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.

American Irish Historical Society-Headquarters-AIHS-991 Fifth Avenue-Townhouse-80th Street-Mary King Townhouse-NYC

The American Irish Historical Society (AIHS) is housed in a magnificent Gilded Age townhouse on Fifth Avenue, across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The society has an active schedule of public art and music events which provide the curious a glimpse into this stunning building. We recently took a grand tour of the townhouse as preparation for the next Brownstone 360 from the Metropolis Ensemble, an immersive food and art event to take place this upcoming Monday, was underway. Through our visit, we discovered the many secrets of this historic building at 991 Fifth Avenue, part of the Metropolitan Museum Historic District.

Sign up for advance notice for an upcoming Untapped Cities tour of the Historical Society:


2016 America's Cup-New York Harbor-Louis Vuitton-NYC_10

After difficult sailing conditions on Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a spectacular day for the 2016 America’s Cup (at least for us viewers). On Saturday, we attended via the official media boat and on Sunday, thanks to Classic Harbor Lines, we were able to get in on the three races Sunday afternoon very close to the action in New York harbor.

The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy historically, named for the schooner that won the first regatta in 1851. Winners host the event the next time, and as such the New York Yacht Club hosted the race from 1851 to 1983 (with some years in between with no races) when it lost to the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia. In 1920 the race was moved to the Newport Yacht Club, making it 85 years since the race was hosted in New York harbor. 


Fly by Night-Duke Riley-Creative Time-Pigeons-Brooklyn Navy Yard-NYC_23Duke Riley, Fly by Night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

In one of the more anticipated public art installations this summer, Duke Riley’s Fly by Night launched this past weekend. On both Saturday and Sunday evening, 1800 LED-lit pigeons flew in a coordinated dance off the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and for half an hour several hundred New Yorkers were nearly silent – a feat in itself. Fly by Night is an homage to many things – to the once crucial role of carrier pigeons in communication, to the domesticated Rock Dove so beloved and misunderstood by urbanites, to an industrial past undergoing rebirth at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

You can read about the aim of Fly by Night in our previous coverage but what we were struck by the most was the sound of nature – the flap of bird wings, the lapping of water, the caws of the pigeons – all melding peacefully amidst distance sounds of New York City.


Gowanus Canal-Secrets-History-Kayaing-Industrial-Superfund Site-NYC

The Gowanus Canal conjures up many aspects of New York City, from a celebrated Revolutionary War history to a less glorious industrial past that renders itself visible in the superfund site the canal is today. It’s also a site of rebirth, where the emergence of off-the-beaten path art galleries and small manufacturing shops have been followed by an influx of luxury condominiums. It also plays a forgotten but important role in the Prohibition era for bootleggers and was a convenient locale for the activities of the Brooklyn mafia. 

This Thursday at the Museum of the City of New York, writer Joseph Alexiou, author of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal will join Hannah Frishberg, reporter at Brownstoner, in a conversation about the changing landscape of the Gowanus Canal. Alexious sees the canal and its environs as a microcosm that tells the story of New York City, and explores in the book how the changing reception of the word Gowanus tells us a lot about the transformation that has taken place there since the earliest days of the colony and before. Our list of Gowanus Canal secrets below is derived predominantly from the very entertaining book by Alexiou.

Tickets for the event can be purchased for the talk ($16 for adults, $12 students/seniors) or for talk + book ($40).


Abandoned Sea View Hospital-Buildings-Staten Island-NYC-034One of several abandoned patient pavilions at Sea View Hospital

We’ve previously taken you inside the abandoned tunnels and the old Children’s Hospital within Sea View Hospital on Staten Island, but what’s truly fascinating is that abandoned buildings dot the entire complex. They stand side by side with more modern buildings and historical ones that have been repurposed for new uses. In fact, the entire area is a historic district, which includes the Staten Island Farm Colony across the street.


Kenny Scharf-Street Art Mural-Krinos Foods-Bronx-KM Fine Arts-NYC-007

Yesterday, we came across artist Kenny Scharf working on a new mural in the Bronx just south of the Cross Bronx Expressway on Third Avenue. Scharf was in the zone but allowed us to take photographs of him working. The mural, is a commission from Krinos Foods, a New York City-based importer of Greek foods. On an opposite wall, artist Victor Matthews is working on another mural, the largest he has ever made at 400 feet long and 10 feet high. Both works are coordinated by the Los Angeles gallery, KM Fine Arts.