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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.


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Birdman, the 2015 Best Picture Academy Award winner was shot in New York City, telling the story of a washed up superhero actor played by Michael Keaton, looking to make his comeback in a play he has written, directed and starred in based on Raymond Carver’s short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Throughout the film, he is haunted by the voice of Birdman, the superhero that made him famous. Though the film appears to be one single long, tracking shot, director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki cleverly and skillfully wove together long filming segments, the longest at 15 minutes, most around 10 minutes. Here are the locations used in the film, all around New York City’s Theater District and Times Square:

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Steiner Studios-Brooklyn Navy Yard-WWII Navy Radio Tower-NYCImage by Deek 2013 via Deviant Art

Last week, Untapped Cities reader @nationsofnations tweeted at us, asking us if we had a story about the “replica bridge on top of buildings in brooklyn.”

A photo she took from a car gave us the clue we needed: rather than a replica bridge, they’re the WWII radio towers once used by the Navy, specifically the Third Naval District US Naval Communication Center Headquarters. They sit atop the 1940s-era building, 25 Washington Avenue, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and part of Steiner Studios.

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laguardia-demolition-airport-terminal-hanger-new-york-city-darkcyanide-2Photos by Dark Cyanide for Untapped Cities

It’s easy to hate on LaGuardia Airport, even the politicians do it. Just last year, Vice President Joe Biden compared it to an airport that would be found in a “third world country,” nearly identical to what Donald Trump said of it in 2011: “You go to LaGuardia Airport, it’s like a Third World airport.” The executive director of the Port Authority agreed with Biden, and Governor Mario Cuomo called the airport a “disgrace.” Well, for the haters, change is finally coming. The demolition of Hangars 2 and 4, between the Central Terminal Building and the Delta/US Airways terminal is mid-demolition. There hasn’t been any news about it, probably because nobody cares.

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We last reported on the Big U plan last year, a striking proposal by Bjarke Ingels to fortify lower Manhattan and one of the winners of the Rebuild by Design competition. Since then, we’ve sat with members of the Big U team, learning what it’s going to take to get the neighborhoods along the lower Manhattan waterfront to agree to some of these groundbreaking measures, which include reconfiguring park spaces and installing deployable walls. Nonetheless, the first part of the plan is underway along the East Side and recently the Big U team released this new video explaining the project, aptly renamed the “Dry Line.”

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chrysler-building-skyscrapers-new-york-city-skyline-roof-darkcyanidePhoto by Dark Cyanide

The Chrysler Building is one of the most beloved of New York City’s skyscrapers, an architectural manifestation of both the Art Deco era and the automobile age. Famous as it may be, the Chrysler Building holds many fascinating secrets, compounded by the fact that it is difficult to visit and doesn’t offer tours, unlike the Woolworth Building and the Empire State Building. Here are 10 lesser known facts about the Chrysler Building, many derived from an Q&A with David Stravitz, the author of The Chrysler Building: Creating a New York Icon Day by Day with The New York Times in 2009.

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Popularity Pays App-Joe Coffee-Intellegentsia-Tobys Estate-Swap-Instagram-Brooklyn-NYC-Chicago.PNG

Popular Pays is an app that rewards Instagram users with free perks for taking photographs of participating businesses, with locations unlocked based on the number of Instagram followers. Started in Chicago, the app just starting releasing locations in New York City. For now, the early partners are mostly coffee shops like Toby’s Estate Coffee, Joe Coffee, Intellegentsia and Bluestone Lane Coffee (some spots featured on our Top 10 Coffee Shops for Design Buffs in Brooklyn list), where you can get a free cup of coffee with an Instagram from the spot, as long as you have 500 followers. At Spyglass Rooftop Bar atop Archer New York Hotel, get a free specialty coffee with a photo and 3,000 followers.

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