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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.


Holdout Bungalow House-Seattle-Edith MacefieldImage by Ian C. Bates for The New York Times 

This week, the famous holdout bungalow in Seattle, likened to the home in the film Up, returned to the news, with The New York Times reporting that the 600 square foot house, now surrounded by commercial buildings, was in default. Holdout houses are nothing new, but they form an emphatic visual reminder of this age-old development battle. Here, we’ve rounded up five of what we believe are some of the most impressive holdouts around the world.

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Saving Place Iwan Baan-DUMBO-Manhattan Bridge-NYC-Landmarks Law-50th Anniversary-Museum of CIty of New York ExhibitionPhoto by Iwan Baan for the Museum of the City of New York Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks

On April 21st at the Museum of the City of New York, the exciting new exhibition Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks will open, exploring how the pioneering landmarks legislation, passed in 1965, has been a key contributor to the rebirth of many New York City neighborhoods. More than just a historical recounting of the transformative law, Saving Place will look at how the impact of the landmarks law is woven into the urban fabric of the city today. Via the curation of original documents, drawings, paintings, videos, building pieces, paintings and more, the exhibition will situate history within the modern context.

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MTA Bowling Green Lightbox Program-Photography-Patrick J. Cashin-Second Avenue Subway-East Side Access-7 Line Extension-NYC-004Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Patrick J. Cashin

It’s not the first time the MTA has installed a great photography exhibit at the Bowling Green subway station, as part of the Lightbox Program. This time, instead of foot-tingling photos looking down from New York City’s rooftops, there are large scale images deep underneath the streets of the MTA’s capital projects, like of the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and 7 Line Extension taken by Patrick J. Cashin a former Newsweek lab technician and photographer who has been visually documenting the MTA’s projects for fifteen years.

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More Love Letters-NYC Subway-001

We came across this Post-It note in the subway with the hashtag #moreloveletters. It reminded us of The Strangers Project, which collects handwritten journal entries from strangers across the country. A quick search led us to More Love Letters, an organization started by Hannah Brencher, a New York transplant motivated by her own loneliness in this city.

As she says in her TED Talk, “I was living in New York City and it felt like the most impossible battle of my day was trying not to cry during random subway rides for no apparent reason. I felt lonely. I felt disconnected…So on those subway rides–the lonely ones where no one talked or said even more than a word to one another–I started writing those same kinds of love letters my mother had written to me and tucking them throughout New York City for strangers to find.”

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CW Pencil Enterprise-Forsyth Street-Lowre East Side-Pencil Store Shop-NYCImage via CW Pencil Enterprise

Here at Untapped Cities, we love stores that sell only one thing–it’s so New York to have enough density to support such specific, local businesses. CW Pencil Enterprise is the latest, opening in the Lower East Side on Forsyth Street, and recently explored by Gothamist. With a pristine white interior infused with pop colors from the pencils themselves and a retro yellow chair, it’s like a creative space you wished was in your own home.

While the impetus of a pencil-only shop comes owner Caroline Weaver’s mother’s obsession with pencils, it’s also about highlighting a craft that continues today. Weaver tells Gothamist, “”There aren’t very many pencil factories left, but most of them still maintain the quality and heritage of yesteryear.”

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On Quora, we came across a great Cities 101 question about the logic behind the selection of Manhattan’s Cross Streets (and one of our photographs of Columbus Circle in the answer). In a thorough recap, Raj Bhuptani, a ’13 Statistics graduate from Harvard and a Quantitative Research Analyst at Two Sigma Investments, provides an answer which he has allowed us to republish here (additional hyperlinks added by us).

Question: What’s the logic to the selection of Manhattan’s major cross streets (14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 59th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th)?

Raj’s Answer:

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