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.

R211-MTA-Open Gangway-Subway Car-Rendering-NYC-4Via MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting, January 2016. Renderings are from 2013.

There’s been a lot of excitement in the transit world about New York City’s open gangway subway cars, though the MTA is only purchasing 10 prototypes, at a cost of $52 million, according to its Capital Plan. The aim, as can be expected, is to increase capacity of the entire subway train allowing passengers to ride in the gangway between cars, like the articulated buses already on the road. As international travelers and transit buffs know, open gangway cars are already in active use in many transit systems around the world like certain lines in Paris, Toronto and London. And as Ben Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas reports, not only does it increase capacity by 8-10% per car, its also a safer design. How many times have you seen people open the doors between cars? It would also limit isolation of cars.


From the creative minds of Mark and Jay Duplass is a new animated show, Animals, on HBO premiering on February 5th, showing “unexpected tales of urban life” from the perspective of city animals. It seems hilarious already, but we’re particularly excited because the show is clearly set in New York City. Opening with a cat on a classic fire escape landing, the show goes into the life of the Central Park Horse carriages, the cockroaches in the subway, socializing in a dog park, and more. City shots in the trailer include an aerial of Central Park (albeit much squashed), the third section of the High Line pre conversion, the Queensboro Bridge and tramway, and the elevated train in what looks to be Long Island City.


Nikola Tesla Hotel Room-The New Yorker Hotel-3d Scan Matterport-NYC.35 PM

We’re excited to be partnering with 3D visualization company Matterport to bring visitors digitally inside unique New York City locations over the next few months. We’ll also be adding to the company’s current batch of 3D scans in the city, which include places like the Edison Ballroom and Nicola Tesla’s hotel room at The New Yorker Hotel both made by Real Virtual Zone.

From 1933 until his death a decade later, Nikola Tesla lived in rooms 3327 and 3328, on the 33rd floor of The New Yorker Hotel. The room itself has been renovated (you can see photos of it in an earlier state on the Tesla society website). Telsa, a Serbian, immigrated to the United States in 1884 at age 28, having previously lived and work in France for the Continental Edison Company.


PlowNYC-Real Time Snow Removal-NYC.gov-Blizzard Jonas-NYC-Fun Maps

We hope that you are all safely ensconced at home, viewing Blizzard Jonas from your window like we are from Brooklyn. But if you’re like us, you might have plans sometime today too (we’re headed to the Metropolitan Opera tonight). NYC.gov has a useful map, PlowNYC, tracking real-time street plowing in New York City.


Hanger Barn-Sculpture-Figment Festival-Governors Island- Folio- Youngsu Lee and Bosuk Hur-NYC-001

We can always count on the City of Dreams competition to offer a unique architectural installation on Governors Island, often made of a collection of a single item. In previous years there have been a pavilion of discarded plastic cups and a collection of custom reef balls for the Billion Oyster Project. There’s a reason for that – the competition specifically asks contestants to think about the sustainable future of the planet, with an undoubtable strains on resources, and gives emphasis towards projects that adaptively reuse existing materials.


311 Noise Complaints-NYC-CartoDB-Fun Maps.40 PM

If you love maps, there’s a good chance that the company CartoDB may have powered many of the ones you’ve seen. On Untapped Cities alone, CartoDB has been attributed to maps like the oldest place to drink by neighborhood, how connected neighborhoods will be to the LinkNYC Wifi portals, a map of doors photographed by a 1970s photographer, and many more. When CartoDB contacted us about their 2015 311 complaints dashboard, we were particularly interested because of our own NYC Big Apps finalist project last year on improving the 311 system. Did you know that 18 million calls go into 311 each year? That’s 50,000 per day.