Michelle is the founder of Untapped Cities. She can usually be found in New York (where she grew up), Paris, backpacking in South America or Southeast Asia, or in-transit between. She has an obsession with buses, shoots with a Nikon SLR camera, and destroys cellos on stage with her indie rock band. She’s traveled to 35 countries, including working for earthquake disaster organizations in Peru and Sumatra. She is an author of 100 Ways to Make History, published by the New York Public Library. She holds a masters in urban planning from Columbia University, 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.
You’ve probably noticed the whimsical Tom Otterness Life Underground sculptures while at the 14th Street A/C/E station, but did you notice the MTA Signal Learning School? Heralded by a traffic light that actually changes colors, the official name of the school is the Charles E. Morehouse Signals Learning Center. According to a nearby plaque, Charles “exemplified the commitment to excellence that is the trademark of maintenance of way-signals” from 1953-2002.
The New York Times recently published images by 93-year old photographer Walter Chandoha who documented New York City’s Pennsylvania Station and its commuters two decades before the demolition. Chandoha was a student at NYU on the G.I. Bill in the 1940s and shot with a Rolliflex camera. He tells the Times, ”“When I look at the pictures now and I see the magnificence of it, I think, How could anybody knock this thing down? It’s like knocking down the Colosseum or the Brandenburg Gate. It’s impossible to imagine.”