Posts by sabrinaromano:

The MET and the Plaza 011214 031

Get to know Untapped Cities contributor Sabrina Romano, who has been running the vintage photography column and a summer intern at the Untapped HQ.

What’s your “day job”?

From September to August, my “day job” is schoolwork. I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying nonfiction English writing and communication with a minor in American politics. During the summer, when I am not interning, I am a server assistant at a restaurant near my hometown.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city? 

My favorite Untapped spot in Pittsburgh is the Cathedral of Learning, the tallest educational building in the United States. The commons room, which resembles Hogwarts, is where I spend most of my time studying. Sometimes I take the elevator to the 42nd story to get a spectacular view of my campus and the surrounding city.

What’s your favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

From my vintage photography column, I enjoyed finding vintage photos, researching, and writing Vintage NYC Photography: the Construction and Inner Workings of the Holland Tunnel. I have driven through the Holland Tunnel countless times before without knowing any of its history. Because of its remarkable ventilation system, it serves as the construction model for tunnels around the world. I also loved researching for 6 of NYC’s Best Secret Supper Clubs.

I will never forget when the New York Times and I both published pieces about the Central Park Zoo on the same day. I felt super savvy because I had pitched and then wrote a post about the history of Central Park Zoo and the Times had an article about the zoo’s history in their paper that day. You can check out my piece on the zoo, Vintage NYC Photography: The Central Park Zoo.

What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling?

I was lucky enough to spend January to May studying abroad in Paris, France. Even though, I took weekend trips to many other countries, Paris was always my favorite place and I considered it my home. In Paris, I discovered my love for museums and artwork. I found the Musee d’Orsay to be absolutely divine and I would admire all of the art, especially the impressionist paintings, a few times a week.

At the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland for St. Patty’s Day, my travel buddy and I climbed over the rock barrier and hung out really close to the edge until a security guard came running and screaming at us.

Next, I want to travel to Brazil to volunteer at the 2016 Olympics. Volunteers get to stay in the Olympic Village for free and get free tickets to all of the events that happen during their time off. Basically, I will only have to pay for a flight. Even though we aren’t athletic, my family and I have always watch the Olympic trials and the Olympic Games on television. I think it would be amazing to experience the worldly event in person.

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, the most any city has in the world. Yes, that means there are more bridges within city limits than there are in Venice. Most people don’t know that there are three main rivers in the city– the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio.

Join our Untapped Cities community as a writer or join our fall 2014 summer internship class

Present day Macy’s on 34 st covered in billboards Manhattan NYC Vintage NYC photography Untapped cities Sabrina romanoImage via Flickr by Phil Davis

The big, red billboard next to Macy’s in Herald Square is a familiar site for most New Yorkers. It is so familiar that New Yorkers probably don’t notice that the billboard is actually a separate building not connected to Macy’s. Macy’s has never even owned that building which puts a notch in the corner of the department store. Today, we’ve pulled up vintage photographs from the Library of Congress that show evolution of that corner building and its gradual concealment, the result of an intense business rivalry and real-estate battle.


James Renwick-Smallpox Hospital-Castle-Roosevelt Island-Landmarked Ruin-NYC

Did you know that ruins can be landmarked? The Colosseum in Rome and the pyramids of Egypt may be the most well-known ancient relics but they are definitely not the only ones. We did some digging and compiled this list of lesser-known landmarked ruins from around the world. Surprisingly, there is even one in New York City!


Salvage Supperclub-Joshua Treuhaft-Dinner Dumpster-Brooklyn-NYC-Andrew Hinderaker-001Photo by Andrew Hinderaker

In the past, an invitation to a supper club would bring thoughts of middle-aged women having a potluck dinner and detailing the neighborhood gossip. But New York City has brought supper clubs to a whole new innovative and quirky level. Here, we’ve rounded up 6 of the most unique secret supper clubs, rated more for their usage of clever covert locations than on the exclusivity of an invitation. These range from dinners in reclaimed dumpsters, to private homes to helipads.


Madison Square Garden-Rooftop-Stanford White Murder-NYCRooftop theater of the Second Madison Square Garden. Image via Lost New York

We’ve seen a lot of images of the famous rooftop of the second Madison Square Garden where architect Stanford White was murdered in cold blood in 1906. But reading through the great book Lost New York, we came across one we hadn’t seen before. Most reports about this theater and pleasure garden speak to the Parisian influence, but this photo clearly shows a Japanese design. Was it built specifically for the theatrical performance? Either way, it’s undeniable that Americans were particularly fascinated with Asian culture at the turn of the 19th century.


Entrance of The Stork Club
Image via Spooner Central

On any given night at the swanky Stork Club in New York City, you could see the Vanderbilts mingling with the Kennedys, Lucille Ball dancing with her husband Desi Arnaz, or Ernest Hemingway doing ‘cheers’ with fellow novelist and paramour, Martha Gellhorn. Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Frank Sinatra were among the regulars and even the Duke and Duchess of Windsor made multiple appearances. Owner Sherman Billingsley was a pro at filling a room, and even kept an empty table for military men who often made a reservation for their expected night of return. It was the place where actors, novelists, government figures, directors, American troops, American culture-creators, and New York’s fanciest and wealthiest gathered.