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.

Famous Nathan-Documentary Film-Hot Dogs-Lloyd Handwerker-Brooklyn-NYC-2

“There’s one Babe Ruth in baseball, there was one Einstein in science, and one Nathan in the food business,” someone interviewed in the new documentary film Famous Nathan, about the Coney Island hot dog chain founder, says. This film is a personal journey for director Lloyd Handwerker, a grandson of founder Nathan Handwerker, who interviewed family members, Nathan’s workers, and put together archival film and audio and family home videos, to share this story on the centennial anniversary of the hot dog company.


Turnstyle-Columbus Circle-Subway Market-Underground-NYC

These days it seems like a lot of the city’s underground is turning into a mall – but that’s not always a bad thing particularly when there’s a conversion of previously underutilized spaces. Many places, like Fulton Center and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (Santiago Calatrava’s “Soaring Bird station”) have taken inspiration from the success of the retail at Grand Central Terminal. Even the long-maligned Penn Station has been gradually kicking out long standing businesses in the hopes of going upscale.

The latest of these transformations is TurnStyle in the Columbus Circle subway station, a $14.5 million private project financed by the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and Susan Fine, the principal of Oases RE, which manages leasing (and is behind Grand Central Terminal’s retail spaces). Turnstyle was designed by the firm Architecture Outfit and opened this past weekend.


Prince Street-Prince Artist Tribute-Prince RIP-Mosaic Tiles-Death-Purple Subway Stickers-NYC-3Image via DNAinfo

As the news of Prince’s death spread on Thursday, April 21st, tributes both impromptu and official came in many forms. Like the many influential artists we have lost too soon (David Bowie, only too recently), Prince and his music have defined people’s lives across generations. It is not surprising that people have taken their grief to the streets and to sound stages.

On Saturday, even a subway panhandler had something to say in our car: “Prince was my father!” he proclaimed, followed by a string of expletives we cannot type out here. But the tributes to Prince in New York City that we list here range from guerrilla statements to formal tributes, with a social media hoax in between.


We recently shared our favorite secrets of The Park Slope Armory, of which one of them is the abandoned shooting range a couple levels down into the basement. Today, we have more photos to share of this incredible space. The Park Slope Armory was originally built for the 14th Regiment of the New York State militia and opened in 1893. A long shooting gallery allowed for short range and long range target practice, but has been left fallow for many years. 


Swale-Floating Edible Farm Forest-Mary Mattingly-Biome Arts-NYCRendering of Swale, a floating edible forest

We’re very excited about this floating installation coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island and more locations in New York City this summer, starting June 28th if all goes well. As seen on Brooklyn Based, Swale will be a floating forest on a barge where visitors can actually pick their own food which they can keep at no cost. The floating barge will be irrigated from water from the New York harbor, harbored through the wetlands built onto the barge.

While there may be some initial similarities with +POOL, the floating barge pool that’s in the works for the East River in the attempt to reuse harbor water, Swale is both sculpture and tool, the project organizers describe, providing “free healthy public food at the intersection of public art and service.


Jackie-Robinson-Brooklyn Dodgers-Documentary-PBS-Ken Burns-NYCImage via PBS.org/Courtesy of Hulton Archive Getty Images

The new two-part PBS documentary from Ken Burns, “Jackie Robinson,” focuses on the star athlete’s civil rights activism. The introduction quotes Martin Luther King, Jr., who said “Jackie Robinson was a sit-in-er before sit-ins. A freedom rider, before freedom rides.” President Barack Obama, also interviewed in the documentary says, “Jackie Robison laid the foundation for America to see its Black citizens as subjects and not just objects. It meant that there were six and seven and eight years old boys who suddenly thought a Black man was a hero.”