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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.


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Two trolley museums outside New York City have incredible pieces of history from 9/11 – the last cars from the PATH train that was trapped beneath the World Trade Center after the Twin Towers fell. Both were in the 9/11 hangar at JFK Airport and were donated to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut and the Kingston Trolley Museum in the Hudson Valley in 2015. Both are on view already and both museums will have special events, opening up PATH train Car 745 for the first time to the public on September 11th next month.

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Last night, the new retractable roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships made its first closure and Untapped Cities contributor and photographer Steven Wu made a time lapse video of the event. He tells us that in real time, it took 5 minutes and 35 seconds which is collapsed into 15 seconds in the video.

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New York Wheel-Staten Island-St. George Waterfront-S9 Architecture-Perkins Eastman-NYC-5Rendering of New York Wheel on Staten Island. Renderings by S9 Architecture/Perkins Eastman.

There’s one word that describes the development projects underway on the St. George Waterfront in Staten Island: ambitious. Last week, we took a tour of the construction site for the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets with the architects and developers in charge of the project. The two projects alone constitute $1.2 billion in investment, and are joined by additional projects underway at Lighthouse Point, Flagship Brewery, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, and other institutional organizations along Staten Island’s north shore.

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Morningside Park is experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years, with booming real estate in Morningside Heights and Harlem surrounding it. The picturesque park seems to have it all – grand landscapes, practical outdoor amenities, landmarked architecture, and commanding views.

Today, we’ll go through some of the most fun secrets and fun facts we came across while researching for a talk we gave with the Design Trust for Public Space inside Morningside Park last week.

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New York Public Library Archive-1939 World's Fair-Flushing Meadows-Corona Park-NYC1939 World’s Fair. Photo via NYPL.

The 1939 World’s Fair was a hopeful moment amidst of sea of international political turmoil, just before the start of World War II. Its theme, “Building the World of Tomorrow,” encapsulated the scale and scope of what the organizers intended. It was the largest of any international fair that came before it, measured in terms of visitors, size, cost, and other factors, and featured the participation of not only countries (60 of them) but also international corporations like General Motors, Wonder Bread, IBM and more.

The remnants of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are readily apparent, but those from the 1939 World’s Fair require quite a bit more digging. From 1964, the most notable holdouts include Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion (the subject of much controversy and rehabilitation efforts), the Unisphere, various buildings like the the space-age looking building, Terrace on the Park, and numerous sculptures.

Here are ten remnants from the 1939 World’s Fair, uncovered and researched on request by one of Untapped Cities’ readers!

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World's Fair Subway Car-1964-Model-R33 WF-St. Louis Car Company-NYC-005

Earlier this year, we wrote an article about the subway line that ran just for the 1939 World’s Fair and a reader commented that he had a model of the subway car and wanted to know more about it. Looking at the photographs he sent, the reader’s model actually appears to be the subway cars used for the 1964 World’s Fair, which were painted an aqua blue color in line with the branding for the event. His subway cars are the R33 WF (World’s Fair) model, of which 430 were commissioned for the event.

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