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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.


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A note from Untapped Cities founder, Michelle Young: 

9/11 happened on the first day of registration my sophomore year in college. I was sleeping and I remember hearing bounding footsteps in the hallway of our thinly-walled dorms at Harvard and someone saying that the World Trade Center had fallen. It seemed like something out of a crazy dream, so I kept on sleeping. I woke up to instant messages (remember those on AOL?) from New York, where I’m from. Friends at Columbia University had seen the whole thing happen from their skyscraper dorms in Morningside Heights. 

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One of the many quirky finds on Roosevelt Island is this boat prow that juts out into the West Channel of the East River. It sits in Octagon Park and faces out towards Manhattan, with some light graffiti and usually empty. Is it the remnant of an old boat? Is it an art project?

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We took a trip to The Noble Experiment, the distillery in Williamsburg that produces Owney’s Rum and the only exclusive rum distillery in New York. Walking down an industrial street filled with street art and a furniture manufacturer, it’s easy to miss the beautiful tasting room and distillery that’s peeking out of a huge window just above eye level. The area is changing rapidly–art galleries with adjoining bars, and soon a coffee shop moving in. Landlords are holding out, giving short-term leases in the hopes that the neighborhood will be rezoned for residential.”Hipsters” and musicians will remember this area for the DIY music venues that paved the way: Death by Audio and Shea Stadium. The Noble Experiment moved in two years ago, subdividing a massive space once run entirely by the furniture company next door.

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On Friday, The New York Times published an article on New York City’s one-block streets–contending that they carry something antithetical to the city in some ways, proclaiming that bigger is not always better. But smaller can mean more expensive. While the article focuses much on the real estate nature of these wonderful enclaves, we’d thought we’d provide some historical tidbits and some of our own adds to the list.

1. Gay Street, Greenwich Village

Gay Street-Greenwich Village-NYC-One Block StreetImage via Wikimedia by Jean-Christophe BENOIST

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The underground of any city is fascinating. It reveals layers of history, things thought discarded or tucked away. It contains the underbelly of the city’s infrastructure. While the catacombs of New York City, Paris and other cities may be the most Halloween-esque for today’s holiday, we thought it would be fun to round up some of the city’s most interesting vaults. Instead of bodies and bones, these are subterranean spaces deliberately set aside for storing important and precious items. What is most interesting is the range in types of vaults here in New York City (no, money doesn’t make everything go around here, even though it might seem like it).

1. The Federal Reserve Gold Vault

1-Federal-Reserve-gold-new york-untapped cities-wesley yiinSource: Open Currency

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There’s a lovely video spreading around the internet called Paris / New York, so well done you don’t realize it’s an ad for British Airways until the very end. Of course, it takes on a city duality comparison already heavily explored from Varham Muratyan’s influential illustrated series Paris v. New York: A Tally of Two Cities, to our own Parisians v. New Yorkers live drawing event at the French Embassy with illustrator David Cessac. Time lapse videos in Paris are also popular fare–with Luke Shepard’s groundbreaking one, Le Flâneur, a few years back. But, who doesn’t love a video of Paris and New York City all together? So, here are three! But first, some striking screen shots of the video, via Fubiz.

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