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Our upcoming exploration tour of the New York City subway system goes from past (the first subway line and what’s left of the station planned as the “Grand Central” of downtown), to present (inside the new Santiago Calatrava-designed Transportation Hub at World Trade Center and the Fulton Center oculus, to the future – at the Lowline Lab. While the earlier portions of the tour will be led by Untapped Cities tour guide Justin Rivers, the portion at the Lowline will be led by lab docents working directly with the space.


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Though not one of New York City’s most famous bridges, the Bayonne Bridge was a record breaking bridge – longer than the Sydney Harbour Bridge – and changes are en route for this connection that stretches between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey. With help from Bridge Man, Dave Frieder, here are 10 secrets of the Bayonne Bridge:

30 Rockefeller Center-Midtown-30 Rock-NYC

Last week, we featured properties in New York City that were sold for only one dollar. This week, we’re looking at the flip side: some of the most expensive real estate deals that have taken place in New York City. This goes beyond the $100+ million dollar apartment listings you’re familiar with – these deals give you a sense of not only the size of transactions here in the city but the scale of the urban development that emerge from them.

All of these deals were over $1 billion, and included both single buildings and large complexes. We’ve come a long way from the “Million Dollar Corner,” on 34th Street and Broadway, which in 1911 was the most ever paid for a plot of land. In 2015 dollars, that sale for the 1,200 square foot corner would have been equivalent to $25.7 million.


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In 2013, after we spent some time working with the juvenile population inside Rikers Island jail, we published a piece about how the island kept disappearing and reappearing on MTA subway maps, depending on the version. We went all the way back to 1939 to show the inconsistencies and we also discussed the island’s ambiguous standing geographically and politically.

Yesterday, we were excited to hear about the guerrilla campaign #SeeRikers by graduate students in the Design Studies program at Parsons the New School for Design. The campaign uses clear stickers printed in red with “RIKERS IS HERE,”  that can be placed on top of the maps in the subway. As the students, Estefanía Acosta de la Peña, Laura Sánchez, and Misha Volf explain, Rikers Island’s absence on the maps is “emblematic of a broader cultural willingness to overlook the places, policies, and practices that support the systemic violence of mass incarceration.”


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On Tuesday evening, we attended a special event inside the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber hosted by the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the Sustainable Development Goals Fund. Originally to have also incuded the recently passed Zaha Hadid, the evening was a panel discussion with 2016 Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena and six previous winners of the prize: Jean Nouvel, Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, Christian de Portzamparc, Wang Shu, and Glen Mercutt. At stake was the simple question: What are the challenges for the built environment? The answers and discussion led to many other areas within the field of architecture and urbanism.


The Park Avenue Armory Untapped Cities AFineLyne

Ever wonder what that castle-like building on Park Avenue on the Upper East Side is? Once one of the grandest of the armories in New York City, the Park Avenue Armory has a storied history and comes with a wonderful story of adaptive reuse. Like many institutional buildings in New York City, time and circumstances led the armory to fall into disrepair, and by the year 2000 it was named one of the 100 most endangered historic sites in the world by World Monuments Fund.

Luckily, it has since been revitalized through the efforts of the non-profit group Park Avenue Armory, and today opens its doors to a full calendar of exhibits and performances. In addition to its public facade, there is much unknown about the Armory. Here are ten facts you may not know about the Park Avenue Armory.