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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.


Google NYC Office-Vintage Postcard Wall Spells Out Google-Meatpacking-Chelsea Market-2

Here’s a fun fact even some Google employees don’t know about their New York office, which is full of New York City-inspired decor. In the 9th Avenue entrance, there’s a wall of vintage postcards across from the elevator bank. Most people just take in the cool postcards (if it all) but don’t realize that they’re laid out to spell out “Google” when viewed just a few steps back, by showing the back side of the postcards.

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Holland Tunnel Catwalk Car-Packard NYC

In the Old Images of New York Facebook group today, a member posted this fabulous image of a Holland Tunnel Port Authority police cop in a narrow Packard “catwalk” car that ran along tracks in the tunnel. Doing some research, we discovered this was not the only model for the miniature cars in the tunnel.

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Cemetery Cities-Jardin del Humaya Cemetery, Cuilacan, Sinaloa Mexico Cartel-2Jardin del Humaya Cemetery, Cuilacan, Sinaloa Mexico

Conspicuous wealth isn’t limited to life on earth, it seems. There are many amazing examples of architectural masterpieces built for the afterlife. While much of the focus is often on the tributes to single individuals–Lenin, Sun Yat Sen–or creepy crypts full of skulls and bones, we’d like to highlight the cemetery cities we’ve been coming across recently. From a distance, some of these may look simply like a suburban residential neighborhood. Look closer, and you’ll realize they’re cities of the dead.

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Long Island City Clocktower-Bank of Manhattan-Queens-NYC-2

The Long Island City Clocktower building, also known as the Bank of Manhattan building, is under threat of demolition following a recent sale. In spite of its recognizable stature in Long Island City, the building is not landmarked, despite its historical significance. The Bank of Manhattan building was built in 1924, the first skyscraper in Long Island City and the tallest building in the borough. The Long Island Star Journal proclaimed that it would make Bridge Plaza, then a gardened promenade in the City Beautiful style, “the new Times Square of Queens.” The Bank of Manhattan itself was founded by Aaron Burr originally as the city’s first water delivery service. Those operations were old to the city in the 1808 as the banking side of the company became more profitable.

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Heat Map-Illegal Apartments Dwellings-NYC-SITU Studio-311 complaints-Department of BuildingsHeat Map of Illegal Dwelling 311 Complaints by SITU Studio

Although New York City has come a long way from the tenement days of yore, it still faces problems of illegal housing. In a city as dense in New York, the modern slum isn’t something low-rise and set apart from the rest of the urban fabric–it exists within our buildings. At a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, design firm SITU Studio created an urban heat map of 311 complaints to the NYC Department of Buildings for illegal dwellings. There’s no official number, with the complaint data “the only real indicators,” as SITU Studio partner Basar Girit tells Fast Company.

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Wild West-Old School-Wooden-Candy Store-77 Water Street-Financial District-Melvyn Kaufman-NYC

You might catch a glimpse of this Wild West-style candy store just outside the entrance to 77 Water Street in the Financial District and think it’s one of New York City’s real estate holdouts, built around with skyscrapers. But actually, it’s the quirky addition of an oddball developer named Melvyn Kaufman. In fact, 77 Water Street is full of surprising finds, including an astroturf runway on the roof adorned with a World War I-era model fighter plane.

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