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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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anna brown screen capture mapsImage via Business Insider

 

Imagine this: You walk out of Port Authority after a long bus trip, and need to find your best friend’s apartment at 383 Madison Avenue. As you take your phone out of your pocket, a commuter with no patience for dawdlers rushes past you, bumping your arm, causing your phone to fall and smash into smithereens on the sidewalk. So what do you do? Luckily, there’s a mathematical formula that will help you estimate the cross street of any address in Manhattan, and all it requires is a bit of mental math.

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Frick-Garden-AnnaBrown-untappedcitiesImage via Flickr by Henk Ven der Eijk

Last June, The Frick Collection announced its plans to build a new six-story addition to its 1913 building that houses the extensive art and sculpture collection of gilded-age robber baron Henry Clay Frick. The addition is in response to the museum’s growing foot traffic, which has increased by 37% over the last 5 years, with approximately 320,000 visitors last year alone.

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It’s no secret that New York has several mews left over from the horse-and-buggy days, but what’s with the high-rise, 21st century “mews” that apparently have no connection to stables? The term “mews” is perhaps even more abused in real estate jargon than “Gold Coast” these days. First, a definition of “mews,” which comes to us from the Brits. Oxford Dictionary says: “A row or street of houses or apartments that have been converted from stables or built to look like former stables,” or alternatively “A group of stables, typically with rooms above, built around a yard or along an alley.” So without further ado, all the “mews” in NYC that aren’t really mews.

1. Gansevoort Mews

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