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.

Gowanus Porte Road-American Revolution-Map-Atlas of NYC-Historic-Park SlopeLocation of former Gowanus Road from From the Atlas of NYC, 1880. Via NYPL.

In the Park Slope and Gowanus area, the history of the Revolutionary War is well-known – from the recreated Stone House where a decisive part of the Battle of Brooklyn/Long Island took place to the bravery of the Maryland 400, whose final burial grounds are still unconfirmed. In the August 1776 retreat from Brooklyn ,the American soldiers fled West from Prospect Park on the Porte Road downhill towards what was then the Gowanus swamp. Crossing the Gowanus Creek (now the Canal), more casualties were taken.

Today, a portion of these roads where the soldiers traversed is now visible, thanks to construction at 269-271 Fourth Avenue, last reported to be a 12-story condo as revealed by New York Yimby in early 2015. The lot is next to the ODA-designed building 251 1st Avenue that is currently under construction.


Spencer Finch-High Line-Chelsea Market Passage-NYCSpencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways on the High Line. Photo via the High Line

You know Spencer Finch’s work, The River That Flows Both Ways on the High Line even if you don’t know its name. In fact, most people probably think the colored panes of glass in the Chelsea Market passage along the High Line are permanent because the work was already installed in partnership with Creative Time when the first section of the High Line opened in 2009. Sadly, The River That Flows Both Ways will come down from its West 16th Street home after this June, according to the High Line’s Tumblr blog


Prospect Park Goats-Superstorm Sandy-Woodlands Restoration-Vale of Cashmere-Green Goats-Brooklyn-NYC_3-001

Today, Prospect Park introduced eight goats in the Vale of Cashmere, a herd Sue Donaghue, President of of the Prospect Park Alliance called today the “newest and most adorable addition to the landscape management crew.” These goats will be restoring woodlands damaged from recent storms, including Superstorm Sandy. Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, and the loss of 500 trees was significant enough to warrant a $1.2 million in restoration grants for the Vale of Cashmere and Lookout Hill from the National Park Service, through the New York State Office of the Parks.


Canal Street Post it War-Havas Worldwide-Horizon Media-Agency-NYCCanal Street Post-It War. Image via DNAinfo video.

In 2011, Paris became embroiled in a new kind of war – a Post-It Note War between the corporate offices of companies like L’Oreal, BNP Paribas, video game company Ubisoft. Now, advertising agencies on Canal Street are going at it with pop culture references (“Becky with the Good Hair,” “Hello from the Other Side,” YOLO) and veritable works of art (the Empire State Building, the Simpsons, Spiderman). Even some low-brow content: “POOP” and offers for free beer. NY1 broke the news and DNAinfo followed up with a drone video, but since then a Van Gogh/Banksy masterpiece was created.


World Trade Center Liberty Park-Construction Site-May 2016-NYCLiberty Park Construction at the World Trade Center site. Photo via @WTCProgress, May 6, 2016.

Liberty Park, an elevated park at the World Trade Center site, is scheduled to open this summer (though there isn’t an exact opening date yet), according to DNAinfo. In 2013, the New York Times reported that this park, which will clock in at just over an acre, was the development’s “best kept secret.”

For tourists, Liberty Park will offer a view onto the 9/11 Memorial and will sit alongside the St. Nicholas National Shrine, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava who was behind the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The shrine will not open until 2017. For residents, the elevated park will provide a new pedestrian connection over West Street, and a far nicer one than the infrequent cross walks and utilitarian bridges. For the Port Authority, the elevated park conceals a functional purpose: the WTC vehicle security center. 


Stein Hoff-Transatlantic Rowing-Ripleys Believe it or Not-Battery Park-North Cove Marina-NYC to England-2016Image via Yachting and Boat World

This past Friday, May 13th, at a vastly underreported event given the backing of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, a Norwegian named Stein Hoff began a solo rowing expedition across the Atlantic Ocean from North Cove Marina, in Battery Park – the recent scene of the America’s Cup. Hoff is recreating the first transatlantic rowing of the Atlantic Ocean from 1896, a feat that two Norwegian Americans, George Harbo and Gabriel Samuelsen completed in an 18-foot oak boat over the course of 55 days. Harbo and Samuelson also left from New York City, but from Battery Park. Their record would not be broken for 114 years, but the 2010 journey required four rowers.