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Welcome to part two of our series on the reuses of former homes. Today we’ll take a look at the world of Aaron Burr ghost stories, designer jeans, parrots and more in these historic buildings.

Islamic Cultural Center, 1 Riverside Drive, The Prentiss House

Riverside-Drive-Mosque-Cultural-Islamic-Center-ZoomedOut-Untapped Cities-Nasha Virata

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Manahatta-Map-Eric Sanderson-Markley Bower-NYC

You probably remember this image from 2009 but we thought we’d bring back the TED Talk that explains how landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson and illustrator Markley Boyer recreated what Manhattan looked like when English explorer Henry Hudson arrived in 1609. They used a British military map from 1776 to visualize the what existed on the island the Lenape called called Mannahatta. In order to deduce which ecosystems existed on the island pre-1609, Sanderson isolated the geographical elements from the 1776 map, studied the types of soil, rock, and climate of the different regions, and from there, the species of animal, fish, and plant life that corresponded to each habitat.

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We’re always on the look out for fun maps of NYC and we came across this site recently, NYC Roads by Steve Anderson. It looks like it was laid out in the 1990s but it does have a nice archive of road maps, vintage photographs and more. The road map database goes from 1928 to the 1990s. Here are some highlights:

1928 New York and Vicinity Rand McNally Map

This 1928 road map of NYC and vicinity shows the state of the roads. Paved in black, improved in dash line and graded or dirt roads in white:

1928 NYC Regional Map-Rand McNally

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LinkNYC-CityBridge-NYC-Payphones-Smart Screens-001

When was the last time you used a pay phone? Pay phones have gone the way of AOL and the VCR, another relic of the past that we just don’t use anymore. It could do with the fact that everyone now has a smartphone (and not change) in their pockets; we have talked about the very small number of vintage phone booths that still remain here in New York City, however, we just have to face facts that NYC has no use for the ol’ quarter-suckers anymore.

So what to do with all those old pay phone booths? To confront this issue, NYC is willing to partake in one of the biggest technological experiments in the city’s history. According to an article in the Washington Post, the project, LinkNYC, a joint project by City Bridge–”a New York City–based consortium of leading experts in technology, advertising, connectivity and user experience”–and the city, are proposing that NYC becomes the first major city to have a high speed W-Fi network spread throughout the entire city.  (more…)

Pier-55-Diller Scofidio Renfro-Hudson River Park-West Side Highway-NYCImage via Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio. Renderings by Luxigon.

Hudson River Park, that wonderful five-mile stretch of greenery, has struggled with funding issues in the past looking before to controversially sell air rights at Pier 40 and storing limestone cow heads to be placed when the remaining 30% of the park is renovated. It turns out the Hudson River Park Trust approached fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg and her husband Barry Diller to help replace Pier 54, an abandoned pier that once welcomed the survivors of the Titanic. The choice is unsurprising for the new project, dubbed Pier55, given that Diller and von Furstenburg are the largest private donors for The High Line.

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Here at Untapped Cities, we’ve written about many unique architectural conversions in New York City, from churches to psychiatric asylums to synagogues. But today, we’re showing you the transformation of homes from mansions to tenement houses.

1. Cartier, 651-653 Fifth Avenue, the Plant Mansion

The reason behind Cartier‘s chosen flagship store is a popular one. Cartier itself produced a documentary on the “worst trade ever.” While told with varying levels of detail and perhaps, exaggeration, the store is also known as the “House that Pearls Bought.”

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