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.

30 Rockefeller Center-Midtown-30 Rock-NYC

Last week, we featured properties in New York City that were sold for only one dollar. This week, we’re looking at the flip side: some of the most expensive real estate deals that have taken place in New York City. This goes beyond the $100+ million dollar apartment listings you’re familiar with – these deals give you a sense of not only the size of transactions here in the city but the scale of the urban development that emerge from them.

All of these deals were over $1 billion, and included both single buildings and large complexes. We’ve come a long way from the “Million Dollar Corner,” on 34th Street and Broadway, which in 1911 was the most ever paid for a plot of land. In 2015 dollars, that sale for the 1,200 square foot corner would have been equivalent to $25.7 million.


Bird House Row-83rd Street-York Avenue-East End Avenue-Upper East Side-NYC-021

On 83rd Street between York Avenue and East End Avenue, 22 unique and colorful birdhouses have mysteriously popped up in the Upper East Side. Like the dramatic birdhouses in Greenwich Village, the ones here feature many fun architectural and ornamental details.  Corey William Schneider, founder of the New York Adventure Club recently photographed all of them for Untapped Cities.


NYC Election Atlas-Center for Urban Research-CUNY-Maps-Democratic Republican Enrollment-Registration-NYCThe darkest blue electoral districts on the map represent areas where 80% or more of registered voters are enrolled as Democrats

Next week is New York City’s Presidential Primary and the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York has updated its NYC Election Atlas for the 2016 Primary. You can find maps by election district of Democratic and Republican enrollment, where Clinton supporters were located in 2008, voting trends for primary voters, new Democrats, and more. All of these maps have further drill-downs with overlays by ethnicity, income, occupation, household types and more.

Here are some fun facts from the 2016 Primary section of the NYC Election Atlas:


Last fall, after the Passover holiday, Streit’s, the oldest family-owned matzo bakery, closed its five-floor factory on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, which it had occupied since 1925. The company itself was founded in 1916. Streit’s had staved off the onslaught of real estate developments in the neighborhood, but it finally acknowledged the need for more space and an upgraded premises. Much of the equipment – including the ovens – dated back to before the second World War, if not earlier.

Though Streti’s is no longer on the Lower East Side, a new documentary “Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream” will bring viewers inside the former factory. In addition, on April 20th and 21st, the Film Forum will host screenings and a talk with filmmaker Michael Levine with members of the Streit Family (more…)

BLDZR-Bulldozer-Robert Moses Jane Jacobs Musical-Peter Galperin-NYC-004

If you’re like us, when you hear “Robert Moses Rock Musical,” you drop everything and go check out the preview. BLDZR is that musical, which had its debut last night at Manhattan’s Triad Theater on West 72nd Street. David Driver, an original RENT cast member is Robert Moses and the musical is written by Peter Galperin with a book by Galperin and Daniel Scot Kadin. If there was a way to put a new spin on the Robert Moses/Jane Jacobs dialectic, this is it, and we have to say, it’s supremely entertaining.

In the introduction, Galperin reminded the audience that Robert Moses, an unelected official, presided over New York City for 45 years. His tenure as head of numerous commissions, most notably the Triborough Bridge Authority, lasted through six governors and five mayors. And, as Galperin points out, “not $1 went to mass transit.” Yet, the urban world we live in today, said Galperin, was created by Robert Moses.


See Rikers-Stickers-Campaign-New School-Prison-NYC

In 2013, after we spent some time working with the juvenile population inside Rikers Island jail, we published a piece about how the island kept disappearing and reappearing on MTA subway maps, depending on the version. We went all the way back to 1939 to show the inconsistencies and we also discussed the island’s ambiguous standing geographically and politically.

Yesterday, we were excited to hear about the guerrilla campaign #SeeRikers by graduate students in the Design Studies program at Parsons the New School for Design. The campaign uses clear stickers printed in red with “RIKERS IS HERE,”  that can be placed on top of the maps in the subway. As the students, Estefanía Acosta de la Peña, Laura Sánchez, and Misha Volf explain, Rikers Island’s absence on the maps is “emblematic of a broader cultural willingness to overlook the places, policies, and practices that support the systemic violence of mass incarceration.”