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.

NYC Street Trees by Species-Jill Hubley-Fun Maps-Open Data-NYC.23 PM

First off, who knew there was a census for trees? The tree census takes place every ten years, with the last census in 2005 and the next one occurring this year. Jill Hubley, a web developer from Brooklyn, has put together a beautiful interactive map of New York City’s tree distribution, based on the 2005 census. She also filed a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request for the 1995 tree census, and will have the results at the end of this month. This means she’ll be able to compare the tree cover evolution in New York City over time, accounting for the city’s Million Trees Initiative, and later add this year’s results.


Wall Street Pearl Street-Street Signs-Slave Market-NYCNYC’s Slave Market was located at what is now Wall Street and Pearl Street. Image via Flickr by bradhoc

Before stocks were traded on Wall Street, and not long after Wall Street was an actual wall to keep out British and Native American marauders, there was a slave market at the intersection of Pearl Street. As reported yesterday by WNYC, New York City government will acknowledge for the first time in history that the slave market existed, and add a historical marker to join the other 38 important sites downtown. The slave market was active between the years of 1711 and 1762 at the corner of Wall Street and Pearl Street.


Holdout Bungalow House-Seattle-Edith MacefieldImage by Ian C. Bates for The New York Times 

This week, the famous holdout bungalow in Seattle, likened to the home in the film Up, returned to the news, with The New York Times reporting that the 600 square foot house, now surrounded by commercial buildings, was in default. Holdout houses are nothing new, but they form an emphatic visual reminder of this age-old development battle. Here, we’ve rounded up five of what we believe are some of the most impressive holdouts around the world.


Saving Place Iwan Baan-DUMBO-Manhattan Bridge-NYC-Landmarks Law-50th Anniversary-Museum of CIty of New York ExhibitionPhoto by Iwan Baan for the Museum of the City of New York Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks

On April 21st at the Museum of the City of New York, the exciting new exhibition Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks will open, exploring how the pioneering landmarks legislation, passed in 1965, has been a key contributor to the rebirth of many New York City neighborhoods. More than just a historical recounting of the transformative law, Saving Place will look at how the impact of the landmarks law is woven into the urban fabric of the city today. Via the curation of original documents, drawings, paintings, videos, building pieces, paintings and more, the exhibition will situate history within the modern context.


MTA Bowling Green Lightbox Program-Photography-Patrick J. Cashin-Second Avenue Subway-East Side Access-7 Line Extension-NYC-004Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Patrick J. Cashin

It’s not the first time the MTA has installed a great photography exhibit at the Bowling Green subway station, as part of the Lightbox Program. This time, instead of foot-tingling photos looking down from New York City’s rooftops, there are large scale images deep underneath the streets of the MTA’s capital projects, like of the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and 7 Line Extension taken by Patrick J. Cashin a former Newsweek lab technician and photographer who has been visually documenting the MTA’s projects for fifteen years.


More Love Letters-NYC Subway-001

We came across this Post-It note in the subway with the hashtag #moreloveletters. It reminded us of The Strangers Project, which collects handwritten journal entries from strangers across the country. A quick search led us to More Love Letters, an organization started by Hannah Brencher, a New York transplant motivated by her own loneliness in this city.

As she says in her TED Talk, “I was living in New York City and it felt like the most impossible battle of my day was trying not to cry during random subway rides for no apparent reason. I felt lonely. I felt disconnected…So on those subway rides–the lonely ones where no one talked or said even more than a word to one another–I started writing those same kinds of love letters my mother had written to me and tucking them throughout New York City for strangers to find.”