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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.


Weegee's Bowery-International Center of Photography-ICP Gallery Mana Contemporary-Exhibit-NYC1Under the Third Avenue El, 1943-45, © Weegee / International Center of Photography.

The International Center of Photography (ICP) holds more than 20,000 images by the legendary New York City press photographer, Weegee. Weegee, whose real name was Arthur Felig, was a New York City character unto himself who shot unflinching photographs across all the levels of New York City society. A master of myth building and of sensationalism, Weegee became known for his crime photography and had early access to crime scenes thanks to his relationship with the police force. But his photographs of daily life in the 1930s and ’40s are often what resonate with viewers today – whether of unknowing filmgoers, of families sleeping on fire escapes, or if the gritty Bowery, the subject of an upcoming ICP exhibit, Weegee’s Bowery. This exhibit will launch for the June opening of ICP’s downtown location at 250 Bowery.

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Misplaced-Guggenheim Museum-NYCAll renderings via Misplaced

In the photography series Misplaced, interactive designer Anton Repponen takes iconic New York City buildings and landmarks and situates them in desolate environments. Repponen, who has a background in architecture, is clearly interested in urban space, exploring how the removal of urban fabric changes our perception of buildings. As described on the Misplaced website, “Concrete behemoths and steel-and-glass towers rise from sand dunes and rocky cliffs, inviting viewers to see them as if for the first time. Out of context, architectural forms become more pronounced and easily understood.”

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Deep below Grand Central Terminal, there’s a hidden power station known as M42 that does not appear on a single map or blueprint. In fact, its very existence was only acknowledged in the late 1980s and its exact location is still not public information. Nonetheless, unpublicized special tours have allowed the curious to head down there in the last five years or so. We can’t share all the details of how we landed on the coveted visit, but we were given the opportunity to explore this and other off-limits places in Grand Central Terminal recently – and took photographs.

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Citizen Bridge-Nancy Novacek-Governors Island-Red Hook Brooklyn-Buttermilk Channel-Pedestrian Bridge-Kickstarter-NYC

Maybe it’s a natural human tendency to want to build bridges, at least in New York City. There have even been plans to infill the Hudson and East Rivers so we could just walk over to New Jersey. Then there was “Lolo,” a proposal to fill in the land between downtown Manhattan and Governors Island. Thankfully, in real life, particularly after Hurricane Sandy, we’re learning that it’s better to let nature reclaim our waterfronts.

On a more temporary scale, Citizen Bridge, a project by artist Nancy Nowacek, hopes to raise enough money via Kickstarter to create an ephemeral pedestrian bridge between Governors Island and Red Hook, Brooklyn.– a reference to a 19th-century land bridge used farmers to move cattle at low tide across the Buttermilk Channel.

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Fulton Street-Vintage-Original Subway Exit to Street-Corinthian Columns-Bronze-NYC-2

Fulton Center may be still sparkly new since 2014, with improved connections underground between the numerous subway lines there, a new oculus art piece, and an interior retail space, but you can still find some remnants of an earlier era inside. On the downtown platform of the 4/5 lines, you’ll find an old exit, beautifully ornamented in the style of yesteryear.

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NYC Democratic Primary Election Results Map-Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton

You know the results of last week’s primary election in New York state but the team at the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York updated the database of maps on their NYC Election Atlas following the election, which we covered before the Primary. There’s even a map to show location of the “purged” voters in Brooklyn.

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