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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.


Lego Statue of Liberty-Madison Square Park-NYCImage via Trevor O’Brien

In celebration of the new LEGO store in the Flatiron, there’s a 20-foot version of the Statue of Liberty in Madison Square Park, built over the course of four days with the help of passerby, children and tourists. Three master LEGO builders were on hand for the project. What’s even cooler is the backstory (we’re not sure if this was conscious on LEGO’s part, however). When the Statue of Liberty first arrived the United States, its torch was displayed in Madison Square Park to raise money for the construction of the pedestal. It sat near 25th Street across from General Worth Square. As the story goes, French politician Edoard Labouaye in 1870 proposed the statue as a gesture of goodwill between the two countries but Americans were critical of it, claiming that the U.S. shouldn’t have to contribute to a gift meant for them. `

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There’s something about architects and businessmen wanting to live in the places they create. And we’re not talking about a live-work studio. We’ve been noticing a historical trend of apartments in grand civic spaces–from apartments atop the Eiffel Tower, Radio City, Bergdorf Goodman, the second Madison Square Garden–to more modern-day expressions of exclusivity–a cabin in a loft in Brooklyn, suburban houses plopped atop existing apartment buildings, an Fifth Avenue apartment full of secret riddles and compartments. Here’s a little about each of these idiosyncratic apartments.

1. Stanford White’s Seduction Lair at Madison Square Garden

Second Madison Square Garden-Stanford White-Apartment-NYC

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Broadway Stages-Greenpoint-Newtown Creek-Oil Spill Remediation Project-The Good Wife-Royal Pains-NYC

On a recent OHNY tour of the Greenpoint Oil Spill Remediation Project run by ExxonMobil and the Newtown Creek Alliance, we were also shown Broadway Stages, a film studio within the spill zone. The buildings in this area of Newtown Creek were once home to 50 oil refineries, tanneries, gas plants, metal manufacturers and other businesses, and an extensive oil spill underground is the result of a century of accumulated contamination. The oil companies were eventually consolidated, but of the buildings in the area were unused and certain stretches lacked basic infrastructure–like sewers, electricity and sidewalks. Moreover, the streets were used essentially as dump sites.

Broadway Stages came in to change that, and with the partnership of ExxonMobile, who has sought to be a good neighbor during the remediation process, installed lights and created sidewalks. In 2010, the road was paved for the first time in 50 years. Broadway Stages is now one of the largest film production companies in New York City, with shows like The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and Royal Pains filmed there.

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See the City-NYC & Company-NYCGo-Tourism Board-Harlem-Long Island City-St.George-Dumbo-Van Cortlandt

New York City’s tourism agency is hoping that these vintage-inspired, stylized new posters will encourage New Yorkers to go explore their own city. Here at Untapped Cities, we certainly support that message. After all, our long-standing tagline has been “Rediscover your city.” As The New York Times describes, the “See Your City” campaign from NYC & Company “spotlight sections of all five boroughs that might appeal to adventurous local residents.”

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There are many, many secrets to Grand Central Terminal as you may have read in our ever popular article on the Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central. One we haven’t mentioned before is the access to the famous Tiffany Clock, which is the largest Tiffany clock in the world at 13 feet in diameter. Our Instagram friend, darkcyanide, has been exploring some incredible spaces around New York City and recently shared his visit inside and atop the clock.
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5Pointz-Interior Demolition-Rooftop-StreetArt-Long Island City-Queens-Urban Exploration-NYCFall 2014-0185Pointz from 3rd floor of demolition. Photo by franklyfrank

The last time we heard from urban explorer __Macgyver and his crew, they were creating pyrotechnic fire art in New York City’s abandoned subway stations. This time, they’ve hit up the demolition at the beloved street art haven, 5Pointz which was whitewashed last year. In an evening raid, __MacgyverMr_Dume, Jenyc_photography, _Fabricios_franklyfrank and thompsonlxs_ capture what they describe to us as “a last hoorah” for 5Pointz. According to __Macgyver, 5Pointz “literally looked like it was blown away by a tornado.” Yet some of the street art was still intact. With a central building already down and the rest prepared for the wrecking ball, it is likely that 5Pointz will come down imminently.

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