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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.


Love Locks-Brooklyn Bridge-2014-Lamp Posts-Roadway-NYC-2

Where there are love locks, there are police cutting them down. Sometimes, it’s to keep a bridge from collapsing, as the case is on Paris’ Pont des Arts. In typical New York City style, the love locks are being complemented by trash, bras, condoms and more on the Brooklyn Bridge these days. Still, while The Washington Post reports that more than 9,000 love locks have been cut from the Brooklyn Bridge since last winter, and The NY Daily News found last month that “only a small strip of the bridge walkway appears to be the unofficial lock zone,” we discovered this past week that the locks are creeping back into some more adventurous areas., like the lamp posts above the roadway.

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We previously rounded up 8 beautiful historic districts in Manhattan that were smaller than a block and we decided it was time to look at all of New York City. All the boroughs except Staten Island have historic districts smaller than a city block, as defined by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We’ll go in order, from the smallest number of houses in the district.

1. Hardenbergh/Rhindelander Historic District, Upper East Side, Manhattan

Hardenbergh Rhinelander Historic District-Upper East Side-89th Street-Lexington

This little historic district is really just a corner at the northwest corner of 89th Street and Lexington Avenue. In addition to this set of 6 buildings along Lexington Avenue, the district includes one narrow townhouse at 121 E. 89th Street. According to Ephemeral New York, Henry Hardenbergh, who designed the homes, “also designed the Dakota and the original Waldorf-Astoria on 34th Street.”

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Tom Otterness-Roosevelt Island-Marriage of Real Estate and Monday-East River-NYC

While the popular destination on Roosevelt Island these days include FDR Four Freedoms Park and the abandoned smallpox hospital, if you head in the opposite direction you may happen upon some quirky sculptures by Tom Otterness. But you’d have to look over the water’s edge, as the sculptures come out of the water! Installed in 1996 and titled “The Marriage of Real Estate and Money,” the sculptures make a statement situated between the dueling residential developments on both Roosevelt Island and Midtown East.

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Boundless Brooklyn Water Tower Craft-NYCBoundless Brooklyn DIY water tower, customized by The Drif

While it might be a dream of many to have their own water tower on a New York rooftop, Boundless Brooklyn has fun customize-your-own mini water towers through 100% recyclable kits you can get online. They’re lasercut in Brooklyn from chipboard and can be painted using acrylics. At the Brooklyn Museum last Thursday and at several upcoming events, street artists are teaching us average citizens how to tag our own water towers. Also available: the famous Kentile Floors sign, modeled after the one in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Broundless Brooklyn. Boundless Brooklyn was started by two graduates of NYU’s ITP program who seem to love water towers just as much, if not more, than we do.

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Thou Shalt Not Pop-Cathedral of St John the Divine-NYC

We do appreciate a religious institution with a sense of humor. At a recent Untapped Cities vertical tour of the (still unfinished!) Cathedral of St. John the Divine, photographer Nicholas Santasier spotted the “Thou Shalt Not Poop” signs, warding against dogs on the grass. The Cathedral is certainly not anti-animal however, with a permanent residency of the three peacocks and an annual Blessing of the Animals event. In fact, the clever signage was made for the Blessing of the Animals by Pentagram. Other signs include “Collect What You Receive,” and “Hold Close They Loved.” The signs use the custom font for the Cathedral, a redrawn version of Frederic Goudy’s 1928 Blackletter font.

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Inside the 9/11 Museum

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today!