The Untapped Cities team is headed on a trip soon, which has us thinking about the secrets of the New York City’s essential infrastructure. If you’re flying internationally especially, but also domestically, you’ve definitely experienced the ups and downs of John F. Kennedy Airport. The next time you’re stuck on the line for security or trying to get out of customs, read up on these 10 fun facts. It just might make your trip a little more tolerable.


With start of the school year coming up, Untapped Cites is uncovering the hidden and little known past uses of some of New York City’s colleges. Today we look at the main campus of Hunter College, which is housed in four large buildings centered around Lexington Avenue and East 68th Street, following up on our first piece on Vanderbilt Hall at NYU.

Hunter College on the Upper East Side is the epitome of an urban college campus. Ironically, for a college that lacks a quad or even a nearby public park, it is located on part of the site of Hamilton Square, a planned park that never came to fruition.


Worldport Terminal (former Pan-AM Terminal) at JFK Airport

In the Jet Age, the world’s most famous architects were designing terminals for John F. Kennedy Airport. Many of these buildings would not have the same luck as the TWA Flight Center, the iconic, landmarked terminal that will be turned into a hotel after years of preservation activism and support from inside the Port Authority. It may come as surprise that airline companies have control over the fate of historical buildings, but such is the nature of airport architecture, which is perpetually looking forward to accommodate the new trends and demands of jet travel.

Like in the demolitions of Pennsylvania Station and the renovation of Grand Central Terminal, travel must continue undisrupted in any renovation or construction. As a result, for a period of time, new and old often sit by side at airports offering passengers and flight industry members a chance to reflect. Here are the lost terminals at JFK Airport:


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Last month, Untapped Cities partnered with the Museum at Eldridge Street to open up the landmarked Eldridge Street Synagogue for an after hour wine reception for Untapped Cities readers. Before hand, we also hosted a Secrets of the Lower East Side tour created for Untapped in partnership with the Museum, led by Rachel Serkin, Family and Education Program Associate.

Below are 10 of our favorite secrets about this stunning historical space, located in Chinatown/Lower East Side that we learned on the tour. Sign up for advance notice for our next Secrets of the Lower East Side tour with the Museum at Eldridge Street this fall:


With fall and the back to school season coming up, Untapped Cites is uncovering the hidden and little known past uses of some of New York City’s colleges. Today we look at Vanderbilt Hall, home of the New York University School of Law, located at 40 Washington Square South in Greenwich Village.

In the late 1940s when New York University announced plans to develop Vanderbilt Hall, a new home for its Law School, many local residents rallied to “Save Washington Square” from a project that they charged would debase the area’s character. In a case of history coming full circle, in 2013 historic preservationists hailed the inclusion of Vanderbilt Hall in the South Village Historic District.


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Previously, we presented 10 abandoned asylums and hospitals in New York City ranging from the Roosevelt Island smallpox castle to North Brother Island. But asylums and hospitals are perhaps even more common outside of New York City, where the popular medical ideas of the time could be implemented to their fullest. It was thought that fresh air and a bucolic landscape would contribute to patient welfare. While many of these institutions have been demolished, others have been left to languish as newer facilities were constructed. Many have become must-hits in an urban explorer punchlist.

Here are six to whet your urban exploration appetite. Although there are others further upstate like the J.N. Adams Memorial Hospital in Perrysburg, we’ve focused on locations that you can visit using public transit from New York City (and then taxi or some hiking).