsite in Greater Paris. Sarkozys eviction policy was very limited, mostly a communication action and it did not change anything.”
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. Untapped also previously reported on the ongoing urban renewal of Roma gypsy populations in Istanbul.