spook-a-rama-virtual-reality-joel-zika-coney-island-brooklyn-nyc-untapped-cities-shervinImage via Joel Zika/Dark Ride Project

The click, click of the rails rings ominously in your ears as your cart approaches the foreboding doors of the entrance. The doors creak open, and you enter a spooky realm where darkness and dim lights permeate every corner of your surroundings. Over the course of your ride you will encounter a motley of ghouls and spooks that will elicits gasps and shrieks; ghosts jump out from behind walls, monsters lurk around corners, vampires emerge from coffins—all part of the dark rides of amusement parks.

Once a cornerstone of amusement parks around the world, the number of haunted house rides has drastically dropped from the 1,700+ rides that existed globally in the mid to late 20th century; currently, only 18 of those original rides exist, with many more closing each year.

Australian university lecturer, Joel Zika, who has studied amusement park dark rides for the past decade, and is working on the Dark Ride Project, employing virtual reality to capture these rides all around the world. Using a 3-camera rig mounted to the carriage, Mr. Zika has filmed historic haunted house rides in Australia, Florida, West Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, and Delaware—thus allowing people to experience these rides through the wonderful technology of virtual reality.

Up next on Mr. Zika’s list is the Spook-a-rama at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park on Coney Island.


Ben took thisBuffalo and Eagle found on Broadway at 40th Street

A flight of whimsy arrived on the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza in the Garment District yesterday. Titled A Fancy Animal Carnival, these eleven large-scale, colorful sculptures were created by the Taiwanese artist, Hung Yin. Each of the whimsical sculptures reflects folk culture as well as region, and represents a narrative expressed through traditional Taiwanese symbols, which are believed to bring luck. They also represent the artist’s view of everyday life.


elcekis-for-notacrime-untapped-cities-afinelyneMural by the Chilean artist El Cekis. Image via NotACrime

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, those of the Bahá‘í faith have been banned from teaching or studying in Iranian universities. Their businesses have been torched, they have been harassed, jailed and even killed for their beliefs. In an effort to raise global awareness, the organization Education is Not A Crime has created a campaign through art in New York CIty to show their plight.

This year’s campaign began on April 25th, with murals depicting the Bahá‘í struggle for equality. Curated by Street Art Anarchy, there will be fifteen murals in total, scattered throughout Harlem and East Harlem, created by artists from all over the World. The first mural is located on the wall of the famed Faison Firehouse Theatre by artist Ricky Lee Gordon, located at 6 Hancock Place near St. Nicholas Avenue and 124th Street. Below are images of the finished murals so far.


2museum-of-jewish-heritage-viewCredit: David Paler / Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust may be one of the lesser known monuments to Jewish history in New York, but it is a potent one.

From the Lower East Side to Brooklyn, from Milton Berle to Jerry Seinfeld, Jewish people are fundamental to New York City’s image of itself. With a population of 1.1 million, Jews make up about 13% of the city’s population, but their influence through figures like Robert Moses, Michael Bloomberg, and Woody Allen testifies to a far larger impact than numbers would indicate.



The marble lobby of the iconic Grace building on 42nd Street (that curved building along Bryant Park) has turned into a playful garden of colorful “flower clusters.” Entitled Beauties, the seven site-specific sculptures, created by artist John Monti, are an eye-popping entrance to a New Yorkers serious workday. People entering through the revolving doors were taking a sudden pause before flashing a quick smile, and a quick cell phone shot of the fantastically colored installations, now sprouting in their lobby. Even the security guards seemed to be enjoying the play-things, and the reactions from those on their way through the grand African mahogany paneled lobby. Below are a few photos of Beauties.


metrograph-ludlow-independent-theater-new-york-city-untapped-cities-susanxu9Metrograph on 7 Ludlow St.

Metrograph sits inside an unassuming brick building near the corner of Ludlow Street. It is easy to walk straight past the independent cinema without so much as a second glance; there is no colorful awning or neon sign to give you the hint that you’re in the right place; movie times aren’t obviously displayed by the entrance. If you were expecting to walk into the atmosphere of a traditional theater, complete with the smell of buttered popcorn and cardboard cutouts of movie previews, you’ll soon learn that Metrograph is anything, but.