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untapped-cities-knickerbocker-hotel-grand central terminal platform-1The plaque is a dead giveaway to a secret entrance of the old Knickerbocker Hotel.

Resting idly beneath the noses of the 172,000 daily commuters bustling through the Times Square/42nd Street station complex, a pale white door with the word “Knickerbocker” etched on a plaque above it has more to it than meets the eye. The title refers to the famed hotel at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, which was so popular in its heyday that it was nicknamed “The 42nd Street Club.” Such a reputation was built, literally, on an entrance that opened on the subway platform beneath the hotel that allowed patrons to frequent the lowest level of the hotel’s restaurants and bars. Long thought to be a secret, at the time it was anything but.

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2561659236_ed7b2030c6_zSource: Flickr.com by h008

Relied on by everyone and utilized on a daily basis, transit systems form the critical backbone for urban life. One would assume that most networks feature user friendly interfaces and streamlined routing, though this isn’t always the case. Below, we try to clarify some of the colloquial nuances of the world’s most well-known networks. Just remember: Subways are like Band-Aids.

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Subway-Tile-Collage-Untapped-CitiesSubway tiles. Photos via NYC CityStore

 We all have that one friend who’s nuts for public transport. Why don’t you show them some love? We curated a list of the greatest transit gifts the internet has to offer. Enjoy!

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10004337005_6452cfbc04_zA vintage double decker bus of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. Image Source: Flickr.com by the MTA

Fifth Avenue has it all: opulent retail, national embassies, corporate headquarters–but no Subway line. Why is this? Not only is there no line now (and no plans for one in the future), but no elevated trains or trolleys have ever operated on one of the world’s grandest thoroughfares. In fact, the avenue’s transit history is one of the most complex of any street in New York City. (more…)

 

Fun-Maps-Train-to-Plane-6-Untapped-Cities

In this installment of Fun Maps, we looked at a 1970′s New York City subway map we had lying around the Untapped HQ and we found subway relic of the past. On September 23rd, 1978, amidst struggles to put into place rebuilding projects from the 1960s and an impending train operator strike, the Transit Authority introduced the “Train to the Plane” or the “JFK Express.” The ride charged premium fare and featured higher quality train cars. The train was actually slower than the A service, though many residents of Howard Beach, Queens were happy to pay extra for a more comfortable ride to work or home.

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380360934_1cf8341149_zSource: Flickr.com by Herman Yung

We’re following up our profile of the differences between New York and London cabbies with another breakdown of transit operators. This time, we look to the unsung heroes of the subway: the operators and conductors. They drive the city (and nearly 7.5 million people) along each weekday, with 1.7 billon trips made last year alone. But a year’s work just barely opens you up to the MTA’s benefits package. If you’re considering an illustrious career in the tunnels (and elevated and at-grade tracks) of the busiest and most expansive rapid transit network in North America, then be sure you meet the following requirements and are up to the challenge.

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