It really does only seem like yesterday that I touched down at JFK airport to begin my month-long adventure in New York City interning with Untapped Cities. Bearing in mind that this was my first trip to the Big Apple, I was filled with a combination of excitement (listing museums I couldn’t wait to set foot in) and trepidation (how would I ever navigate my way through the subway system snaking beneath the city!). New York has been on the top of my to-go list for longer than I can remember. It was time to fully throw myself into this most-happening-of-places.
When most of us think of the street plan of Manhattan, the first thing that usually springs to mind is an organized grid system of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines. Stuyvesant Street, crossing East 9th Street between Second and Third Avenues, somewhat bucks this trend. Named after Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch colonial governor, it is notable for being the one and only diagonal street in Manhattan north of 8th Street and south of Central Park, except for Broadway.
Situated on the junction of East 97th Street and Third Avenue, New York’s Islamic Cultural Center is a building that quite literally defies the city’s street-grid system. While the rest of the neighboring buildings face outwards to the street, the Islamic Cultural Center has a noticeably different angle, 29 degrees to be precise.
Last year, the New York City Police Department carried out over half a million stop-and-frisks in the city. The issue came to forefront this past month, when a federal judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the stop-and-frisk program was unconstitutional, saying there is solid evidence to suggest that the NYPD is unfairly targeting an African American majority.
Yesterday was opening day for the 2013 U.S. Open Tennis Championship in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. Expected to attract over 700,000 fans, the area will be buzzing with tennis fever until Sunday, September 8th. But did you know that the original U.S. Open Tournament was played in the Forest Hill Tennis Stadium? The first U.S. Open was played there in 1915 and has hosted stars such as Billie Jean King, Margaret Court and Bill Tilden in its illustrious history. In 1978, the tournament moved to the much larger space in Flushing Meadows and the Forest Hills Stadium declined into a tired-looking remnant of its past. Though threatened with demolition, recent plans may give it a new lease on life.
Lower Manhattan holds centuries of history in its shoreline and beneath its streets. With the sandy beaches of the former New Amsterdam gradually expanding by landfill over the last three centuries, a diverse historical trail has been left in its wake. This is very much the case around the World Trade Center’s site.