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.

CW Pencil Enterprise-Forsyth Street-Lowre East Side-Pencil Store Shop-NYCImage via CW Pencil Enterprise

Here at Untapped Cities, we love stores that sell only one thing–it’s so New York to have enough density to support such specific, local businesses. CW Pencil Enterprise is the latest, opening in the Lower East Side on Forsyth Street, and recently explored by Gothamist. With a pristine white interior infused with pop colors from the pencils themselves and a retro yellow chair, it’s like a creative space you wished was in your own home.

While the impetus of a pencil-only shop comes owner Caroline Weaver’s mother’s obsession with pencils, it’s also about highlighting a craft that continues today. Weaver tells Gothamist, “”There aren’t very many pencil factories left, but most of them still maintain the quality and heritage of yesteryear.”


On Quora, we came across a great Cities 101 question about the logic behind the selection of Manhattan’s Cross Streets (and one of our photographs of Columbus Circle in the answer). In a thorough recap, Raj Bhuptani, a ’13 Statistics graduate from Harvard and a Quantitative Research Analyst at Two Sigma Investments, provides an answer which he has allowed us to republish here (additional hyperlinks added by us).

Question: What’s the logic to the selection of Manhattan’s major cross streets (14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 59th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th)?

Raj’s Answer:


Eric Snowden Bust-Fort Greene Park-Prison Ship Martyrs Monument-NYCPhoto by Aymann Ismail/ANIMAL New York

Just before dawn on Monday morning, artists erected a sculpture of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, atop the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park. Though it’s the latest artistic expressions inspired Snowden, it’s not the first and will certainly not be the last. Here’s a recap of this latest sculpture, and 5 other Edward Snowden monuments that have gone up around the world.

6. Fort Greene Park, Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, Brooklyn

Eric Snowden Bust-Fort Greene Park-Prison Ship Martyrs Monument-NYC-2Photo by Aymann Ismail/ANIMAL New York

ANIMAL New York was on hand to document the creation and installation of “Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0″ in Fort Greene Park, and one of the artists, with voice altered in a video, says “It’s truly not just about the bust, it’s about the context. We feel its a continuation of a story that was started hundreds of years ago,” linking the story of Snowden to the many who died on British prison ships during the Revolutionary War, memorialized at the Fort Greene monument is martyrs towards American freedom.


Pommes Frites-East Village Explosion-Second Avenue-NYCImage via Pommes Frites

Following the tragic explosion on Second Avenue in the East Village, destroyed fries-only restaurant Pommes Frites, seeks to reopen with your help. At first, they resisted requests for donations, stating that the victims should come first. But fans insisted, and Pommes Frites acknowledged that with individual sales that don’t usually go above $7, the shop lacks a large cash surplus to begin again. They hope to reopen in the East Village, and they’re crowdsourcing funds using Square Cash. On Thursday, they announced on their website and Facebook page quite simply:


JR-Inside Out Project-Fordham University-Lincoln Center-Street Art-NYC-002

In New York City, artist JR may be most famous for his work in Times Square, pasting 6000 faces onto the floor as part of his continuing Inside Out Project, or for Unframed, an exhibition in the abandoned Ellis Island hospitals using the faces of real immigrants. On a smaller, but non less important scale, JR also recently brought the Inside Out Project to Fordham University at Lincoln Center and the local community.


The Cultural Services of the French Embassy continues its trend of all-star programming here in New York City with a 12-hour nocturnal marathon called A Night of Philosophy, taking place April 24th to 25th in two of New York City’s gorgeous Gilded Age mansions–the French Embassy at 927 Fifth Avenue, in the former Whitney Payne Mansion, and the Ukrainian Institute of America, the former home of banker Isaac D. Fletcher, oil baron Harry F. Sinclair and August Van Horne Stuyvesant Jr., a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant. With the two around the corner from each other, you can even mansion hop between screenings, readings, art installations, performances, and lectures by 60 philosophers on topics like “Must Intellectual Life Be Boring?” and “I Think, Therefore I Can.”