Michelle is the founder of Untapped Cities. She can usually be found in New York (where she grew up), Paris, backpacking in South America or Southeast Asia, or in-transit between. She has an obsession with buses, shoots with a Nikon SLR camera, and destroys cellos on stage with her indie rock band. She’s traveled to 35 countries, including working for earthquake disaster organizations in Peru and Sumatra. She is an author of 100 Ways to Make History, published by the New York Public Library. She holds a masters in urban planning from Columbia University, 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.
One of our favorite urbanites, Matt Green, who’s walking every street of NYC has just come across “Turkey National Park” in Staten Island. It’s a mock national park that even has its own website modeled exactly after the U.S. Fish & Wildlife. According to the page,
We all know the Chrysler Building in New York City–that it was once the world’s tallest building (thanks to the last minute add of a 125 foot spire), or that its Art Deco ornamentation is derived from automobile references. But we often forget that the Chrysler Building had an auto showroom too, the most direct reference to the company that built the skyscraper.
On our recent Untapped Cities exclusive tour of the Woolworth Building, preservationist Lisa Swyers along with Roy Suskin of The Witkoff Group took us to some truly off-limits spots in the already off-limits building. We went down into the bowels to see the mechanical rooms that support the 57 story building, we saw the famous pool, and we went up to the mezzanine. Aside from the unprecedented access, we learned from our guides some wild facts about the building. It’s our third visit there, and we keep learning new things each time. Here are 10 secrets to whet your appetite for our next Woolworth Tour on April 12th.
At York Street, you might notice this porcelain on steel sign along the walls of the subway tube. NO SMOKING, NO SPITTING it warns straphangers under Sanitary Code Sect. 216. These signs date from before the consolidation of the subway, and the individual companies would put up messages to discourage bad behavior.
You’ve probably noticed the whimsical Tom Otterness Life Underground sculptures while at the 14th Street A/C/E station, but did you notice the MTA Signal Learning School? Heralded by a traffic light that actually changes colors, the official name of the school is the Charles E. Morehouse Signals Learning Center. According to a nearby plaque, Charles “exemplified the commitment to excellence that is the trademark of maintenance of way-signals” from 1953-2002.