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Today, we profile Untapped Cities intern Vera Penavic. A devoted museum goer and archaeology nerd, she loved learning about the New York’s past and the present-day experiences the it has to offer.

What’s your favorite Untapped part of your city?

New York has been my home for the past three years, so I’d consider it my city. My favorite Untapped part is the American Museum of Natural History. They’ve got some of the most impressive exhibits in the world in there, ranging from the Hall of Human Origins to the Hayden Planetarium. Not to mention that it’s right next to Central Park (my second favorite part of the city).

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

10 Pranks, Hoaxes, Fake Buildings, and Historically Inaccurate Objects of NYC was the most fun to write because I laughed the whole time I was doing research. You wouldn’t believe some of the things people have tried to pull in this city.

What’s the most memorable thing that happened while writing for Untapped Cities?

All the posts I wrote that involved going out into the city were memorable, but one of the best was going to DUMBO Boulders in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I love bouldering so to get the chance to climb and write was pretty great.

What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you’ve learned while at Untapped Cities?

The most valuable thing I’ve learned while at Untapped is not to short change New York, or any city for that matter. It taught me a new way to look at cities, to ask questions about even the simplest things like subway tiles. But with New York in particular, it taught me that there’s always something happening, you just have to go out and find it.

What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?

Last summer I had the opportunity to spend a month camping in South Central Alaska near Denali National Park and that was seriously beautiful. The Alaskan wilderness looks even more spectacular in person than in postcards or any National Geographic photo.

I would love to visit Argentina next. There’s so much to explore down there, from Buenos Aires to skiing in Patagonia. Here’s to for another memorable adventure!

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

My favorite obscure fact is that John Pintard, the Founder of the New-York Historical Society helped establish the American image we have Santa Claus. Basically, that the Santa Claus we’ve come to know as the fat, jolly, cookie-eating, chimney-shimmier today was made in New York.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

A few years ago I was in Namibia with my family, and we went to this area in the south of the Namib Desert called Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by these gigantic red dunes. We hiked to the top one of the larger ones, and after an hour and a change of climbing a small sand mountain, we had a spectacular view of the dunes and the desert. You could see forever. The craziest part was coming down. Instead of climbing down the roundabout way we came up, we ran straight down the sand dune. There was a lot of tripping and racing and rolling involved with sand getting everywhere. I’m sure the crazier thing to do would have been to sandboard down, but we didn’t have anything to try it with.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

As an NYU student, it’s almost a right of passage to see Alec Baldwin walking his dog down the street in Greenwich Village. Alas, I have not been so lucky. I’ve been living in New York for three years and have had a grand total of one celebrity sighting: Peter Dinklage. As a huge Game of Thrones fan, I’m ok with this being the only celebrity sighting I’ve had.

oraculo project-nyc-untapped citiesImages via DNAinfo 

Here’s what the Untapped Staff is reading in the HQ today:

Today’s Popular Articles:

Pasta Fonbelle Paris-Architecture Pasta-NYC-001Photo by Valerie Lechêne for Untapped Cities

The Paris-based company gourmet food company Fonbelle has a line of Parisian landmark-shaped pasta. So if you’re tired of penne or just missing Paris, you can now eat pasta in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame cathedral with Pasta Paris. The company has a partnership with the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel which explains its large range of Eiffel Tower-oriented products. 

Next, read about the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower.

Turn AMC-The Turtle-One Man Submarine-NYC Harbor-Revolutionary WarA replica of The Turtle submarine from the American Revolutionary War as seen in the show TURN in AMC

In our Secrets of Governors Island compilation, we covered The Turtle, the world’s first submarine used in military combat. This onion/acorn shaped one-man submarine appeared in New York harbor on September 6, 1776 for an attack on the HMS Eagle, which was moored off of Governors Island.

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Citywide Ferry System-NYCEDC-New Website-Portal-Mayor Bill de Blasio-NYC

In March, we took a deep dive into the Citywide Ferry system that will open (partially) in the summer of 2017, the first citywide ferry in one hundred years. Yesterday, the NYCEDC and Hornblower, the selected operator of the ferry system, launched an official website in advance of the launch. The Citywide Ferry system will have a total of six routes, which will run in addition to the existing East River Ferry. The price however, will be the same as a Metrocard swipe ($2.75). Through the new website, you can explore the routes and see how long segments will take.

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We’re of the opinion that if you’re a die-hard New Yorker, you kind of love pigeons (or at least have a morbid curiosity about them). We’ve been on a pigeon-themed landmark tour of the city and hung out with artist Mother Pigeon. Now, arts non-profit Creative Time, behind some of the most stunning art installations we’ve seen, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard will present the public artwork Fly by Night by artist Duke Riley. Each Friday through Sunday evening from May 7 to June 12th, thousands of pigeons will be released from a converted historic boat in an orchestrated performance. Leg bands on the pigeons, used historically to carry messages, will be replaced by LED lights controlled by remote control.

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