04/24/14 12:00pm

MonthofScorsese-Martin Scorsese-Goodfellas-Robert De Niro-Film Locations-Untapped CitiesMarin Scorsese Directing Robert De Niro (Photo Via Phaidon)

For our last installment in the #MonthofScorsese film location series, we cover the film that many consider to be  his magnum opus: The 1990 classic mafia film GoodFellas. Based on NYC crime reporter Nicolas Pileggi’s non-fiction novel Wiseguy, the book focuses on the rise and fall of The Lucchese Crime family. The film – written by Scorsese and Pileggi – follows the life and exploits of one of their associates, Henry Hill, who was fundamental in dismantling the crime family, when he became an informant for the FBI.

Scorsese became obseesed with Pileggi’s novel while working on The Color of Money; feeling that it was the closes anyone else has come in terms of writing about the life of a mobster. Scorsese wanted the film to start slow, and build up as the story progressed- like one large trailer. Like the first three installments, Scorsese films primarily in NYC, with locations that have changed dramatically in the twenty years since the films release.  (more…)

04/24/14 9:00am

North Brother Island

Unlike other photographers of the abandoned, the work of Christopher Payne has always been about the delicate balance between human presence and physical structure. His study of the Steinway Factory in Astoria, Queens was simultaneously a conceptual exploration of abstraction, an architectural analysis, and how Steinway workers factor into the production space. Each of the workers he photographed had a story, and together, making a piano was like a choreographed dance.

Payne’s recently released book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City is clearly an evolution of Payne’s particular type of photographic discovery. Of course, there are the perfectly framed images of North Brother Island’s infamous crumbling hospitals and of its industrial gantry. Then there are the interior shots of medical rooms whose ceilings look like they might fall any second.


04/23/14 9:00am

Cat Cafe_Norie Cat Korea_NYC_Untapped Cities_Dana TerNorie Cat Café in Cheonan, South Korea

Unless you are on a social media hiatus, living under a rock without 3G, or just really dislike cats, you’ve probably heard from a little birdie that a pop-up cat café is opening tomorrow, April 24th in New York City on 168 Bowery. Hosted by cat food company Purina One, the pop-up cat café will run until Sunday, April 27th. During this time, cat lovers are invited to sit down and sip coffee with feline companions. And it’s all for a good cause because these adorable kitties, provided by the North Shore Animal League, are up for adoption. Furthermore, animal experts at the café will be giving lectures on cat health and cat-friendly interior design for those seeking to adopt the precious fur balls.


04/22/14 4:30pm

New York State Pavilion-Abandoned-Interior-NYC Parks-Flushing Meadow Corona Park-1964 World Fair-Queens-NYC-023

We’re going to venture a guess that even the NYC Parks Department was unprepared for the sheer number of people excited to catch a glimpse of the long-closed, and deteriorating New York Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair today. While press got early access (the only time we gladly relished the opportunity), the public lines stretched around the pavilion, across the elevated walkway over Grand Central to the Queens Zoo.

Thus far, we’ve been privy to Abandoned NYC’s haunting photos of the Philip Johnson structure, vintage photos that brought us back to the future, and a great mash-up of then & now images. Stepping into the space today, we were reminded of the more mundane things that have been left behind: signage reproduced from the time when it was a very active space for a short period of time.


04/22/14 9:00am

Specials on C art space in a bodega destroyed by Hurricane Sandy NYC Untapped CitiesPhoto via Specials on C’s Facebook page

When Hurricane Sandy came ripping through New York City, as many Untapped readers will recall, Lower Manhattan was consumed by a blackout and awash in floods. For many small businesses, the damage was devastating. Yet, where one bodega was wrecked, the community seized the opportunity to do something productive. Thus, Specials on C was born.

The vacant bodega on the corner of East 12th Street and Avenue C has found new life as a creative space for social projects. According to Specials on C’s website, “It’s not a gallery, or a venue, it’s a safe space for your social experiments.” The former bodega hosts art shows, interactive and performance art, concerts, pop-up shops, workshops and video nights.  (more…)

04/21/14 2:00pm

Ukraine Conflict-Kiev-Russia-Mark Estabrook-Photos-009

Mark Estabrook is a commercial airline pilot and street photographer who traveled to Kiev in February 2014 and was hit by grenades while photographing. He formerly served as an AWACS Aircraft Commander in the Persian Gulf and in the North Atlantic during the 1980s. He is working on a book about his experience in Kiev. All images © 2014 Mark Estabrook, do not re-use without prior permission.

Sometimes we see or hear something that causes our blood pressure to go up ever so slightly.  For me it was a TV broadcast with the simple phrase: “Ukrainian police are trying to put down a terrorist uprising in Kiev.” This reporting had Vladimir Putin’s fingerprints all over it and I flew to Kiev to find out. I secured a press pass from a professional photography group I belong to and my jumpseat privileges as an airline pilot got me to Cologne, Germany.  From Cologne I purchased a commercial round trip passenger ticket to Kiev.