As part of the Open House New York Weekend, on Saturday, October 11th Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will offer the public an exclusive look at a series of original maps housed in the Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street. Highlights will include the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan and the Randel Farm Maps, two snapshots of the history of the development of Manhattan’s streets as we know them today.


Fordham-armory-untapped-nycArmory Hall at Fordham University. Image via Fordham.edu

New York City’s historic armories can be seen all around the city, and are currently used for all kinds of purposes in addition to some that retain their original function. They were built between the 18th and 20th centuries for New York State volunteer militia, serving as storage of arms and housing. These monumental fortresses were meant to remind the public of the military’s might and ability to maintain domestic law. Thankfully for us, the militia took great care in designing their fortresses and we have been left with remarkable armories that remind us of an important time in our city’s history. Some still function as National Guard posts, but many have been repurposed since the mid 20th century.

Here is a list of the remaining armories in the five boroughs of New York City.


Infrastructure is an inevitable part of urban living. Subways and tunnels need ventilation, but the question is often–how to keep these functional spaces contained and away from the public eye? While many subway substations have been gutted and turned into apartments in New York City, other ventilation buildings have been concealed as residential townhouses. Here’s a roundup of these clever pieces of faux architecture in NYC, Paris, London and Toronto:

1. Brooklyn Heights Subway Ventilator


This year’s Open House New York is coming up the weekend of October 11th and 12th–and we’re not the only ones getting excited for this year’s events at some of our favorite New York City locations. Every year, the country’s largest architecture and design event puts on an impressive number of great events to educate the public about architecture and design culture in NYC. Our favorite OHNY events are the tours of locations that are usually closed to the public and although not all have been announced quite yet, we’ve highlighted 16 locations so far that you should check out:

We know that some of our favorite locations are being reopened for OHNY tours this year. These include:

1. TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport


Tours of architect Eero Saarinen’s rarely open TWA Flight Center will be given on Saturday, October 11th. Check it out before it gets converted into a hotel. See our interior photographs here.


432 Park-Intstagram-Urban Exploring-Kiss The Sky-Untapped Cities-NYC-demidism

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a 17-year-old Instagrammer on top 423 Park Avenue, the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere taking a picture. Not to sound like a bunch of old, cranky A-dults here. We remember youth, when Monica and Chandler were still just Friends, when Buzzfeed did not exist to suck us into another one of their ’90s nostalgia lists and when you could spend your money killing your liver drinking Surge soda (which is making a comeback). Whatever little troubles you find yourself in, we can surely tell you, none of us here at Untapped has yet considered climbing the tallest residential building in NYC to snap an Instagram photo despite our forays into urban exploration.

But a 17-year-old Instagrammer known as Demidism did just that. On Tuesday, the urban explorer posted on his Instagram page two photos on top the 1.397 foot super tower amidst the many super tall skyscrapers on 57th Street, This type of daredevil stunt in not so uncommon in NYC lately with the parachute base jump off 1 WTC or another 17-year-old’s bridge exploits. What Demidism’s purpose is, we don’t know (yet) but why wouldn’t you try to climb the second tallest building in NYC if you could?


New York New Jersey Rail car-float operation-Hudson River-NYC-01Image via Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance 

Freight barges aren’t something we think about all the time but did you know there’s a floating train barge that crosses the Hudson River twice a day? It’s known as the New York New Jersey Rail car-float operation and just last week, the Port Authority approved a $356 million contract that will upgrade the system. The current floats transport 14 train cars at once, an equivalent of 56 semi-trucks, but the new cars will be able to accommodate 18 train cars. By crossing the Hudson, the floats take trucks off the highways and give freight a more direct route between New York and New Jersey. (more…)