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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.


untappedcities_workers_annabrown_christmasThe first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. More photos.

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today: 

Today’s most popular reads:

Matt Taylor-Manhattan Only Accessed by Car-NYC

A highway engineer from Vancouver has done some serious math to calculate how many bridges would be needed in Manhattan if it could only be accessed by car. The result: it would need 48 additional 8 lane bridges. The Manhattan bridge has 7 vehicular lanes, 3 subway lanes, a walkway and a bikeway. By Matt Taylor’s calculations, 2.06 million enter and exit Manhattan daily, but only 16% currently drive by personal vehicle.

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Lego Museum Break-In Set-Getty Museum-2

First of all, there’s a Lego Museum Break-In Set. That’s pretty cool and sufficiently art nerdy for us here at Untapped Cities. But what’s even better is that the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Director of Security, Bob Combs, actually tested the set, and wrote a blog post about it. Inside the museum, the treasures up for grabs include a blue diamond, a painting that looks like a Vermeer, a golden sword, a gold nugget, and other antiquity. Amazingly, all those priceless objects fit into the City Museum which looks to be practically the size of the armored police vehicle.

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Set in the Street-NYC-Justin Bettman-Godze Eker-Photography-Sidewalk-Discarded Furniture-1

You know how it goes. You see discarded furniture on the sidewalk, you poke around, maybe you take something. We know some guy that put up another family’s ’70s era photo album on his bedroom wall. But what if all that discarded stuff was transformed into an interior set, but on the street? “Set in the Street” by photographer Justin Bettman and stylist Gozde Eker have done just that. They’re building elaborate sets out of unwanted furniture and other materials, photographing it and then leaving the sets up for people who walk by to enjoy. Using the hashtag #setinthestreet, it’s clear that people are just loving the random moment of serendipity.

The zoomed in/zoomed out photo series tells it all:

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DIY Signage-No Hoodies-Cell Phones-Do Not Tap on Glass-Surveillance-NYC-001

Earlier this fall, New York City was (rightfully) up in arms about the shops putting up the “No Hoodies” signs, but we will venture to say that they were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to DIY signage in this city telling residents what they can’t do. We’ve been slowly photographing this trend as we come across it. If you have more, send them our way via Twitter or Instagram #untappedcities. You’d think the above photograph comes from perhaps a neighborhood filled with crime, but actually it’s just next to Lincoln Center. Wok City Chinese takeout on Amsterdam Avenue is filled with even better gems like “We do not cut wings,” “Sorry no barbecue sauce,”  and “Seats for Employees Only.”

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One of New York City’s most unique pieces of property was Hess Triangle, only 500 square inches and the smallest plot of land at the time. Now marked by mosaic tiles on a piece of pavement on Christopher Street and 7th Avenue, it represents one man’s final stand against eminent domain: “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated for Public Purposes.” While Hess Triangle was combined into the Village Cigars property, there are many awkwardly shaped lots on record today with the NYC Department of City Planning and Department of Finance. One final project at Columbia University GSAPP, led by Kohn Peterson Fox architect Lucien Wilson in the Parametric Site Analysis class, looked into these “untapped” plots of land as development opportunity.

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