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.

NYC Transit Map Subway and Bus-4

It’s happened to all of us. That moment when you want to know what bus you can connect to, but it’s not on your subway map. In fact, you might have to download a whole separate app to get New York City’s bus map. Well, a Queens resident, Anthony Denaro, has created a master map that includes subways, bus, and AirTrain, called the Bullet Map (h/t Streetsblog).


Ever wonder where your recyclables go after you sort them? Well, 18,000 tons of residential metal, glass, plastic and paper in New York City go through the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility every month. Located on the 30th Street pier in Brooklyn, the facility is operated by Sims Metal Management, the company that processes all of the city’s recyclables collected by the Department of Sanitation. It’s a state-of-the-art plant, both for the processing technology inside and for its architecture, which has won New York City’s Award for Excellence in Design. Hurricane Sandy hit in the middle of construction, but the facility was untouched thanks to sustainability initiatives that were already in the design.


Recently, we shared a drone video by the crew Abandoned NY (not to be confused with Abandoned NYC, the website and book by Will Ellis) of North Brother Island. At the time, they told us their next video would be of Bannerman Island where a former munitions facility designed like a fairy-tale European castle looms over the Hudson River Valley. Yesterday, that video was released, reinforcing the group’s penchant for extremely dramatic soundtracks and stunning aerial shots of storied, abandoned places.


The Night Of NYC Film Locations-HBO-Manhattan-Jackson Heights-Rikers Island-The Tombs-003

The Night Of, a limited series on HBO, tells the fictional story of Queens resident and college student, Nasir Khan, and the repercussions of a single night in his life which brings the character unwittingly into the underworld of urban incarceration and New York City politics. English actor Riz Ahmed, who got his start as rapper Riz MC, plays Nasir, an earnest millennial and son of first generation Pakistani immigrants.

The Night Of is beautifully filmed and the show does a detailed job of using real locations and making sure they are where the show says they are. As New Yorkers, we appreciate that accuracy, as well as the touches in the script that make it clear that screenwriter Richard Price is a New Yorker. Price was born in the Bronx and many of his novels and films are set in the New York city region. The gritty opening sequence is further haunted by the presence of executive producer James Gandolfini, uses black and white aerial shots of New York City with key elements of the storyline pulled out for visual effect.

Without further ado, here are the notable film locations so far in The Night Of:

New Inc-GSAPP Incubator-New Museum-Untapped Cities-NYC

We’ve been a little quiet on the publishing front for the last couple days, and that’s because we have news! We’ll be joining the GSAPP Incubator at the New Museum, run by Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for the 2016 to 2017 year. The aim of the incubator is to be a “launch pad for new ideas and projects about architecture, culture, and the city.” That’s a mission we can get behind! 

We will work alongside the New Museum’s NEW INC Incubator, which is dedicated to art, design and technology. The incubator has an event space, fabrication lab with things like 3D printers, and other fun stuff. We’re excited to be inspired by the members of the incubator which included last year a founding member of +POOL, the filtering pool for the East River, researcher Forrest Jesse, creative and design consultancy Consortia, and numerous architects and practices.

We’re excited to be able to soon offer panel events with the many experts that write, give tours, and are part of the Untapped Cities community. We’re also working on a complete web design overhaul for Untapped Cities, that readers should see by end of September and have some projects we can’t reveal yet up our sleeve!

In the meantime, we’re sad to be leaving our digs at Nowhere Studios in Brooklyn, a wonderful co-working space that truly builds a community. How many other co-working spaces have an über-adorable resident cat, a rooftop deck where you can grow vegetables and herbs, and street art by Swoon inside and out?

Times Square 42nd Street Vintage NYC Street Sign-Illuminated.PNG

An Untapped Cities reader recently contacted us about a vintage Times Square sign he had in his collection, passed down from his grandfather who acquired it. He wrote that the sign was in Times Square from 1904 to 1915, according to the New York Historical Society, but was looking for more information on it because he was looking to sell it. The sign has four sides, with cut-out letters that read alternatively with “42ND STREET” and “TIMES SQUARE.” The glass squares would have been illuminated from the interior of the sign similar to the Victorian-era street signs you can see in the photos from our previous article, “The History of NYC’s Street Signs.”