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.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 14:  A jubilant Amer. sailor clutching a white-uniformed nurse in a back-bending, passionate kiss as he vents his joy while thousands jam the Times Square area to celebrate the long awaited victory over Japan. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

The Kiss. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Today, August 14th, is the anniversary of VJ Day (or Victory Over Japan Day) in 1945 when Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the iconic photograph of the kiss between sailor and nurse in Times Square. The photograph, entitled The Kiss, has been the subject of much debate, across a wind range of topics.

Was it staged? Eisenstaedt himself gives two rather different accounts of how it happened. Who are the people in the photograph? Over a dozen people have claimed to be the sailor or the nurse. Even Eisenstaedt thought he had found her, a woman by the name of Edith Shain, but the claim was debunked by a 2012 book which claimed Shain was too short. Shain.The sailor is identified with a bit more certainty, through photographic analysis, to be George Mendonça. Mendonça identified the nurse as a woman by the name of Greta Friedman, who also came forward as the nurse.

What time did it take place? As reported in Wired, a physicist and his colleagues have determined the precise time over the course of a four year study: 5:51 pm they believe.


Francoise Schein-Manhattan Subway Map Floating on NYC Sidewalk-Soho-Greene Street-NYC-2Photo via Mashable

Embedded into the sidewalk in front of 110 Greene Street just south of Prince Street is a floating subway map 90 feet long by 12 feet wide. The work has all the quintessential elements of a New York City artist’s story. An artist begins her career on the streets of Soho. She seeks to install a public art piece (supported by a real-estate developer) but has to get it passed by the community board. Then she is mocked by an officer in the Department of Transportation for her idea, this was the 1980s after all. But in an act of persistence, it gets approved, and the piece of work becomes an award-winning piece beloved by residents.


Manhole Cover Frying Pan Sunny Side Up Eggs-East Village-Alphabet City-NYC

Do a quick Google search. Sometimes it’s so hot, you can actually fry eggs on a sidewalk or a manhole cover. And as the heat returns over the weekend, it still might be possible in New York City this summer. But even better (and more sanitary) might be this creative street art piece in Alphabet City on Avenue C and 2nd Street, photographed by Untapped Cities reader Laurie Gwen Shapiro. Makes us almost want to have some N.Y.C. Sewer waffles too.

If anybody knows the artist who did this, let us know!

Next, check out 10 of NYC’s most unique manhole covers or discover the disproportionate number of manhole covers that are in Westminster Abbey, London.

Where Exactly is your NYC Neighborhood-Fun Maps-Borders.26 AMOur interpretation of the Upper West Side (in red)

New Yorkers are having a field day with this data visualization tool from DNA Info, drawing where they believe are the boundaries of their New York City neighborhoods. Urban planners will know well the struggle with the shifting delimitation of boundaries, having to line up data sets between information from the Census, Community Districts and more. And none of this takes into account resident’s psychological understanding of neighborhood edges, or real estate creativity in concocting new neighborhoods.


Most Americans have long forgotten the importance of “our daily bread,” but up in Fort Washington Park in New York City, there are rumored remnants of ovens soldiers used to bake during the American Revolution. When we originally wrote about these ovens in The Secrets of Fort Washington Park, we knew that the ovens had been used by Girl Scouts in the 1950s. There were suggestions that it may have been built by either the Civilian Conservation Corps or the workers who built the George Washington Bridge. But a reader recently told us, based on a book he had read that they date to much earlier. He believed “George Washington had the ovens built there so soldiers could break bread (they carried flour for this purpose.”


Wildcard News App-Untapped Cities-IOS-iPhone-Secrets of NYC-Grand Central-High Line

If you’re like us, you consume the news voraciously. And when you say news, you don’t just mean what’s traditionally known as news–it’s everything from trending urban exploration topics, to cat GIFs, to Reddit snippets. Social media platforms were the first to harness this–that what’s shared is just as important as the news told to us through traditional channels, and all of it together reflects our new common experience for better or worse.

But a more encompassing definition of “news” also means more to organize and sift through. Some of you may have used the app Circa, and lamented its demise. But have no fear, the new app Wildcard launched today taking on the challenge, though with some key differences.