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.

Inside the 9/11 Museum

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

The Wondrous Water Towers of NYC-Pop CHart Lab

Pop Chart Lab was founded by a book editor and a graphic designer with a singular goal to “render all human experience in chart form.” From beer, to classic American cars, to contemporary footwear: Patrick Mulligan, Ben Gibson and their team have been tackling all sorts of fun topics near and dear to our hearts. Readers of Untapped Cities will know we’re pretty obsessed with water towers here, highlighting how they work, our 10 favorite unique ones in NYC, their transformation into art projects and secret speakeasies. We were pretty happy to see this wonderful visual summary of New York City’s “Wondrous Watertowers,” a brand new print by Pop Chart Lab.

They’ve included some of our favorites, including Tom Fruin’s Glass Watertower, the red and white striped one in Dumbo, Save the Palestine in Greenpoint, and even the steel ones in Gowanus Houses.

Pop Chart Lab-NYC's Wonderous Watertowers-Print-2

Pop Chart Lab-NYC's Wonderous Watertowers-Print-3 Pop Chart Lab-NYC's Wonderous Watertowers-Print

Get the print here and poke around other group visualizations in our Fun Maps column.

Like everywhere else in Manhattan, the Upper West Side and Manhattan began as bucolic farmland, settled with farmhouses and later large mansions away from the commercial fray downtown. Grand mansions were built from the Revolutionary era through the Gilded Age, by a variety of characters ranging from robber barons to respected surgeons. Famous names like Boss Tweed, John James Audubon, A.T. Tewaert, CKG Billings and Charles Ward Apthrop once graced these halls, but their homes all fell to the same fate–the wrecking ball.

1. Charles M. Schwab Mansion

Charles M. Schwab House-Riverside Drive-Demolished-NYCImage via Library of Congress


IMG_2231 seaman drake arch

Yesterday, we covered 8 of NYC’s monumental arches, including two that are no longer standing today. One, the Seaman-Drake arch still exists but is mostly forgotten and graffiti-ridden. This 35-foot high marble arch is now partially obscured behind buildings in Inwood. The arch is a remnant of a once wealthy family, whose marble estate was once entered via this monumental arch. According to The New York Times, the Drake family built their estate in 1855 on a hilltop north of the Dyckman family, using marble quarried from a location at the foot of the hill along Broadway. A low marble wall extended from the arch, which was said to be an exact replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


New York Historical Society-Time Capsule-New York Business Men's Association-1915-NYCImage via New York Historical Society

It seems to be the month of time capsule openings here in New York City, with a 1949 time capsule that was just opened this morning on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Next week on October 8th, the New York Historical Society will open a bronze one from a century ago deposited by the Lower Wall Street Business Men’s Association. In fact, it’s the oldest, unopened time capsule because it was temporarily lost for a few decades.


Old Times Square-Long Acre Square-Cobblestone-NYCTimes Square, then Long Acre Square. 

We’ve been doing a bit of research about Times Square these days, in a forthcoming book about the history of Broadway that we’re working on. The Library of Congress has as great repository of vintage photographs and we’d thought we’d share the striking evolution of Times Square from 1898 to today.