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In partnership with The Eternal Space, a play about an untold story of the destruction of Penn Station, we are hosting a special tour of the remnants of Penn Station with Tamara Agins, tour guide, project manager at NYC Department of City Planning, and author of our popular article on the Secrets of Grand Central. Only 8 tickets are left for the February 28th tour:

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Abandoned NYC_Will Ellis-Staten Island Farm Colony

On February 4th, longtime Untapped Cities columnist Will Ellis will be giving a talk for our events series about his new book Abandoned NYC at the East Village speakeasy The Red Room. There are just few tickets (free) left to this talk and in preparation we’ve asked Will to share with us his multi-year experience putting together this book.

Untapped: How did you first get into abandoned photography?

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1898 Photo by Byron Company, “Street Vendors Orchard Street 1898 at Hester Street, Looking South.” via the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York

Welcome to a new feature within our Vintage Photography column, the Then & Now series brought to you by Vestiges of New York, a photography project documenting how the New York City streets have changed. This image is just a teaser–drag the cursor left and right on the photograph to compare Orchard Street (viewed from Hester Street) between 1898 and today. Although much of the architecture remains the same, only a few traces of the pushcart peddlers exist now. Well-known Lower East Side establishments like Russ & Daughters, MOSCOT, and Cohen’s Fashion Optical, all founded by enterprising street peddlers, connect us to that long-gone world in bits and pieces.

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The Woolworth Building is one of New York City’s most famous off-limits landmarks. Though its Byzantine, cathedral-like interior of glass tesserae and marble is landmarked, security concerns after 9/11 rendered it closed to only those that worked in the skyscraper, once the tallest in the world.

Since 2013, we’ve worked with Woolworth Tours, a company founded by Helen Post Curry, the great-grand daughter of the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert to curate tours of the building lobby and basement level specifically tailored for our discerning readership here at Untapped Cities. Our January 17th tour is sold out, but there are still a few tickets left for the February 19th and March 21st tours.

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Located in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, the watchtower originally cost $2,300 in 1857

Located in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, the watchtower originally cost $2,300 in 1857

As the only surviving watchtower of the original thirteen dotting Manhattan, we have been paying particular attention to the much anticipated renovation of the Harlem Fire Watchtower.  Built between 1855 and 1857, it was the only way to spot fires and sound an alert until electric telegraphs were installed in 1878. The watchtower is located at the highest part of the Acropolis in the center of Marcus Garvey Park, which was rebuilt as part of the WPA jobs program. The cast iron structure was built by Julius H. Kroehl and designed by James Bogardus at a cost of $2,300. The bell inside weights 10,000 pounds alone .

Age and weather have taken their toll, bringing together a community effort to raise the funds for a restoration. Scaffolding started going up this past December and the dismantling will begin this month. Each piece will be labeled, crated and moved to a storage facility in Queens by Nicholson & Galloway, Inc. with Allen Architectual Metals consulting.

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Central Park Before-1980s-Central Park Conservancy-NYCBelvedere Castle then

Yesterday, Gothamist had a great photo series on what Central Park looked like in the 1980s (tough times) versus now. For those who have never seen anything but a glorious Central Park, the images may come as a shocker. The Central Park Conservancy was formed in 1980 and is currently celebrating its 35th Anniversary. The first thing they did back in the 80s? President Doug Blonsky tells Gothamist, “re-sodding the Sheep Meadow, restoring the Dairy, planting American Elms, getting rid of graffiti, and fixing broken benches.”

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