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.

Hart Island-Potters Field-Mass Burial Ground-The Bronx-NYC-2

We’ve covered the fascinating, morbid, and tragic history of Hart Island, New York City’s “potter’s field,” or mass burial ground since 1869, and even interviewed a resident who was housed in a rehab center there in the 1970s. Now, a recent New York Times exposé reveals even more stories and secrets of Hart Island, located in Long Island Sound off the Bronx, the final resting place to over one million of the city’s unclaimed, unidentified or forgotten residents. Combining new information with historical ones we’ve covered in the past, we present the secrets of Hart Island.


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Later this month will be the first occurrence of everyone’s favorite celestial happening in New York City, Manhattanhenge. The urban phenomenon was coined by Neil de Grasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. de Grasse Tyson also sets the dates and times for Manhattanhenge each year, which for 2016 are:


Whispering Bench-Columbia University-Low Library-Avery Hall-NYC-2

Whispering galleries and benches are well-documented phenomena (science!), but it’s something that still gets even jaded New Yorkers excited. The Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Terminal is probably the most famous (and over run) and the one in Shakespeare’s Garden in Central Park, the Charles C. Stover Bench the more recent cool kid in the bunch. But there’s another bona fide whispering bench we just tested, located at Columbia University between Low Library and St. Paul’s Chapel. 


Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Studio-New York Studio School-Greenwich Village-Macdougal Alley-NYCGertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Studio, New York Studio School, NY. Photo by Lexi Campbell.

A new series of monthly tours has just been announced for the historic Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Studio, the first location of the Whitney Museum of Art. This will be the first time in its history that the studio complex is open for public display. Run by the New York Studio School, the 45 minute tour will cover how the art collection started in the Whitney Studio and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s role was in the contemporary American art movement. The Metropolitan Museum of Art famously rejected Whitney’s Modern art collection and a donation to maintain it, and according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Whitney’s work to showcase American art at this studio spurred the modern art movement in the United States. 


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We all know Brooklyn’s connection to baseball and the Dodgers. But did you know about the sport of ice baseball? Gowanus was the locale for both poularization of both baseball and its winter partner, ice baseball, that originated in Brooklyn. This fun find comes to us from the book Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal by Joseph Alexiou.


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One of Untapped Cities’ exclusive tours is a visit inside the normally off-limits Bialystoker Synagogue on the Lower East Side. This landmarked building, which was built in 1826, encapsulates what we love about New York City – many layers of history, quirky details, and hidden places within a building you might just walk by and never notice.

Below, here are some of the secrets of the building you’ll learn on our tour, which also includes a walk to other historic sites along East Broadway. Get tickets for the tour here: