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.


There is a beautiful new resident at South Street Seaport and her name is Wavertree. The Wavertree was built in 1885 and has a historical connection to New York City, which is more than the beloved Peking (which left the port in August) could boast. It arrived in New York City in 1895 en route to Calcultta with jute cargo aboard. The ship was acquired by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968 and went through a 16 month restoration, $13 million restoration at Caddell’s Dry Dock and Repair Co. on Staten Island. She returned to port this past weekend and we were given a special walk through with South Street Seaport Executive Director, Jonathan Boulware, and the museum’s historian William Roka. Boulware is a rare breed – an urban explorer and seafaring one, who used to sail large ships similar to the Wavertree. 

Tomorrow evening, the South Street Seaport will be hosting a toast to the Wavertree aboard the renovated flagship vessel with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, oysters bar, cocktails, and period music from the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. Tickets are $250 but you get $100 off with this discount code link! Untapped Cities will also host a behind the scenes tour of the Wavertree where you will get to visit off-limits parts of the ship, including the impressive hull. Sign up for advance notice here:



The Brooklyn Kings Theatre, opened in 1929, was built as one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theaters in the New York City area, the most opulent movie palaces in the country. The Loew’s Kings Theatre was modeled after the Opera Garnier in Paris and the palace at Versailles. Flatbush was once one of the premier entertainment destinations in Brooklyn, and the revitalization of the neighborhood was one of the goals from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) with the renovation of the Kings Theatre.

Closed in 1977, the Kings Theatre had deteriorated extensively over the course of decades. Bats had taken up residence, and the ceiling and wall of the auditorium on stage left had collapsed. Fortunately, the interior could be recreated using a mold of the other side that was still intact.



In a surprising post-debate moment last night, the much-maligned Robert Moses has landed a punch to the Trump campaign from the grave, over eighty years later. Here is what TIME reporter Zeke Miller tweeted last night:



Last night’s first 2016 Presidential debate featured many memorable moments (and painful ones) between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but for infrastructure geeks like us, the likening of LaGuardia Airport to one in a “Third World Country” again by politicians made us laugh. LaGuardia Airport is like the unfashionable, uncool kid in your class that gets bullied and/or targeted for a makeover when convenient by the cool kids. But LaGuardia Airport, named after Fiorello H. LaGuardia, one of New York City’s more beloved mayors, also has some cool history that began way before Vice President Joe Biden or Trump called it Third World.

Here are 10 secrets and fun facts you probably didn’t know about LaGuardia Airport:



We’ve only seen this in one place in New York City in all our explorations – in-ground garbage cans to hide household waste. We came across these on a walk around the Astoria and East Elmhurst waterfront area with photographer Nathan Kensinger, who was walking around a group of students from an architecture class that members of the Untapped Cities staff teaches at Columbia University.


nypl-bronx_spuyten-duyvil-library_giorgio-cavaglieri_1971NYPL Spuyten Duyvil branch. All photos by Elizabeth Felicella.

The new exhibit, Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City’s Branch Librariesopened yesterday at the Center for Architecture, featuring photographs by Elizabeth Felicella of all 210 of the New York Public Library branches. The extensive collection totals over 2000 images, ranging from expansive architectural interior and exterior shots to details. The idea, writes the Center for Architecture, is to invite the viewer “to appreciate the intricacy, complexity, and vast scope of these vital and evolving public resources.” The project took a total of five years and the images are organized in the Center for Architecture exhibit by date of the library’s construction.