wyndclyffe-hudson-river-valley-nyc-untapped-cities1Wyndclyffe Mansion, Photo by Robert Yasinsac from Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape

Extending 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan, the Hudson River Valley is a picturesque site, filled with forgotten cultural gems, thriving towns, and its fair share of abandoned sites. In addition to several river estates, it is home to historic churches, factories, and civic buildings, many of which are listed in National Register of Historical Places (a few are even named National Historical Landmarks). Yet, despite its rich history and charming, rustic ambience, part of Hudson Valley’s heritage threatens to be erased as it succumbs to time and neglect. In an effort to draw attention to the site, Hudson Valley Ruinsa photography and architecture exhibition, is currently being presented at the New York State Museum in Albany.

Photo via Wikimedia: Dav5nyc

Once upon a time, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge) provided the only way for automobiles to travel between Queens and the Bronx. As the sole “vehicular connection,” the suspension bridge naturally became flooded with bumper–to–bumper traffic. To address the problem, master city planner Robert Moses proposed a bridge that would help ferry road-raging New Yorkers to their destinations. Many congested lanes later, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (known simply as the Whitestone Bridge) was born in 1939.


Staten Islanders might finally have an easier commute into Manhattan if plans for an aerial gondola move forward. Photo via Leitner-Poma of America

In January, The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) launched a conceptual design competition which asked participants to develop an aerial tramway to connect the borough to the surrounding areas of New York Harbor. The winning proposal, created by a Colorado-based cable systems developer, Leitner-Poma of America’s (LPOA), features a line that runs parallel to the Bayonne Bridge, over the Kill van Kull strait from Elm Park to the Eighth Street station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) line in New Jersey, whereupon passengers would take the train to Manhattan.


moynihan-train-hall-nyc-untapped-cities3All images via Governor Andrew Cuomo

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his most recent plans to transform Penn Station from an outdated transportation hub into an efficient, modern destination. Although proposals for the redesign process have been tossed around for over 20 years – stalled in part by funding issues and disputes between parties – Cuomo is confident that the station will finally receive its long-awaited facelift. According to the governor, the necessary funding and approvals have already been secured.

moynihan-train-hall-penn-station-governor-cuomo-renderings-som-nyc-2-copyRendering by SOM for the new James A. Farley Station, An Extension of Penn Station

To much fanfare earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced the latest iteration of his plans to overhaul Penn Station by 2021 – and that funding and approvals are already in place. Since the announcement of intentions to rebuild Penn Station in the early 2000s, there has been little opportunity for public dialogue on the pending future of the station.

On Wednesday, November 2nd, Untapped Cities and the Museum of the City of New York will present A Public Summit for the The Future of Penn Station at Cooper Union from 7pm to 9:30pm in The Great Hall. The panel discussion and public forum will go beyond the conceptual renderings and plans for a new Penn Station. Some of New York City’s leading urban visionaries, architects and planners will discuss how to move forward from the current challenging circumstances of Penn Station and then open the event up to an audience Q&A.

The speakers and panelists will be Susan Chin, President of the Design Trust for Public Space; Robert Eisenstat, Chief Architect at the Port Authority of NY & NJ; Gina Pollara, President of the Municipal Arts Society; John Schettino, Designer of The New York Penn Station Atlas; Tom Wright, President of Regional Plan Association.

Introductory remarks will be given by Michelle Young, Founder of Untapped Cities and Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Whitney W. Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director and President, Museum of the City of New York.


The speakers will look at Penn in the context of the changing West Side, offer lessons learned from rebuilding World Trade Center infrastructure, and share perspectives on making Penn Station easier to use today. Looking to the transit hub’s future, panelists will address the question: What are the standards of success by which a rebuilt Penn Station should be measured? This conversation will seek to move beyond criticizing the current station and focus on identifying elements of a successful long-term vision.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, seniors, members of the Museum of the City of New York, New York Transit Museum, the Design Trust for Public Space, the Regional Plan Association. The event is free for Cooper Union students, staff and alumni. Please contact justin@untappedcities.com for press RSVP. Proceeds beyond costs will be donated to Cooper Union.

Next, check out our popular tour of the Remnants of Penn Station and join us in October! 


The Brooklyn Kings Theatre, opened in 1929, was built as one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theaters in the New York City area, the most opulent movie palaces in the country. The Loew’s Kings Theatre was modeled after the Opera Garnier in Paris and the palace at Versailles. Flatbush was once one of the premier entertainment destinations in Brooklyn, and the revitalization of the neighborhood was one of the goals from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) with the renovation of the Kings Theatre.

Closed in 1977, the Kings Theatre had deteriorated extensively over the course of decades. Bats had taken up residence, and the ceiling and wall of the auditorium on stage left had collapsed. Fortunately, the interior could be recreated using a mold of the other side that was still intact.