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.

This November, the Museum of the City of New York will open the exhibit New York at Its Coreusing its entire first floor to tells the history of New York from Dutch to today. The Museum will release a series of teasers in anticipation, which has already included an updated short video Timescapes that melds old and new over 400 years of history. The first trailer video was just released at last week’s Uptown Bounce event at the museum. The video showcases an historic item, an apple peeler, to tell the story of the third portion of the exhibit from 1898 to 1912.


The MOL Benefactor, Largest Ship to Ever Arrive in NYC Harbor. Photo by Georgia Ports Authority by Stephen B. Morton.

There have been changes going on to keep New York City’s harbor competitive internationally, particularly with expansion at the Panama Canal. The upgrades in the New York area will have a price tag of $6 billion, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and include raising the deck of the Bayonne Bridge nearly 65 feet. Larger ships can now traverse the expanded Panama Canal, carrying 1.5x the previous capacity. The new ship size, dubbed the New Panamax, was developed in direct response to the new dimensions of the locks built in the canal.

On July 7th, with very little fanfare, the MOL Benefactor, the first of the New Panamax ships and the largest vessel to ever visit New York City arrived to the Global Container Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey. GCT Bayonne is the only metropolitan terminal in the area that can accommodate the New Panamax ships, and as the Waterfront Alliance reported on July 22nd, “All other area terminals either do not have the capacity or would have required the ship to pass under the too-low Bayonne Bridge.”


It’s rare that a single flower gets this much media attention but the Corpse Flower, aka the Amorphophallus titanum, only blooms once every four to five years. Native to Sumatra, there’s one at the New York Botanical Garden, which they’ve been tending to with care for a decade, which is how long it takes for the plant to store enough energy to bloom.

The plant, the largest “inflorescence in the Plant Kingdom” gets its corpse flower nickname from the smell it emits when it blooms, similar to that of “rotting flesh,” or a “dead animal” writes the NYBG. Its Latin name is derived from Ancient Greek roots: amorphos, “without form, misshapen,” phallos, “phallus”, and titan, “giant”). So, a misshapen giant penis.


Jeffrey Milstein-Aerial Photography-NYC.51 AMAerial photo of Stuyvesant Town. Photo by Jeffrey Milstein.

It’s hard not to love the look of New York City from an airplane. At a certain point, all the buildings and elements become the size of toys. Zooming out also reveals the urban layout of our cities, giving form to city fabric we usually experience at street level. Jeffrey Milstein, an architect turned photographer, has a stunning series of aerial photos on New York City (and Los Angeles) that are so geometrically framed and shot, it’s easy to see what he was trying to say. Through a range of sites, from Coney Island to Midtown (and even some islands), he shows that there’s a beauty to the man-made.



The Four Seasons Restaurant, in its iconic original incarnation at the Seagram Building closed on July 16th. Tomorrow at 10am, Wright’s auction of its mid-century interior decor and serving items will begin in the Pool Room of the restaurant. Fortunately, because the building is an interior and exterior landmark, the interior will remain in its fundamental form.

The interior of the restaurant was designed by Philip Johnson with tableware and cookware by Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable, special-ordered Knoll furniture, and custom designs by Johnson, Eero Saarinen, and Mies van der Rohe, who designed the Seagram Building.

Here are some highlights from the upcoming auction:


The Museum of the City of New York will present an extensive new exhibition, New York At Its Core, this fall and one of the first launches in connection with the exhibit is an update of the film Timescapes: A Multimedia Portrait of New York, 1609-Today that has been playing a the museum since 2005. The 28 minutes film covers over 400 years of New York City history and now includes the era after 9/11. One of the coolest aspects is how the film melds vintage photography into present day scenes. It’s hard to get a true preview of the film because it’s projected across three screens simultaneously in a theater custom designed for the film, but the museum has generously lent us some images and clips that combine the reels.