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.

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.”



A few years ago, we highlighted a portion of the Bloomingdale’s department store uptown, on the 60th Street side, that was a remnant of an earlier store. The French-inspired design had a mansard roof with neoclassical details and the words “Bloomingdale Brothers” still visible. As we pointed out then, Bloomingale’s hasn’t always been too detailed or consistent about its own history, location wise.

Now, Untapped Cities reader Cathleen Mayrose sent us a photograph showing that Bloomingdale’s is painting over that section and the neighboring section in black, further hiding it from obvious view. She tells us, “Personally, I find this deplorable, along with with the other ridiculous changes they have made including the purple neon lighting around the upper floor windows.” 



On an unseasonably warm October day, we headed to Lot Radio – an independent radio station spinning out of a reclaimed shipping container in an empty lot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, just a short walk from McCarren Park. The music streams 24 hours a day online, where you can also see what’s happening inside the DJ booth and can be heard through speakers on the lot itself. The pebble-filled lot is surrounded by a fence, but is activated through a counter coffee kiosk on one end of the container, where you can buy drinks and pastries. Then, you can sit on the chairs and tables (or lounge in a hammock), in the lot.


Over the last five years, we’ve been documenting the construction along the Second Avenue Subway. On our second visit, we went deep into the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street stop and in 2015 we revealed the new “Lex 63” lettering on the tiles of the station. Now, as reported by Second Avenue Sagas and 6Sqft, a videographer happened to catch some test trains heading down the tracks yesterday. The Second Avenue subway track was behind a construction wall for years along the active platform, but a public area was recently opened. DJ Hammers, aka Max Diamond, writes that he captured the video from this public area between the two levels of the station.



Shipwrecked Miniature Golf in Red Hook, Brooklyn checks off so many things on our list. First, the 18-hole course is hidden on the second floor of an industrial brick building. Second, it’s architectural and New York-themed, while also being pirate themed. Third, it’s family owned and clearly a labor love for the two best friends who started it. Fourth, they’ve brought their expertise from working in theater to create this wonderland.



New York City has had some terrible nautical disasters – including the sinking of the General Slocum steamboat off North Brother Island in 1904 and the capsizing of the Normandie (SS Lafayette) in 1942. But the giant octopus attack that sank the Staten Island Steam Ferry, the Cornelius G. Kolff, in 1963 is not one of them. Yet, there is a monument to it (sometimes) in the Battery in Lower Manhattan and a website that chronicles the history of the event which includes news clippings and even a documentary.