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.

George Washington Bridge-Steel Tower Lights-President's Day-NYC-005Photo by Dark Cyanide

While it is fairly well-known that the exposed steel towers of the George Washington Bridge were not part of the original Beaux-Arts design (check out the pink granite exterior it was supposed to have), what’s not commonly known is that they get lit up, unannounced, for holidays a few times a year. A smaller-scale program like that on the Empire State Building. Yesterday, the towers were lit for President’s Day and the photographer Dark Cyanide shared us these shots he took (while almost floating away on the bed of ice).


Holographic Studios-Gallery Laser Laboratory NYC-009

On 26th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues is the Holographic Studio, one of the more obscure, off-the-beaten path museum-like spots in New York City. The Holographic Studios is a gallery and laser laboratory run by Jason Sapan, an expert in holography who worked with laser technologies for Bell Labs in the 1960s. The Holographic Studio is the only known storefront holography gallery and laboratory in the world. It’s also the oldest holographic gallery in the world, and the laboratory sits in subterranean space below. Recently, the New York Adventure Club took a private tour of the space, in a building that was once home to a blacksmith, and later a Medical Instruments manufacturer that made OBGYN products for Bellevue Hospital nearby.


Jeffrey Linn-NYC Sea Level Rise 100 feet Map

We’ve had a slew of (not so) Fun Maps on Untapped Cities recently, like the map of subway bacteria from all of NYC’s stations (yum). Well, here is a look at New York City, should sea levels rise 100 feet. It’s been called a “doomsday scenario” by Business Insider, who broke news of the maps, but the maps themselves have a “Judgmental Maps”-like quality to them. What’s clear is that 1. Mapmaker Jeffrey Linn from Seattle loves puns and 2. Most of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx would be underwater. 3. Staten Island doesn’t count as part of New York City apparently.


Levalet-Charles Leval-Street Art Paris-001

By day, Charles Leval is an artist and teacher in Paris. In his spare time, he’s a street artist that goes by the name Levalet and has been adding some humor onto the streets of Paris since at least 2012. Often using objects already embedded into walls, his wheat paste works plays on the architecture of the streets themselves. While this style of work inevitably draws comparison to Banksy, he also institutes an almost still-life like method, perhaps from his training as an artist, by inserting found objects into his scenes from books, umbrellas, pool cues, wine glasses to even an electric piano. Others pieces have a time lapse nature to them.


LINE x LINE NYC Subway Color Palettes-Karen Ng-Kickstarter-SVA

From our time writing about the subway system at Untapped Cities, we’ve come to know some of the real transit buffs in New York City. The community is a passionate one, always ready to provide new, fascinating information to our readers, and correct inaccuracies on Wikipedia. Now, transit aficionados can take things one step further, by decorating their home in color palettes inspired by the NYC Subway. LINE x LINE just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to create graphic posters and postcards that surface both colors and historical meaning from New York City subway stations.



New York City is buzzing about the NBA All-Star Game this weekend at Madison Square Garden. Yesterday, we looked at the history of the New York Renaissance team, aka the Harlem Rens, the most famous of the black fives. We also chose this Friday’s event at the Apollo Theater, the 10th Annual All-Star Gospel Celebration as one of our event picks of the week. Our Twitter followers sent us this Fun Map, a history of New York City Basketball released by the NBA. One of the most striking things this map tells you, without even looking at the detail, is the sheer number of NBA players that have come from New York City.