Secret of the FDR Drive-Robert Moses-NYCImage via Library of Congress/C.M. Stieglitz

It could be argued that Robert Moses shaped the physical landscape of New York City more so than any other person in the twentieth century. By the end of his tenure, the “master builder” and city planner had constructed 658 playgrounds and 13 bridges, as well as a number of highways, beaches, and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Today. he leaves behind an architectural legacy, but as Robert A. Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography The Power Broker, critically points out, Moses had a tendency to embark on large-scale projects beyond the funding approved by the New York State Legislature. His ideas were not always welcomed with open arms, yet he had no problem dismissing public opposition to his work and or displacing hundreds of thousands of residents.

These seven controversial proposals are examples of projects he never had the opportunity to build in New York City:


The Palmrya Triumphal Arch replica in Trafalgar Square in April, will come to New York City. Photo via Flickr by Garry Knight

It’s official! The Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) has officially announced that the replica of Palmyra’s Triumphal Arch – at 25 feet tall and 30,000 pounds of Italian marble – will be constructed in City Hall Park (the previously unannounced location) by Monday, September 19th. The original arch as destroyed by ISIS in 2015 but through painstaking digital work using numerous photographs, a 3D model was constructed for production.

The arch is built using Egyptian marble quarried from the same location in Carrara, Italy used by Michelangelo and Da Vinci in the Renaissance and its installation in New York City is made possible with the support of The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management. There will be an official unveiling at 1pm on Monday, September 19th and there will be a mobile app-based augmented reality experience for the public available from the time the arch opens. 


Bel Aire Diner, a stand-alone diner in Astoria

In New York City, where office buildings and apartment complexes jet into the sky, a stand-alone diner is a rare sight to come by. Their vintage storefronts and neon lights easily stand out amongst the industrial gray that’s so characteristic of the city, but they’ve become quite the novelty over the years.

To clear room for real estate development, many establishments have been forced to shut down, as evidenced by the recent closure of Market Diner in Hell’s Kitchen (Moondance, Cheyenne and the Lost Diner have also disappeared over the years). So when Empire Diner, located on the corner of 22nd St. and 10th Avenue, covered up its windows in 2015, it seemed like New York City had lost yet another classic, all-American eatery. That was before we learned about its comeback in November. With the good news came a small glimmer of hope that the stand-alone diner would continue to remain a fixture on New York City streets. Here are 1o you can still visit:


2016-nyc-diner-en-blanc-robert-f-wagner-park-jr-the-battery-nycAll photos of 2016 Dîner en Blanc by @ericlau_street and @untappedmich

In the sixth iteration of the New York City Diner en Blanc, almost 4800 guests converged onto Robert F. Wagner Park, just north of The Battery. From the main party area between Pier A and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the pop-up white dinner extends into the gardens, grasses and waterfront walkways of Robert F. Wagner Park, named after Democratic senator who originally hailed from Germany. The views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on this clear day were simply stunning and possibly for the first time in the history of the dinner in New York City, the weather was comfortably cool.


vessel-new-york-eiffel-tower-hudson-yards-new-york-city-untapped-cities2Architectural rendering for Vessel, “New York’s Eiffel Tower,” part of Hudson Yards development initiative
All images via Heatherwick Studios

Just when you thought New York City couldn’t possibly make room for another superstructure, talk about a beehive-like public installation in Hudson Yards reveals that the city’s iconic skyline will soon welcome another addition. The plan for the 16-story, £114 million sculpture, dubbed “New York’s Eiffel Tower,” was revealed by British architect, Thomas Heatherwick, on Wednesday.


new-yorker-hotel-sign-art-deco-secrets-nycPhoto via Flickr by George Estreich

The New Yorker Hotel at 34th Street and 8th Avenue is one of those storied Manhattan icons – so much history and so many secrets, it’s hard to whittle them down. The Art Deco building, completed in 1930, is renown for its setback architectural style and famous sign but inside, you’ll discover something new on every visit. As a handy guide, we’re getting you started with ten of our favorite secrets that we learned while touring the hotel with Joe Kinney, senior project engineer at the New Yorker Hotel and creator of the archives and museum. He’s been on the hotel staff since 1996.