Last Sunday brought us a momentous event: the return of Mad Men. Much fuss has been made over Mad Men being the most stylish show on television—there are style blogs devoted to it, recaps focusing on the symbolism of each character’s costumes, and tie-in ad campaigns from Banana Republic. Mad Men’s crown remains intact this season, even as its characters step into the seventies and experiment with some of the decade’s more questionable trends.


nypl.digitalcollections.5e66b3e8-ad8f-d471-e040-e00a180654d7.001.wNew York World’s Fair Corporation President Grover Whalen and administrators examining Westinghouse Time Capsule I

On September 23, 1939, an 800-pound tube made of an alloy of copper and chromium called Cupaloy was lowered 50 feet into the ground at the site of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company exhibit of the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. The tube’s contents comprised 35 items one might find in any run-of-the-mill Smith family household, including copies of Life magazine, a Sears Roebuck catalog, cigarettes and seeds of wheat, corn, alfalfa and soy, each examined and preserved in inert argon and nitrogen gas to remain intact for the next five thousand years–until the year 6939 to be exact.

The device was an engineering feat, a “time capsule” as notable New York public relations counselor George Edward Pendray called it for the very first time in 1939.


Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan Museum-Williamsburg-Brooklyn-NYC

From the opening of the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Museum, to the return of Tribeca Film Festival, and events surrounding the 50 Year Anniversary of the Landmarks Law in NYC, there’s a lot to do in New York City this week.

Monday, April 13th

Columbia University GSAPP lecture “Re-Purposing the Purpose Built” will look at the gravity-fed, 41-mile long Croton Aqueduct, one of the most ambitious municipal public works projects ever undertaken in the United States. Speakers Andrew Burdick, Associate Partner at Ennead Architects, and Meisha Hunter Burkett, Senior Preservationist at Li/Saltzman Architects (LSA), will discuss re-purposing of the Croton Aqueduct’s underutilized buildings and spaces with new public uses.


BBQ Films-Untapped Cities-Rough Trade-NYC-Brooklyn-Williamsburg-Empire Records

April 8th, 1995, is a day that should be remembered by all who love music and overly tanned men. Because it was “Rex Manning Day,”the day that the man himself (your favorite singer in high school) arrived at the Empire Records store to promote his latest hit Say No More (Mon Amour). The chants of “Rexy, your’e so sexy” by his mostly female fans were heard for miles, and is the source of the store’s record number of noise complaints. Thankfully, this special day was recorded in the 1995 cult hit Empire Records and BBQ Films, the group who has taken us Back to The Future and hosted a Weekend at Bernie Jr’s (R.I.P BJ), help celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Rex Manning Day” inside Rough Trade, one of the most popular record stores in NYC. (more…)

More Love Letters-NYC Subway-001

We came across this Post-It note in the subway with the hashtag #moreloveletters. It reminded us of The Strangers Project, which collects handwritten journal entries from strangers across the country. A quick search led us to More Love Letters, an organization started by Hannah Brencher, a New York transplant motivated by her own loneliness in this city.

As she says in her TED Talk, “I was living in New York City and it felt like the most impossible battle of my day was trying not to cry during random subway rides for no apparent reason. I felt lonely. I felt disconnected…So on those subway rides–the lonely ones where no one talked or said even more than a word to one another–I started writing those same kinds of love letters my mother had written to me and tucking them throughout New York City for strangers to find.”


CW Pencil Enterprise-Forsyth Street-Lowre East Side-Pencil Store Shop-NYCImage via CW Pencil Enterprise

Here at Untapped Cities, we love stores that sell only one thing–it’s so New York to have enough density to support such specific, local businesses. CW Pencil Enterprise is the latest, opening in the Lower East Side on Forsyth Street, and recently explored by Gothamist. With a pristine white interior infused with pop colors from the pencils themselves and a retro yellow chair, it’s like a creative space you wished was in your own home.

While the impetus of a pencil-only shop comes owner Caroline Weaver’s mother’s obsession with pencils, it’s also about highlighting a craft that continues today. Weaver tells Gothamist, “”There aren’t very many pencil factories left, but most of them still maintain the quality and heritage of yesteryear.”