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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.


A new dinosaur unveiled today at the American Museum of Natural History hits many superlatives for the museum. It’s the tallest yet at 17 feet – just two feet shy of its home at the Wallach Orientation Center on the fourth floor. It’s too long for the space, so its head and neck go out into the elevator bank in front of the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing. The species is so new, it doesn’t have a scientific name yet but belongs to a group of herbivore giants known as “titanosaurs.” According to the American Museum of Natural History website, “The species lived in the forests of today’s Patagonia about 100 to 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, and is one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.” 

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Abandoned Port Morris Train Track Line-Bronx-St Mary's Tunnel-James Karla Murray-Photography-NYC-49

James and Karla Murray are the photographers and authors of the fantastic books about New York City’s unique disappearing storefronts, aptly titled Store Front and Store Front II. They also run a fun blog that covers spots in their books and their own explorations. They recently reached out to us to share their their exploration of the abandoned Port Morris line train tracks, taken over the course of more than a decade, in the Bronx, built in 1842. Up until the late 2000s, the rail corridor was nicknamed the “Mott Haven Swamp,” due to the huge amount of stagnant water that had accumulated. In December 2009, the Department of Environmental Protection removed 625,000 gallons of water from a one-mile section, as well as “45 tons of soggy junk,” reported The New York Times. In recent times, there’s been talk about converting this into a “Lowline park” to combat the homeless camps and drug users that populate it.

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Crown Heights-Homeless Boy Shoulder Arm Cast-Street Art Sculpture-Brooklyn-NYC-2

On Rogers Avenue, between Sterling Place and Park Place in Crown Heights, is one of the most unique pieces of street art we’ve seen recently. It’s a sculpture, often tucked behind refuse and recycle – a cast of a homeless boy, “J” who was 8 years old when the piece was installed last June by J himself, his mother and artist KW. The accompanying plaque reads:

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It was not a good day in New York City signage news yesterday. First, DNAInfo reported that the History Channel billboard that has become iconic on the Bronx skyline is on its way down. Then Curbed NY discovered via artist Steve ESPO Powers’ Instagram that the long-running art installation, Love Letter to Brooklyn, painted on the Macy’s skybridges in downtown Brooklyn was also on its way out.

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Cherub Gate Plaque-St. Mary-le-Bow-Trinity Church-London-NYC-2Photo via London Remembers

It may come as a surprise that parts of New York City (ranging from a cherub sculpture to 11 blocks of land) are from the United Kingdom, but given the city’s colonial origins, cross-Atlantic trade, and World War II alliance, it begins to make more sense. This compilation include parts of New York City that have been moved from England to become part of the city’s land and architecture.

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Chinatown-Chinese Theater-Vintage Photograph-Restaurant-Bar-5-7 Doyers Street-Chu Enterprises-Eddy Buckingham-NYC_15-7 Doyers Street when it was the Chinese Theatre/Chinese Opera House

Behind a storefront at 5-7 Doyers Street in Chinatown that long concealed a mahjong den and a famed tunnel that stretched to Chatham Square, will emerge a two-floor restaurant, the Chinese Tuxedo, named for the historic opera house that once stood just down the street. While the original location on the Bowery has been remade, rather indelicately into a Chase bank, the new Chinese Tuxedo aims to restore to public view the rich, cataclysmic history that has made Chinatown what is today.

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