03/12/14 9:00am

time warner center-columbus circle-traffic circles-roundabout-nyc-untapped citiesColumbus Circle (a traffic circle, as shown by the walkways to access the center) viewed from inside the Time Warner Cable Building. (Image via Wikimedia)

This week we’ll celebrate Pi-Day on 3/14, so at HQ we’re thinking about circles. Did you know, the number of roundabouts and traffic circles around the world is in the thousands compared to only a couple hundred in the United States? The two things in the US refer to the same thing, generally speaking. Technically, the only thing that differentiates the two is the circle in the very middle. A traffic circle uses stop signs and/or signals to direct traffic, and allows people to traverse circular lanes and stop in the center. A roundabout on the other hand prohibits crossing to the center circle (as it is very dangerous) and only allows pedestrians to cross the streets that branch out from the circle. There are a few other technicalities left to talk about. (more…)

03/11/14 11:00am

MTA ad takeover NYC Untapped CitiesPhoto via CBS Outdoor

An Untapped Cities reader recently contacted the Untapped Mailbag wondering about the full, advertising takeovers on the S trains in New York City.

The MTA has attempted to stretch its advertisements to cover every nook and cranny in the subways–even attempting to install advertisements on the floors of the Union Square Station. Perhaps the most aggressive of the MTA advertisements are the advertising takeovers completely covering both the interior and exterior of trains.

These ads are most visible, and were first implemented, on the historic Shuttle to Times Square (or the 42nd Street Shuttle), with each current shuttle sporting an ad. However, the MTA has recently expanded these type of ads on both the 6 and 7 lines. These ads have been in place since 2008, overwhelming the riders of select trains with an advertisement takeover by companies ranging from the History Channel to the Super Bowl.  (more…)

03/10/14 2:00pm

Roosevelt-Island-Tramway-Queensboro-Bridge-Manhattan-NYCImage via Flickr user scarlatti2004

While the Roosevelt Island Tramway only takes about 3 minutes to travel to and from Manhattan, it’s probably the most pleasant commute in the city. Even the abundance of subway art can’t compete with the tram’s view of Midtown East. This aerial tram has been in operation since 1976 and continues to make about 115 trips per day. The cars run frequently and remain open until 2 AM. The tram was also the last transit system to continue using tokens, switching to MetroCards only in 2004.  (more…)

03/05/14 9:00am

Whirls and Twirls by Sol LeWitt in the 59th Street Columbus Circle Station

The network of artistic communities coursing through the five boroughs is wide and vast. Armory Arts Week, in celebration of these groups, is throwing open the doors in locations from the Bronx to Brooklyn starting today and going through Sunday, March 9th. We know, we know, it’s cold outside and you don’t really want to go far from home or spend time walking around in that thin jacket. Well, instead of going to see the art, Untapped will bring it to you, deep underground, on your next subway ride home.  (more…)

02/26/14 12:00pm

Nord-Sud Paris Metro Line 12-Solferino Wooden Bench

While most of Paris’ subway stations have been modernized with plastic “anti-homeless” chairs that replaced former wooden benches, you can still get a glimpse of the old Paris metro on line 12 and part of line 13. These lines were built by the Nord-Sud Company starting in 1904 and had more elaborate decoration and rolling stock than the other lines.


02/25/14 11:00am

 speed theatrical trailer-numbers on roofs of buses-untapped cities-cities 101Runaway bus scene from the 1994 movie Speed. What are those numbers for? (Screenshot from Speed trailer, 20th Century Fox)

In the movie Speed (1994), Keanu Reaves parades through Los Angeles on a public bus rigged with a bomb. In the ensuing police chase, the bus’ rooftop decal showed the numbers 2525, making it easy for helicopter crews to track from above and inform ground police forces. This is one important, albeit uncommon, use for the rooftop numbers on the buses. Away from the silver screen, the numbers are a much more practical necessity for the everyday transit worker. Still, not all buses carry the numbers on top. Here we’ve tried to get to the bottom (or top?) of this. (more…)