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Pneumatic Coffee Shop Roasting Plant-NYC-Untapped Cities-Jinwoo Chong-5

Mike Caswell, founder of NYC’s Roasting Plant coffee shops, has an engineering degree. To be completely honest, there isn’t any away he couldn’t have an engineering degree, judging from the system of vacuum-aided pneumatic tubes that automatically sort, roast, and transport a variety of coffee beans around the space of his two Manhattan stores. He calls the whole setup Javabot, the roasting component of which is visible through the store’s window and is frequently Instagram-ed by passersby.

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Essex Street Market top 8 food finds-NYC-Untapped Cities-Jinwoo Chong-8

Amid the hustle and bustle of New York’s Lower East Side is a marketplace on Essex Street with a bustle of its own. The 75-year-old Essex Street Market was built in the height of the 1940s by Fiorello Laguardia to clear away the streets and sidewalks that had become crowded with vendors and merchants. Today, it is a crossroads of history and culture, comprising a diverse array of stands, shops, and restaurants.

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Theodore Roosevelt Park is one of several New Taste beneficiaries.

Theodore Roosevelt Park is one of several New Taste of the Upper West Side beneficiaries.

How good are Upper West Side restaurants? Good, abundant, and public-spirited enough to support a three-evening annual food festival, New Taste of the Upper West Side, which opened with a soirée Wednesday night at the Museum of Natural History.

Run by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, New Taste is also a fundraiser—the soirée donates its proceeds to Theodore Roosevelt Park and the three evenings support the BID’s sustainable landscaping of West Side streets, as well as Wellness in the Schools, Greenhouse Classroom, and CityMeals-on-Wheels. Participating restaurants and chefs donate their time, food, wine, cocktails, and beverages.

Here, we’ve highlighted of a few of our local restaurants and chefs participating in New Taste of the Upper West Side, starting at the BID’s southern boundary, Columbus Circle.

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Beauty Bar-NYC-14th Street-Feminist Nails

One of Manhattan’s coolest vintage bars has kicked off a new a new fashion craze–the “feminist” manicure. Beauty Bar is a real 1950s beauty salon on 14th Street–complete with chrome-domed hairdryers–with a bar inside it, and it’s been giving $10 manicures with free cocktails for years. But recently, one of its manicurists decided to give her clients something to laugh about at their boring day jobs by painting their middle fingers an alternate color, or leaving it nude, for what she calls the ‘feminist manicure’.

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Untapped Cities-NYC-Bushwick-Heritage Radio NetworkImage via Drive The District

The Heritage Radio Network, a non-profit organization that focuses entirely on food cultue, records and has its offices inside recycled shipping containers in the backyard of Roberta’s pizza in Bushwick. According to Forbes, we learned that the network releases “40 shows a week” and has “a log of 7,000 episodes.” The network is live Monday through Thursday, and features founder Patrick Martins  conversating with both professionals and enthusiasts about “archiving, protecting, and advancing” the conversation of food in America. (more…)

Vivonne supper club NYC Untapped Cities guests at table

When it comes to dining in New York City, there are few experiences more intimate than the supper club—a format we’ve long been intrigued by. We’ve been to Ai’s Japanese supper club in a Williamsburg loft with EatWith, a Togolese dinner in a Bed-Stuy bodega, and a dinner party made with foraged food in a dumpster, among others. The new supper club Vivonne has a similar goal—to bring likeminded people together over a leisurely meal—but a caveat: it’s members-only. We attended the inaugural dinner on Tuesday, April 28 to see what it was all about.  (more…)