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A new dinosaur unveiled today at the American Museum of Natural History hits many superlatives for the museum. It’s the tallest yet at 17 feet – just two feet shy of its home at the Wallach Orientation Center on the fourth floor. It’s too long for the space, so its head and neck go out into the elevator bank in front of the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing. The species is so new, it doesn’t have a scientific name yet but belongs to a group of herbivore giants known as “titanosaurs.” According to the American Museum of Natural History website, “The species lived in the forests of today’s Patagonia about 100 to 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, and is one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.” 

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1-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Coretta-Scott-King-Mayor-Wagner-NYC-Untapped-CitiesMayor Robert F. Wagner shakes hands with Loretta Scott King. Photo via Library of Congress

On January 18, we will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Signed into law in January, 1983 by President Ronald Regan, this is a day we recognize the enormous contributions of Dr. King. It is also a day to reflect on how his contributions have helped to reshape our country, and a look back on his time in New York City.

Dr. King traveled to New York in 1958 to promote his book Stride Towards Freedom: The Montgomery Story, with a book signing at Harlem’s Blumenstein Department Store. This event was interrupted when a mentally unstable woman stabbed him. He was rushed to Harlem Hospital and underwent a successful operation. Dr. King returned to New York in 1963, by invitation of City College of New York President Buell Gallagher, who invited Dr. King to speak at the college’s commencement. At the time, Dr. King was buoyed by President Kennedy’s announcement that he would propose civil rights legislation in Congress. However the day of the commencement was met with tragedy, when Dr. King learned of the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi. He moved forward in what came to be a historic speech at the university on 136th Street, with a heavy heart.

In 1964, Dr. King was given the City of New York Medallion of Honor at an event at City Hall. At this event, Mayor Robert Wagner, Jr. spoke these words, “This is not your city of residence, Dr. King, but it is your city nevertheless….We claim you, henceforth, as an honorary New Yorker.”  New York will begin the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this weekend, with activities leading up to his birthday on Monday.

Here are 10 ways you can celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year in New York City:

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Crown Heights-Homeless Boy Shoulder Arm Cast-Street Art Sculpture-Brooklyn-NYC-2

On Rogers Avenue, between Sterling Place and Park Place in Crown Heights, is one of the most unique pieces of street art we’ve seen recently. It’s a sculpture, often tucked behind refuse and recycle – a cast of a homeless boy, “J” who was 8 years old when the piece was installed last June by J himself, his mother and artist KW. The accompanying plaque reads:

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It was not a good day in New York City signage news yesterday. First, DNAInfo reported that the History Channel billboard that has become iconic on the Bronx skyline is on its way down. Then Curbed NY discovered via artist Steve ESPO Powers’ Instagram that the long-running art installation, Love Letter to Brooklyn, painted on the Macy’s skybridges in downtown Brooklyn was also on its way out.

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Ancient Americas Architectural Models Untapped Cities AFineLyneForeground, House model c.A.D.100-300. Culture: Nayarit, Mexico, Mesoamerica

The exhibit Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the first exhibition of its kind in the United States, giving us a rare look into the traditions and practices of the Aztecs, Incas and their predecessors. The exhibit presents small architectural models created in the ancient Americas that were placed in tombs alongside jewelry and other ritual objects. It is interesting to note how similar this practice was to that of the ancient Egyptians, who lived on a different continent.

The exhibition of pre-Columbian architectural miniature models, made of stone, ceramic, wood and metal, were an important part in the funerary practice, and were representative of their daily lives. It provides a glimpse into how great civilizations that existed in what is now Central and South America lived, played and entertained from the first millennium B.C. until the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century.

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1-Jonathan Levine Gallery_Interesni Kazki_AEC_Last day of the Babylon Untapped Cities AFineLyneAll images courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery. The Last Day of the Babylon (AEC)

Last fall, nine street artists from all over the globe came together in New York as part of the International Mural Festival, MonumentArt2015, which was held in East Harlem and the Bronx. The artists hailed from Buenos Aires, Belgium, Mexico City, and a host of other countries, including Faith47 from Cape Town, South Africa, who also lent her talent to The L.I.S.A. Project on the Lower East Side. The following month, Faith47 had a solo exhibit at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Chelsea.

This month, the Jonathan LeVine Gallery will once again bring the creativity of street art into the gallery with the exhibit “Sacred Gravitation” by Ukrainian artists Interesni Kazki. Translated, the name Interesni Kazki means ‘interesting fairytale,’ which is what sprung out of a relationship between two graffiti artists in 1999 who were part of the crew in Kiev, Ukraine named Ingenious Kids (IK).

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