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.

Stepping Stones Lighthouse-Great Neck-Long Island Sound-Hart Island-Execution Rocks-NYC-2

This is probably one of the most adorable lighthouses we’ve ever seen and we caught sight of it while on the new Seastreak ferry from Manhattan to the east end of Long Island. The Stepping Stones lighthouse, brick with a mansard roof was built in 1875 but the story begins 1860s, when an increase in shipping traffic required a more robust lighthouse than the buoy on nearby Hart Island. The name Stepping Stones derives possibly from Native American legend, with Colonial maps calling this area the “Devil’s Stepping Stones.”


House of Yes Oriana Leckert Brooklyn Spaces by Michael BlaseHouse of Yes. Photo by Michael Blase.

Oriana Leckert is the founder of the website Brooklyn Spaces and has also been an Untapped Cities contributor, writing one of our favorite pieces on 7 of the most unique bathrooms in the city. The tenacity of her expedition around the city to find these bizarre toilets has only been amplified for her book Brooklyn Spacesa compendium of 50 Brooklyn hubs of culture and creativity. These are community-grown, artist-founded spaces within the post-manufacturing/post-industrial landscape, in buildings and lots that have been hacked, adapted and reused. You can tell Leckert knows Brooklyn (at least this part of Brooklyn, she admits) inside and out, and each location is told with a knowledgable ease that comes with already being a part of the place and a sense of humor.


Seastreak-Sea Jitney-NYC Ferry-Long Island-Port Jefferson-Hamptons

Whether you’ve made the trek from New York City to the Hamptons and Montauk, to the North Fork wineries or perhaps to the Revolutionary War spy town of Setauket, you’ve likely either sat on a crowded Long Island Railroad train or been in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Long Island Expressway. A water alternative, The Sea Jitney (operated by Seastreak and Hampton Jitney), has just opened, bringing passengers from East 35th Street in Manhattan to Port Jefferson, from where you can either explore the historic area or board a Hampton Jitney that goes to Southampton, East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Calverton.

We recently took a ride to the ferry’s ribbon cutting ceremony and we realized the best part of the ride, in addition to be just under two hours, is what you get to see going in and out of Manhattan. One after another, “untapped” gems from abandoned islands to notable lighthouses passed into view. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see:


"N.Y. Post Office Pneumatic Tube" c. 1912.  G.G. Bain Collection.“N.Y. Post Office Pneumatic Tube” c. 1912. G.G. Bain Collection via Flickr.

Earlier this month, we found an NYC coffee shop designed to sort, roast, and transport its coffee beans around the store through the use of vacuum-aided pneumatic tubes. Almost two years ago, we found evidence of New York’s pneumatic-tube aided mail system, 27 miles long, connecting 23 post offices, and retired in 1953.

Today, we’ll show you where some remnants of the system are and where pneumatic tubes are still used in the city.


Carnegie Hall Storefronts-NYC-Vintage Photo

In 2014, Carnegie Hall completed an impressive (though initially controversial) renovation to the tune of $230 million. This transformation converted the beloved artist studios, home to the likes of Bill Cunningham, Marlon Brando and Leonard Bernstein, into education facilities for Carnegie Hall. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to take a tour of the new rooftop garden, studios and offices with the Design Trust for Public Space. Carnegie Hall director of administration, Richard Malenka, took us through the history of the famed music hall, imparting many secrets and other gems of information we never knew about before. Here are 10 forgotten facts about Carnegie Hall:


Architecture Floorplan Quiz-0011

Slate has a great architecture quiz today (and it’s not easy!). We decided to create a New York City-centric one to test you architecture buffs with 10 floor plans from notable New York City buildings. How did you do? (see the answers on the next page).