Michelle is the founder of Untapped Cities. She can usually be found in New York (where she grew up), Paris, backpacking in South America or Southeast Asia, or in-transit between. She has an obsession with buses, shoots with a Nikon SLR camera, and destroys cellos on stage with her indie rock band. She’s traveled to 35 countries, including working for earthquake disaster organizations in Peru and Sumatra. She is an author of 100 Ways to Make History, published by the New York Public Library. She holds a masters in urban planning from Columbia University, 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.
I hope one day to solely be a writer but to help pay the bills I am an online marketing consultant, typically for start ups. I’m interested in helping any organization (restaurant, museum, non profit) get there message out to a wider audience. I am also a passionate cycling activist and food blogger.
What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?
I love to spy the Sackler Wing on my bike rides through Central Park. Situated on the far west side of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, it always sneaks up on me, and then there it is, a modern building framed entirely in glass. At that point I’ll know I’ve made it to 82nd Street. The Sackler Wing, designed by architects Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo, and Associates, and completed in 1978, houses a reflecting pool and sloping glass wall to surround the Temple of Dendur, a gift from the Egyptian government. The reflecting pool and glass wall are meant to evoke the original location of the temple on the Nile.
We’ve been noticing this disturbing but unsurprising trend recently on the Upper West Side: food carts branded with advertising for big banks. On a stretch between 67th Street and 70th Street, every food cart had multiple umbrellas with Capital One emblazoned on it. With permits for food carts going for up to $20,000 on the black market, it’s not surprising that they might need some additional source of revenue. (more…)
Photographer Eric Lau contacted us after seeing our coverage on the recent whitewashing of 5Pointz and shared his photographs of the final B-Boy Battle at 5Pointz on October 6, 2013. He told us that a few friends of his are street artists and paint frequently at 5Pointz, so he documented a lot of art and events at the aerosol art mecca.
Shot on black and white film, these images capture so much of what was magical about 5Pointz–how it transformed the visitors. There are faces of amazement, laughter, elation. Most importantly, you sense the collective nature that 5 Pointz actively supported. The crowd is diverse, in more ways than one, and there’s even a pregnant woman and a baby in a stroller right in the mix.
These images gave us the chills (and inspiration to ditch our DSLR cameras):
This fun website, ExtendNY, extends the Manhattan grid ACROSS THE WHOLE WORLD. Moving the cursor moves the little green street signs and updates their street and avenue numbers. So for example, Paris would be at around 12,770th Avenue and 64,890th Street:
Walking through Greenwich Village, you might mistakenly think this adorable clapboard farmhouse at 121 Charles Street is simply a remnant of a more bucolic era in the Village. But it actually came from the Upper East Side, on 71st Street and York Avenue!