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Articles By: suraj patel

Suraj Patel, Writer-New York: Suraj was raised in Middle America, so he still has a wide-eyed wonder for all things New York after living here for 4 years with stints in Buenos Aires and London. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford and a J.D. from NYU School of Law. Instead of lawyering, he has a penchant for starting companies, working on political campaigns, and traveling around the world juggling five projects at a time so he doesn’t get bored. Most prized possessions: his Passport and Twitter Feed.

Syrian refugees in El Qaa, Lebanon, 30 meters from the border with Syria

Over 8000 displaced Syrians have streamed into north Lebanon since the beginning of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown of Sunni rebels. While the violence in Syria continues unabated, Syrian refugees who managed to escape Assad’s forces paint a gruesome picture of abuses and killing of civilians and military-aged men that some have compared to Srebrenica.


Untapped Cities writer Suraj Patel shares with us his experience of hanging out with the Space Shuttle Enterprise at JFK Hangar 17, before it gets transported to its final home at the Intrepid. How did he get there? On official government business, so don’t try this yourself.  

No matter how old you get, the Space Shuttle is still cool. Even as a kid, I remember playing playing on the swing with my brother taking turns jumping off from the highest point to nail a landing like “Endeavor” or “Atlantis.” Even though, the Shuttle Program was notoriously inefficient and expensive compared with traditional rockets, it stood for 30 years as an important symbol of America’s forward-thinking vision.


Steve Jobs said the iPad was his most special creation because it lets people experience the magical intersection of technology and the humanities. Too often, however, publishers do not have the technological prowess to fully take advantage of the iPad’s intuitive feel and user experience. That’s where Onswipe comes in—a New York-based out-of-box iPad solution for publications and bloggers of all sizes from Untapped Cities to Slate.


Want to find out what kinds of antics your fellow New Yorkers are getting into in your neighborhood? MyblockNYC, which will be presented at the MoMA Talk to Me Exhibit, has your fix. Myblock is a map-based video sharing site to share your stories about your neighborhood.  I took a look at the site, which is still in beta phase and easily killed a few minutes exploring the memories on my block in the East Village. Unfortunately, the only video shared near me was of a very overweight construction worker bearing midriff in the summer heat, but it is a pretty accurate portrayal of the types of things that stick out in your mind walking around on hot New York summer day. One of my personal favorite videos was tagged at Central Park Driveway showing a 4-minute montage of all of the different street performers who perform there.

MyblockNYC’s search function allows you to filter videos, not only by standard fields such as topic, but also by whether the sharer is a tourist or a local and by his/her age and gender. Aside from the content, I love MyblockNYC’s rather refreshing retro style at a time when all other map programs use a standard Google map view. So far, the site has 922 NYC videos with nearly 40,000 views and I’m interested to see what direction the content uploaded takes it in the weeks to come.

MyblockNYC  is by Igal Nassima, a student at NYU ITP.

The final day of TechCrunch Disrupt was marked by a fierce competition between six great new programs. What got us most excited at Untapped were the two new consumer companies that stood out as having the best chance to help us get more out of New York and actually affect our lives in the next few months,  Sonar and  Getaround!

Startup Battlefield

This is what Geek Heaven must look like.