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We’re particularly excited about our behind the scenes tours offerings this week: Our Secrets of Grand Central Tour is back with a vengeance this weekend, with four time slots. Wednesday’s tours of the disappearing neon signs of Greenwich Village, led by author Tom Rinaldi, is almost sold out but a few tickets are still left. We’re heading back to Rooftop Reds, the world’s first commercial viable rooftop vineyard led on a tour and tasting led by the founders of the company. And we’ll explore the Gowanus Canal with Joseph Alexiou, author of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious CanalSee more descriptions and get tickets below:

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Don’t store away your shorts just yet. Rooftop Reds, the world’s first commercially viable rooftop vineyard, is biding farewell to summer with a last hurrah that will bring together ribs, roses and beer. The rooftop barbecue will take place this Sunday, from 4-8 p.m.

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Veniero Pasticceria and Caffe-James and Karla Murray-East Village Food Tour-NYCPhoto from 2010 appears in the book New York Nights by James and Karla Murray

On Sunday, August 21st at 12pm, Untapped Cities will host the tour STOREFRONT: A HISTORIC EAST VILLAGE FOOD TOUR, led by photographers and authors James and Karla Murray. This visit will cover the  food, history and diverse culture of the East Village while tasting delicious specialties from at least 6 different tasting stops.

Below, James and Karla have written a piece for us about one of those stops, Veniero Pasticceria and Caffe:

Many family-run businesses started out as traditional mom-and-pop stores passed down from generation to generation, and defined their neighborhoods. Not only are these modest small businesses falling away in the face of modernization, gentrification, and conformity, but the once unique appearance and character of New York City’s colorful streets also suffers in the process.

One of the many small businesses we will stop and sample food from is Veniero Pasticceria and Caffe, which was established in 1894 by Antonio Veniero. This fourth-generation family-owned bakery specializes in Italian pastries, including their famous cannoli, cheesecake, biscotti (Italian biscuits) and Italian butter cookies. Throughout the years they have added new offerings and now sell over 200 varieties of pastries, cakes and cookies. On our walking and tasting tour everyone will sample a freshly made cannoli while learning interesting facts and history about the oldest Italian pastry business in New York City.

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On Sunday August 21st at 12pm, join James and Karla Murray, authors and photographers of the critically acclaimed books, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New YorkNew York Nights and Store Front II-A History Preserved on this walking and tasting tour of some of their favorite East Village food establishments. Discover the food, history and diverse culture of the East Village while tasting delicious specialties from at least 6 different tasting stops.

Many family-run businesses started out as traditional mom-and-pop stores passed down from generation to generation, and defined their neighborhoods. Not only are these modest small businesses falling away in the face of modernization, gentrification, and conformity, the once unique appearance and character of New York City’s colorful streets suffers in the process.

On this tour you will learn about the diverse German, Italian, Jewish and Ukranian history of the East Village and try some fresh homemade Italian mozzarella, drink an authentic New York City egg cream or have a freshly roasted cup of coffee, taste a hot Ukranian potato pierogi with toppings, sample a freshly baked Jewish sugar cookie, enjoy an authentic New York hot dog and tropical drink and taste a freshly baked Italian cannoli.

Enough food will be sampled so that for most people lunch afterwards is not needed.

Below are a few more photos from James and Karla Murray of places we will discover on this tour:

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On Thursday, August 25th at 6:30pm, join us for a Behind the Scenes NYC Tour of the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, a state-of the-art recycling facility located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). The facility is the result of a public-private partnership between New York City and Sims.

Completed in 2013 using sustainable design practices, the reactivated site processes all plastic, metal, and glass collected by the Department of Sanitation and helps traffic the City of New York’s recyclables while creating jobs for the local community. Eadaoin Quinn, Education Coordinator at Sims, will take Untapped Cities readers behind the scenes of the recycling plant, which currently occupies 11 acres of SBMT. Join us for a 90-minute tour and get a insider look at the City’s recycling process. Tickets are limited.

Operated by Sims Municipal Recycling, the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility is New York City’s principal recycling center receiving approximately 20,000 tons of residential metal, glass, plastic and paper every month. The facility features advanced sorting equipment, award-winning architectural design, interactive educational displays, a 600kW solar panel array and NYC’s first commercial-scale wind turbine.

The Untapped Cities Behind the Scenes NYC Tour Series is produced in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to provide special access to some of the city’s most exciting development projects.

Here is an aerial picture of the SIMS recycling facility:

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Check out more Untapped Cities Behind the Scenes tours.

carlos davidPhoto via Friends of the High Line/Carlos David

In the hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” Aaron Burr says “There’s nothing like summer in the city,” and he was definitely right. Summer in New York City is full of activities for people with a range of interests, and Untapped Cities has curated the perfect list for you. Here are the top ten events happening in New York City from July 18th to the 24th.

Monday, July 18th

Outdoor movies are a summer staple in New York City and the city’s parks across the five boroughs are host to some of the best outdoor film festivals. On July 18th, there will be a screening of “The Omen” at the HBO Bryant Park Film FestivalThis 1976 film stars Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as Robert and Katherine Thorne. The couple lives in London with their son Damien, but they are soon surrounded by an unfortunate series of deaths. Is their son to blame? The screening is presented by Bank of America and is free to the public. The movie starts at around 8 or 9 pm, but the lawn opens at 5 for laying out blankets and picnicking. For more information and to see the full list of movies playing this summer, visit bryantpark.com/plan-your-visit/filmfestival.html.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park annual literature series Books Beneath the Bridge continues on July 18 on the Granite Prospect Steps. For six weeks, an author representing local, independent bookstores in Brooklyn will read excerpts from their works and participate in a Q&A and book signing. This week’s installment of Books Beneath the Bridge features authors representing WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. At 7 pm, author Emma Straub and Rumaan Alam will present their respective novels “Modern Lovers” and “Rich and Pretty.” This event is free and open to the public. For a full list of authors participating in this series, visit brooklynbridgepark.org/event-series/books-beneath-the-bridge.

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