125 East 36th Street-FDR and Eleanor Apartment-1904-NYCPhoto via Sideways NYC

The Roosevelts’ lineage and history are intrinsically tied to New York’s narrative. Most notable are the legacies of Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Roosevelts’ many public contributions, private property endowments, and pioneering governmental policy work, all serve to immortalize them as one of the most eminent names in United States history.


Jane Jacobs House-555 Hudson Street-Vitage Photograph-NYCJane Jacobs, husband and son in front of their home at 555 Hudson Street. Photo from Becoming Jane Jacobs

Here at Untapped Cities, the legacy of Jane Jacobs impacts our daily life – what we write, how we see the streets, how we hope our city will become. We were part of the small group that participated in the Rockefeller Foundation conference, Jane Jacobs Revisited at the Bellagio Center in Italy in in 2012. We’ve written about the impact of Robert Moses, often pitted as Jacobs’ nemesis, and we recently attended the premiere of the rock musical BLDZR about the two. We also took in a preview of the opera about Moses last fall.

On her 100th birthday, we look at the apartments Jane Jacobs herself lived in while she was a resident of New York City


Nikola Tesla Bust-Orthodox Serbian Church of St Sava-Fire-Manhattan-NYC-2Photo via NY Daily News

Yesterday, FDNY officials announced that some of the several hundred Easter candles may have caused the massive fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava (formerly Trinity Chapel) on 25th Street in Manhattan. On our end, we have been digging into the fate of a Nikola Tesla statue that sits in front of the church – prompted by a question from Untapped Cities reader Steven Romalewski, director of CUNY’s Mapping Service.


Smokers-Installation-Mark Reigelman-Steam System-Vents-NYC Streets-6Photo via Mark Reigelman

It’s clear from Brooklyn-based artist Mark Reigelman’s website he has a sense of humor – his team photo is himself, cloned eight times. He has a sarcastic wit – shown in the number of times he references himself as awesome on his website (particularly on his about page). Reigelman’s latest project in New York City, Smökers, as seen on City Lab, places a white wooden cabin atop the steam that comes out of manholes, often channeled through those ubiquitous orange and white striped vents. With the cabins, the steam is redirected up a chimney.

In addition to highlighting the unique steam system of New York City, which both heats and cools much of Midtown Manhattan, Smökers meant to be subversive. But it’s also really adorable.


While most of us complain about the subway commute (too crowded, too slow, you name it), Thomas C. Knox, a business specialist at Apple, has been using it as an opportunity to meet new people and transform the otherwise “monotonous and inhospitable commute.” And, to get people off their smartphones and interacting with each other.

His project, Date While You Wait which began as a Kickstarter campaign, sounds romantic but is more about the serendipitous connections that can be made, just by changing the social architecture of the subway platform. Setting up a round table and two folding chairs on subway platforms all over New York City’ (even in some of the most crowded stations like Penn Station), people sit down to chat, play a game while they wait, even play some music.


Car accident on Park Avenue viaduct 1940s Round Up of Architectural Accidents Vintage NYC Photography Untapped Cities Sabrina RomanoCar Accident on Park Avenue viaduct, 1940s

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. From technological accidents to natural disasters, with tragedy mixed in, here we have some of the notable “architectural” accidents throughout history. As investigators search for answers on the Sunday fire that destroyed the interior of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St Salva, formerly Trinity Chapel, we present accidents lost to time that shocked the city’s residents.

One note: though there have certainly been more deadly incidents, like the General Slocum shipwreck or 9/11, we have stuck here to non-deliberate accidents and those of interesting architectural nature.