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.

We recently participated on a private tour of the skyscraper New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street in downtown Manhattan, organized by building developer Forest City Ratner. On this tour, we learned many secrets and fun facts about this unique building and the role it has played in downtown Manhattan following 9/11.

New York Train Project-Adam Chang-Brooklyn-Manhattan-Subway Stations-Mosaics-NYCThe New York Train Project

Last year, Adam Chang, who runs the design firm Same Tomorrow embarked on the New York Train Project to illustrate all the mosaics of the New York City subway system. When we first reported about the project, Chang had finished all the stations Manhattan (using only 9 subway swipes). The nicely laid out website includes a tidbit about each station.

Now, Chang informs us he’s finished the signage on the 157 stations in Brooklyn which you can see at the New York Train Project. With many of the above ground stations and non-mosaics in Brooklyn, many of the graphics also show the infrastructure around the signage like columns and more. Here are some highlights you’ll see as you scroll through the site, which changes color to match what subway line you are looking at:


Napoleon Penis-Tony Perrottet-Replica-NYCPhoto courtesy of Tony Perrottet

This could be the Daily What?! of all Daily Whats we’ve published. A few years ago, we published a piece about how Napoleon’s penis was stored in a suburban house in New Jersey – which was no joke.  Napoleon’s “member” was the subject of the book Napoleon’s Privates: 2,500 Years of History Unzipped by New York City-based author Tony Perrottet. Earlier this week, Perrottet gave a book reading for Affinia Bookworm’s‬ National Book Month on the Upper East Side where had brought as the star of the event, a replica of Napoleon’s privates. As Perrottet says, “I’m one of only a handful of people who have seen the original, kept in a very nice leather presentation case in suburban New Jersey.”


Hello Kitty Cafe-Times Square-Sanrio-Mobile Truck-NYC

After this summer’s Hello Kitty Time Capsule in Midtown, comes the mobile Hello Kitty Cafe. The popular Sanrio cat we will be featured in food form in Times Square on October 25th and 26th: Hello Kitty macarons and petit fours, red bow tie decorated donuts, hot drinks served in Hello Kitty mugs. The truck is a partnership between Sanrio and the cafe’s managing partners based in California, a test run of sorts before a brick and mortar shop opens in the sunshine state.


East New York Freight Tunnel-Abandoned Platform-Station-NYC-2

Earlier this month, we wrote about the semi-abandoned East New York freight tunnel, a popular backdrop for television and films. Our source, who came across the rail line by poring over old maps, has recently shared more images from his exploration there. The tunnel, built in 1918, has four tracks but only one is active today – “a short haul freight run from Fresh Pond yard (to the north) running down to Bay Ridge.”


Old Penn Station Track Gate-Remnants-Pennsylvania Station-Untapped Cities Tour-NYC

We have a few special surprises in store for our special demolition anniversary tour of the Remnants of Penn Station. In the year that we have hosted this popular tour, we keep uncovering more and more remnants, and you’ll find out the reason for that if you join us this Sunday at 2pm. One of the latest finds is an old track gate, from which bells used to be hung. This remnant of the original Pennsylvania Station has never been reported in previous coverage and we will be showing guests an example still extant this weekend, along with the many other remnants already on the tour. In addition, guests for the Sunday tour will receive a limited edition reproduction of the first ticket for the Long Island Railroad coming into Penn Station.

Also, until midnight 10/22 get a 10% discount on the tour using the coupon code EAGLES. Ticket options include tour only ($30 before discount) or tour + 20% discounted ticket to the play The Eternal Space opening next month ($75 before discount).

The Untapped Cities tour of the remnants of Penn Station is led by Justin Rivers playwright of The Eternal Space and Tamara Agins, licensed tour guide, project manager at NYC Department of City Planning. Weaving in never before published photographs from the play, the tour will also cover the past, present and future plans for the transportation hub, accompanying a hunt for the remaining pieces of the grand McKim, Mead & White station.

Next, read about where the 22 original eagles of Penn Station are today.