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.

Della Robio Bar-4 Park Avenue-Landmarked Interior-Guastavinio Tile-Vanderbilt Hotel-NYCPhoto by Larry Lederman from Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York

You may remember last year’s exhibit Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Interior Landmarks at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID). Developing out of that exhibit is the new book Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York featuring 47 of the 117 interior landmarks in New York City. On the 50th Anniversary of the city’s landmark law, this beautiful book comes at a timely moment as new pressures on the law have come to the forefront just this year – ranging from the “decalendaring” of landmarks (successfully stopped) to Intro 775 that aims to put time limits on how long a proposed landmark can sit on the potentials list.


Burial Vault-Washington Square Park-Chryalis Archaeology-NYCPhoto via Chrysalis Architecture

Washington Square Park is already rather ghoulish, with its prior history as a potter’s field – the city’s burial ground for the unclaimed and poor. Now, DNAInfo has reported that two burial vaults, with human remains, have been discovered just east of the park by workers on a water main project that’s part of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC)


Affordable New York A Housing Legacy-Museum of the City of New York-Exhibition-Untapped Cities-NYC-HeaderHabitat for Humanity Rowhouse Project, Bronx, NY, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects Photograph: © Kevin Chu + Jessica Paul

There may be no topic hotter than affordable housing in New York City right now, with it being the centerpiece of Mayor DeBlasio’s OneNYC strategic plan. But the battles that will be waged to create and preserve the 200,000 units of affordable housing promised in the next decade – debates over design, inclusivity, exclusivity, displacement, and more – are hardly new. This is precisely the story that a new exhibit at the Museum of City of New York aims to tell in Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy, curated by architectural historian and author Thomas Mellins. As a wider goal, it aims to situate New York City as a pioneering force behind the affordable housing movement, in its various manifestations since the 19th century. In fact, New York City was the first city to pass comprehensive tenement house laws in 1877.


Cranberry-Wonderberry-Rockefeller Center-Pit of Cranberries-Ocean Spray-NYC

For the 11th year, Ocean Spray has brought in 2000 pounds of cranberries to a 1,500 square foot pop-up bog in front of 30 Rock, to showcase some of the 800+ cranberry farmers that have provide the company with the fruit for 85 years. Seven information signs are set up around the bog, the first inviting visitors to “take a walk through our ‘big-city bog’ and discover for yourself the intriguing story behind this most remarkable red berry.”


Robert Moses Jane Jacobs-NYC-A Marvelous Order-Opera

Robert Moses is all the rage these days, for better or worse starting with the new exhibit “In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses’ Expressway and the Battle for Downtown” at the NYC Municipal Archives and now with A Marvelous Order, an upcoming opera about Moses and Jane Jacobs. Last night at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, we caught a preview of the opera which is still in the works.

Urbanists will be familiar with the debate over whether Moses and Jacobs were as adversarial as commonly or conveniently played out in city narratives, but The Marvelous Order sidesteps that by placing the two protagonists in a love triangle, vying “for the affections of the City.” The multi-dimensional work features not only opera, but also dance, animation, and poetry.


North Brother Island is most famous today from the beautiful photographs of its crumbling state, but its history and secrets are what give the place its mythical status in New York City. With the latest news about a study to explore opening North Brother Island to public access, we’re sharing our favorite secrets of this island in the East River. Many of these secrets are sourced from the great book North Brother Island, The Last Unknown Place in New York City by Christopher Payne and Randall Mason.