Astolat Dollhouse Castle-8.5 million-Most Expensive-Columbus Circle-NYC

Dubbed “The World’s Most Valuable Dollhouse,” and certainly the city’s most expensive piece of “real estate” at the moment, The Astolat Dollhouse Castle is appraised at $8.5 million dollars and for almost a month, it will be on view inside The Shops at Columbus Circle. The privately owned dollhouse is being shown to the public on a world tour to fundraise (via donation at the display) to children’s charities.


Hudson Branch-Leroy St-Carnegie Library-Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe Seventh Avenue South entrance for the Hudson Park Library, built in 1906

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was among the wealthiest industrialists of his day and the fourth wealthiest of all time. Upon the sale of his steel company to J.P. Morgan for $480 million in 1901, he retired from business and set about distributing his fortune. His philanthropic career began around 1870, in support of projects worldwide, in which he gave away nearly ninety percent of his fortune, about $350 million (about $6.5 billion today). $40 million of this money went toward the building of 1,679 library buildings throughout the United States. The Carnegie Committee had a policy of locating its libraries in close proximity to schools, YM/YWCA’s, and social service centers. Many still serve as libraries, some on the National Register of Historic Places.


Gateway-to-soho-599 broadway-forrest-myers-Stephanie-Geier-NYC-Stephanie-GeierThe Gateway to Soho at 599 Broadway

The bright blue, eight-story art piece adorning a wall on 599 Broadway certainly stands out among the surrounding buildings and billboards, catching the eye of pedestrians. Unknown to many of them, however, this piece, called “The Gateway to Soho” (or “The Wall”), actually has a rocky history and even became the subject of a federal lawsuit.


SS Columbia Project-Buffalo-NY-Hudson Valley-NYC

In September 2014, we reported on the S.S. Columbia Project, an initiative to bring America’s oldest surviving passenger steamship to New York. While it served its previous life in Detroit as one of the Boblo Boats, it will get new life reinvigorating the Hudson Valley‘s connection with its river and will serve as a floating mobile museum and cultural space along the Hudson River. Over the last year, the S.S. Columbia moved from Detroit to Toledo, where it wintered and had its hull repaired with 3,791 square feet of new steel welded below the waterline. On September 2nd, 2015 it arrived in New York State and will be docked at Silo City on the Buffalo River for the upcoming winter, before more rehabilitation is done to the boat next year.

A new video shares beautiful footage inside the S.S. Columbia and tells an oral history of the ship’s role in Detroit’s cultural memory.


Secrets of turtle Bay_apartment view_NYC_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierAn apartment view of Turtle Bay neighborhood. Image via KW New York City

We’ve already uncovered the intriguing remnants and secrets of the abandoned Dead Horse Bay earlier this year. However, on the east side of Manhattan lies another interesting cove: Turtle Bay.

Midtown Manhattan’s Turtle Bay encompasses the area between 41st and 53rd streets east of Lexington Avenue, including the United Nations headquarters and the Chrysler Building. While it may not have old glass bottles or destroyed ferry remnants like Dead Horse Bay, Turtle Bay does have secrets of a different nature.

street-numbering-grid-manhattan-untappedcities-mcny-nyc.50 AMScreenshot of “Interactive 1811 Plan,” looking at the history of street numbering 

“The Grid defines a new balance between control and de-control in which the city can be at the same time ordered and fluid, a metropolis of rigid chaos,” said architect Rem Koolhaas about New York City’s urban planning. The Museum of the City of New York, after its celebrated 2011-2012 exhibit, Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, has launched an interactive, online version of the exhibition that has just been released. If you’re a lover of maps, vintage photos, history, urban planning or New York, you must check out this website.

Also, be sure not to miss our co-sponsored event with the Museum of the City of New York, City on a Grid: How New York Became New York tonight at 6:30pm. Untapped Cities readers get a special discount using code MCBC1 for $10 tickets (regularly $16). Now, since we’ve already compiled a list of fun facts to learn about the original 1811 Commissioner’s plan and discussed the history of the grid planning, take a look below to discover how you can interact with the Museum’s new website to find out even more about this revolutionary period in Manhattan history.