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SlideTheCitySummerStreets Untapped Cities AFineLyne

Summer is coming to the streets. Expect free slides, zip lines, food, music, and unbelievable traffic jams. For three Saturdays throughout the month of August, seven miles of New York City’s streets from Central Park down Park Avenue and Lafayette Street will become Summer Streets, an annual day festival where jay walking is not only allowed but encouraged. With almost 80 blocks of the city closed from 7 am to 1 pm on August 1st, 8th, and 15th, you’ll be free to walk around, explore the streets, and take part in a pretty unconventional New York summer. There are five rest stops along the way, complete with activities, games, and attractions. Here’s what to expect:

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Big Belly Solar Compactor-Times Square-Untapped Cities- Catherine Mondkar-001

Two years ago, New York City took a fair step forward into the Green Age with these trashcans that today, are probably no less common than a taxi or a street lamp. While a few conventional trashcans (as in, ones that don’t run on solar power and automatically compact their trash as the day goes on) remain scattered around the city, these Bigbelly solar trashcans are everywhere. To date, the company has placed hundreds in New York and plenty more in cities nationwide. Able to hold five times the capacity of any run-of-the-mill trashcan, they’ve helped clear thousands of pounds of trash produced by the city each day.

As if that weren’t enough, some of these Bigbelly trash cans are functioning as free wi-fi hotspots. Announced only a few days ago, Bigbelly Solar, the company behind the trashcans, has teamed up with NYC’s Downtown Alliance to repurpose the trashcan’s existing wireless link to include wi-fi capabilities.

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We live in the golden age of patterned fabrics. Yesterday in New York City I saw a man wearing an oxford shirt with tiny hamburgers embroidered all over it, and I’ve already discussed the prevalence of botanical prints in a previous column. Sometimes popular fashion seems to reflect a certain collective sobriety in subdued colors and tasteful patterns, but at other times there’s a sort of zeitgeist of… whimsy. Lately it seems like people are pretty into wearing things that look like they’re patterned with a standard set of stripes or diamonds from a distance but upon closer examination turn out to be a string of curses in tiny font, or a field of corgis.

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nobutaka aozaki form here to there fun maps-NYC-Untapped Cities2All images via Nobutaka Aozaki

Back in 2012, a Japanese conceptual artist by the name of Nobutaka Aozaki started walking around New York City wearing a blue ‘New York’ baseball cap and toting a plastic bag from Century 21. Though not a tourist himself, he posed as one and approached real tourists in the street, asking them for directions to a well-known city attraction, landmark, or building. When they would offer to show him the way on their phones, he’d refuse, saying he would remember better if they drew a little map for him on pieces of paper he provided. Most tourists, unlike busy New Yorkers with little words and even less patience, obliged.

From their drawings sprung ‘From Here to There,’ a ‘map’ of Manhattan made entirely of hand-drawn pointers to famous landmarks and buildings.

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6sqft punta cana bodega gentrification-NYC-Untapped CitiesImages via Doug Cameron

Have you ever been struck by a food craving so powerful you couldn’t think about anything else? Chocolate, french fries, maybe a fresh skimmed pond scum smoothie.

Involuntary gag aside, pond scum smoothies, Oxacan sea salt taco rubs, and Barnyard Scent country deodorant are just the kinds of exciting new products that marketing experts Doug Cameron and Tommy Noonan think will revitalize their newest client, the lunch counter Punta Cana in Washington Heights. The bodega, touted as a popular eating joint on the corner of Broadway and 162nd Street for the past 30 years, has fallen hard due to spiking rents. Cameron and Noonan’s posters, advertising unsightly new products for ridiculous prices as part of their ‘Artisanal Landlord Price Hike Sale,’ are meant to raise awareness of rising rents threatening smaller businesses in the area.

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Forever Marilyn - Seward Johnson - Untapped Cities - AFineLyne

The Garment District Alliance, formerly the Fashion Center BID, invited famed sculpture artist, Seward Johnson to install eighteen colorful life-like bronze sculptures along the Broadway Pedestrian Plazas between 36th Street and 41st Street. The installation, named Seward Johnson in New York: Selections from the Retrospective features selections from three of his collections and will remain on view through September 15 as part of the Summer Arts on the Plazas program.

New Yorkers are having a lot of fun with this installation. We watched as commercial trucks unloaded in and around them, locals had their morning coffee at tables and chairs sitting next to them, and tourists couldn’t wait to have their pictures taken with them.

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