02/24/14 12:00pm

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This map put together by Eron Watt in his YouTube video shows the 48 subway bathrooms he visited from 2009-2014. 

We have already Untapped the mystery of some public bathrooms in New York City, but we’re still curious about the ones you can find in many subway stations. Out of NYC’s 468 subway stations, only 129 of them claim to have restrooms. With the help of YouTube user Eron Watt, we’ve verified that only 48 of these lavatories were unlocked. The rest of these appear to be locked, repurposed for storage, or converted into convenient newsstands like the one shown below. Here’s the dirty low-down on what awaits you behind the few unlocked doors of subway bathrooms.


02/11/14 10:00am

atlantic avenue tunnel-brooklyn-cobble hill-bob diamond-bhra-untapped cities-nyc-lirr-01Photo from inside the now defunct Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. (Image via BHRA by J. Blakeslee)

Back in 1844 when the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was built, the City of Brooklyn was not one of the five boroughs. For the commuters of the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad, better known today as the LIRR, the Cobble Hill Tunnel was meant to reduce the congestion caused by a street-level train. In 1980, about 120 years since the City of Brooklyn had banned steam locomotives within city limits, ending the use of the tunnel, Bob Diamond stumbled upon the hidden underground gem. From 1980, he gave tours of the half-mile span to interested gawkers only to have his permit mysteriously taken away by the city in 2010. (more…)

02/05/14 9:00am

Recently, we decided to call the phone numbers on the doors in the New York City subway and the result was…pretty funny. But, there were a lot more doors we’ve been taking photos of over the past few months. Have you ever wondered what the scrubber room is? What Third Rail Operations is? Here’s a look at all the funny shapes, sizes and signs on the doors within the subway system.

The Scrubber Room


02/04/14 11:00am

UntappedCities_MTASubwayArtCardsThe 2014 MTA Art Cards installed on an E train. Shown: “Robots” by artist Susan Farrington

In addition to the polar vortex, January was the month for the installation of three new art posters in the subway as part of the MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, a program that has been going on for well over thirteen years.

The New York City subways are known for many things, and at Untapped Cities, we’ve been showing you all the art you can see on your daily commute today and what you’ll see in the future on the Second Avenue Subway. Each weekday over five and a half million people ride the subway, and that’s a whole lot of eyeballs looking for a place to alight.


01/29/14 9:00am

Charles E. Morehouse Signal Learning Center-Signal Training School-MTA-Operations Training-14th Street-A:C:E-Subway Station-NYC-001

You’ve probably noticed the whimsical Tom Otterness Life Underground sculptures while at the 14th Street A/C/E station, but did you notice the MTA Signal Learning School? Heralded by a traffic light that actually changes colors, the official name of the school is the Charles E. Morehouse Signals Learning Center. According to a nearby plaque, Charles “exemplified the commitment to excellence that is the trademark of maintenance of way-signals” from 1953-2002.


01/24/14 11:00am

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Yesterday a thread came up on Reddit in which the user asked, “I noticed this light at the end of a dead end street. What is the light for?” We thought it would be a perfect Cities 101 topic to talk about traffic signals and what purpose these lights serve. As a few commenters posted, these lamps are an added precaution to signal drivers that the street ends. In dangerous road conditions, such as low visibility, these lights come in handy where typical “Dead End” signs would be hard to see. (more…)