alley-pond-park-queens-nyc-untapped-citiesPhoto via NYC Parks

As a consequence of city-living, locals become accustomed to crowded subway cars and the constant lack of personal space. The congested nature of New York City is enough to turn any person into a grumpy urbanite, but spacious green space does exist if you know where to look.

Alley Pond Park, spanning over 655 acres, is one such refuge. As the second largest park in Queens, it provides enough breathing room for city-folk to freely stretch their arms without accidentally ramming their fists into adjacent bystanders. What more could someone ask for?



Many of Untapped Cities’ writers and photographers revel in accessing New York City’s off-limits spots, but often, incredible remnants of urban archeology are hidden in plain sight. Our popular Remnants of Penn Station tour reveals what still persists despite a massive demolition more than 50 years ago, but another subterranean transit spot uses art to highlight former history. Walking through the Union Square subway station, you may notice bright red outlines scattered throughout. More than mere decoration, the color intervention is part of a 1998 MTA Arts & Design commission, “Framing Union Square” by Mary Miss.


City of Women Map, via The New Yorker and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.

City of Women is one of the creative cartography pieces in the Queens Museum exhibit Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix curated by Rebecca Solnit with map maker Josh Jelly-Schapiro. Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas is also the title of the third publication in a series of books that utilize creative mapping to offer a new understanding of history and place. City of Women reimagines the New York City subway system if all the stations were named in honor of New York City’s notable women. 



A few years ago, we highlighted a portion of the Bloomingdale’s department store uptown, on the 60th Street side, that was a remnant of an earlier store. The French-inspired design had a mansard roof with neoclassical details and the words “Bloomingdale Brothers” still visible. As we pointed out then, Bloomingale’s hasn’t always been too detailed or consistent about its own history, location wise.

Now, Untapped Cities reader Cathleen Mayrose sent us a photograph showing that Bloomingdale’s is painting over that section and the neighboring section in black, further hiding it from obvious view. She tells us, “Personally, I find this deplorable, along with with the other ridiculous changes they have made including the purple neon lighting around the upper floor windows.” 


oneyThe Queens Museum of Art. Photo via ARTNOIR by David Sundberg 

From lavish theaters to modern museums, New York City’s wonderfully diverse buildings boast a colorful, and oftentimes, surprising history. In fact, the “built environment,” according to Open House New York (OHNY) executive director Gregory Wessner, is often a direct reflection of the community that occupies it and the people that have helped to shape the city.

This year, in celebration of the New York City’s many enthralling architectural spaces, Open House New York (OHNY) and ARTNOIR are coming together to present ARTNOIR: City of Cultural Exchange during the 14th Annual OHNY Weekend on Oct. 15-16. The program will focus on ten unique sites across the city, which have served as catalysts for cultural exchange and conversation. 

Here’s what you need to know about each building before OHNY Weekend begins and as a reminder, all of these are open access sites so you don’t need reservations.


throgs-neck-bridge-secrets-queens-bronx-peregrine-falcons-nycThe Throgs Neck Bridge with a Peregrine falcon overhead. Photo via Flickr by MTA.

Since it first opened to traffic in 1961, the Throgs Neck Bridge has served as a vital link between the Bronx and Queens. Today, amidst all the congestion so characteristic to New York City, the span helps carry over 100,000 vehicles to and from their destinations every day. It might not be the most aesthetic bridge, like the Bronx-Whitestone, located two miles to the west, but it’s still has a place in the hearts of many New Yorkers who would otherwise be twiddling their thumbs on the Triborough or the Whitestone.