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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…)

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…)

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.

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 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…)

nyc subway map-all subway bathrooms-youtube-affixion96-untapped cities-02
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.

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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…)