Mastodon fossil Untapped Cities

Some people might say New York City has a hard time holding on to its past, and it’s not just classic architecture and cool dive bars that disappear without a trace. Fossils, too, are easily lost beneath the city streets. Thousands of years ago, prehistoric animals roamed the area, including the mighty mastodon (Mammut americanum), an ancient animal with an outsized presence and huge historical significance.  (more…)

jose parla-mural-one world trade center-nyc-untapped citiesImage via Traffic Creative Management

As we’ve learned, the art scene in New York City is varied, meaning it’s not restricted solely to institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMa. We’ve covered everything from street art, subway art, to artist occupations and squats. The city has turned into an exhibition space and next on the list are corporate lobbies. While displaying works in corporate lobbies may seem like an afterthought in attempts to liven up the dreary atmosphere, many of them actually have quite a robust collection of art work, ranging from paintings to sculptures and installations. Here are 10 lobbies in Manhattan with artworks open completely to the public. So the next time you pass by one if these buildings, walk in and take a look.  (more…)

voting-rules-legal-social-mediaImage via Gothamist

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The Roof Garden Psycho Barn Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe current Roof Garden Commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The fourth annual, site-specific, roof garden installation, commissioned for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is now on view, and it’s the creepy haunted house from the movie Psycho. This summer’s roof garden commission is titled Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), by the acclaimed British artist Cornelia Parker(more…)

audrey munson-nyc-untapped citiesAudrey Munson with photographer Arnold Genthe’s cat Buzzer, 1915. Image via Wikipedia

She adorns New York City in bronze, gold and stone. You’ve walked by her in the streets, but never knew her name. Meet Audrey Munson, fabulous New York woman who met a decidedly unfabulous end.

Audrey Munson was America’s first supermodel; the personification of the nation’s ideals and dreams. Gilded Age sculptors carved her form into statues for the city’s institutions and monuments.  

audrey munson-manhattan municiple building-nyc-untapped citiesStatue modeled after Munson on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building. Image via Flickr by Jane Nearing

Downtown, Audrey Munson stands 25 feet tall on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building, constructed as an administrative site for New York’s consolidated boroughs. As Civic Fame, a splendidly gilded figure in Classical dress by Adolph Weinman, Audrey holds aloft a crown with five towers, representing the five boroughs. Here, she is Manhattan’s tallest statue, second in New York only to her sister, the Statue of Liberty, offshore.

Midtown, Audrey is depicted in the buff and in granite as the personification of Beauty by Frederick MacMonnies, a Brooklyn sculptor. In this form, her voluptuous figure decorates the facade of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.


Across town at Columbus Circle, Audrey is a stern and  heavily garbed figure. Here, she serves as the model for Attilio Piccirilli‘s gilded centerpiece for the USS Maine Monument atop the pylon of Merchants’ Gate at the southwest entrance to Central Park.

Uptown, at Broadway and 106th Street, a bronze Audrey stretches languidly as a water nymph overlooking a small fountain. Here, she represents Memory in Henry Augustus Lukeman’s sculpture at the Isidor & Ida Straus Memorial. The statue and pocket park are dedicated in memory of the one-time U.S. Congressman and co-owner of Macy’s department store, Straus and his wife who lived on Broadway, one block south of the park. The couple perished on the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic, when Ida refused to board a lifeboat without her husband. Isidor’s body was recovered from sea, but Ida was never found. The choice of a water nymph belies their watery end. 

isador and ida straus memorial-audrey munson-manhattan-nyc-untapped citiesImage via Daytonian in Manhattan

Ten blocks uptown is Audrey at her most staid. She is the centerpiece of the Columbia University campus, a bronze statue in the form of Athena by sculptor Arthur Chester French. Grandly representing Alma Mater, Audrey sits on the steps of the Low Memorial Library where each incoming class is tasked with finding the owl in the voluminous folds of her robes. Columbia tradition has it that the student who finds the owl first will graduate as class valedictorian.

Audrey Munson worked her way up the artistic food chain from a model for photographers, to posing for illustrators, then painters, and finally posing for sculptors. As a model who also painted, Audrey considered herself to be an artist, listing herself as such in the 1916 New York City directory when she was living at 288 West 70th Street. At this time, Cubism, Futurism and Impressionism were all making their mark on artistic production. Audrey described these artists as “just crazy persons, capitalizing on their insanities.”

Too bad for Audrey, her own mental capacities were about to be tested – and the result would be tragic. As a woman whose body was the source of her own and others’ inspiration and creativity, scandals followed her and caused her mental breakdown. At the age of 39, Audrey Munson was committed to an institution for the insane in upstate New York. Here, she died, 65 years later, at the age of 104 – still a fabulous New York woman.

Next, read A Tale of the Titanic:  In Their Death They Were Not Divided about the Straus Memorial and watch Inside Video Look of the New York Municipal Building, One of NYC’s First Skyscrapers.

1-ArtsBrookfield-artist-Amanda-Parer-Intrude-Untapped-Cities-AFineLyneArtist, Amanda Parer with her installation, Intrude. Image courtesy of ArtsBrookfield

Listed as one of our 18 Art Installations in NYC Not To Miss In April, we have been patiently awaiting the arrival of the super-sized bunnies that will make up Intrude, the new installation at Brookfield Place. So it was without hesitation that we accepted an invitation to join ArtsBrookfield and the artist, Amanda Parer in a test inflation. We gathered on the North Cove Marina side of Brookfield Place, along with the Vice President and Artistic Director of ArtsBrookfield, Debra Simon – and a fare amount of wind. At the appointed hour, the air-pumps were turned on. (more…)