New York City is known for its skyscrapers and industrial landscape. But it’s also the prime location to see the naturally occurring phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge. Twice a year, in June and July, the sun lines up perfectly with Manhattan’s East-West numbered streets and creates a cinematic spectacle. On Tuesday, July 12, the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium is hosting a special one-night event to explain the history and astronomy behind Manhattanhenge. Before gathering on the city streets, join astrophysicist Jackie Faherty at 7 pm for a special presentation, followed by a group viewing on 79th Street.


Rediscovering the Forgotten History of Little Syria, NYC_exhibit 4_NYC_Untapped CitiesImage via New York City Department of Records

By Abdessamad Kharmaj
Community Associate at NYC Department of Records

In recent years, “Syria” and “Syrians” have become associated with destroyed houses, refugees, war crimes, and terror. Luckily, this was not the case at the end of the 19th century in New York City, where immigrants from the Middle East established the first vibrant and productive community of Arab Americans in the United States called “Little Syria.”


Jameco Exchange-Jamaica Queens-NYCPhoto courtesy of No Longer Empty/Whitney Browne

Summertime in New York may be sweltering and miserable at times, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your days at home! Here is a list of New York City events from July 11th to the 17th curated by Untapped Cities. Check out the Manhattanhenge phenomenon at sunset or see the Jameco Exchange exhibit before it’s gone.

Monday, July 11th

Manhattanhenge is a term famously coined by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, referring to the phenomenon when the sun is aligned with the grid pattern of Manhattan’s streets. At 8:20 pm, you’ll be able to view the full sun on the horizon from any of Manhattan’s cross streets. But some of the best viewing spots include 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets. Secure your spot as early as possible before the crowds get too big!

In the “technology age” when different gadgets are created at rapid speed, it’s nice to slow down and read a book – or in other cases, have a book read to you. Books Beneath the Bridge is a yearly event that has brought people together in the name of the written word since 2012. Authors representing some of Brooklyn’s best independent bookstores will read excerpts from their own works. This year’s event kicks off at 7 pm on the Granite Prospect Steps. The first reading of the season is from Heather Wolf’s new book ‘Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront.’ Books Beneath the Bridge happens every Monday through August 15. Check out the full list of upcoming events.


Ridgewood Reservoir-Brooklyn-Queens-NYC-Untapped Cities_7

On July 31st, join Untapped Cities and the non-profit NYC H20 on a special tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir, built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water. The system became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950s and was decommissioned in the 1980s. Since then, nature has taken its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin, forming 50+ acres of a natural oasis on the border of Brooklyn and Queens.

The tour is led by Matt Malina, the director and founder of NYC H20. NYC H2O’s mission is to educate and inspire New York’s citizenry about its incredible water system. The remnants of the Ridgewood Reservoir experiment can still be seen within Highland Park, land purchased in 1891 to protect Brooklyn’s water system. A few years ago, walking paths were installed around the basins, two of which have been drained. Along this walk, you will discover the brick foundations that supported the walls of the reservoir and a former gatehouse. You can also find the abandoned force tubes that once pumped water from various collections points up into the reservoir.



We’ve got an exciting month ahead for tours and events – and are excited to reveal new tours for August soon! Here’s what we have in store for you this month, ranging from an exclusive visit into the Gilded Age mansion that houses the Irish Historical Society and a tour of the West Village’s disappearing neon signs to our classic and most popular tours like the VIP tour of the Woolworth Building, the Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam tour, and our wine tasting and tour at Rooftop Reds.

Here’s what’s coming up:


Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center-Manhattan-NYCPhoto via Facebook/Midsummer Night Swing

Here are the top ten events happening in New York City from July 4th to the 10th, 2016. Choose from Broadway hits at Bryant Park, a French street fair, a kite festival at Socrates Sculpture Park and more.

Monday, July 4th

The 4th of July in New York City brings to mind a plethora of grilled food, refreshing drinks and the Macy’s Fourth of July FireworksThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the Macy’s tradition, which will feature an impressive display over the East River. There are a number of great viewing spots around the city, including locations around the FDR Drive, Center Boulevard and Vietnam Memorial Park which are official viewing spots listed on the Macy’s website. Some great unofficial viewing options are Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. See a full list of official and unofficial viewing spots and also spots that are wheelchair accessible. The fireworks start at 9:25 pm and will run for approximately 25 minutes. Be sure to secure your spot early!