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Ellis Island-Southside-Landfill-NYC-NJ-Immigrant-Aerial ViewImage via Michelle Henry 

On a tour of the abandoned south side hospitals on Ellis Island to track down the work of artist JR, National Park Service Ranger Mandy Edgecombe gave us lots of fun facts about the island most commonly associated with immigration.

1. Ellis Island used to be privately owned

The owner of Ellis Island, which he called Oyster Island, was Samuel Ellis. In 1785, he tried to sell it and even advertised it as a “pleasant situated island” in Loudon’s New York-Packet but there were no bites. The city leased the island for military purposes starting in 1794, upon the death of Ellis and buys it from the family in 1808 for $10,000.

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The holidays are upon us, which means you are probably stressing out over what gifts to get your parents, kids, life partners and not to mention the office Secret Santa, which you joined against your better judgement. Well put your mind at ease dear reader; we here at Untapped have a selection of awesome items for that one person spending their first Holidays in NYC or for all of us who love this crazy, wonderful city of ours and want to have just another little piece of it in our lives.

And just for Untapped Cities readers, use code UNTAPPED22 for first free delivery of your gifts via Parcel, the first service to facilitate off-hours package deliveries in NYC.

1. Adopt-a-Building at the Queens Museum

Queens Museum-Adopt A Building-Flushing-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via The Queens Museum

You may not be able to get your partner the apartment or house of their dreams here in NYC, but the Queens Museum can get you the next best thing. A donation to the museum can get you a deed to one of the many buildings or commercial estates inside the enormous and glorious model of the city housed in the museum. With adopting a building you may provide the museum with a message that will be placed on the museums website.  (more…)

White Horse Tavern-Greenwich Village-NYC

Where do you go if you’re a starving artist in New York City? You can’t just sit in your apartment being creative, because your apartment will be the size of an elevator and will only have one never-cleaned window that looks on to a dark air shaft. So you need to get outside and throw yourself into the arms of the city. You’ll spend a lot of time wandering the streets thinking of ways to make money by selling your art…or by selling anything.

Eventually, you’ll have to spend your dwindling savings on food. You obviously can’t cook in the apartment; your ‘kitchen’ is in the living room and comprises a dirty microwave with a frayed flex, an A4-sized sink, and absolutely no preparation surfaces. You do not want to chop onions on that floor.

Here is a list of places where you can get cheap food and drink, as well as hang out at for protracted periods enjoying someone else’s heating/air-con, while you wonder what the hell you’re doing with your life.

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Brooklyn Bridge-NYC-Benjamin Waldman-Untapped Cities

A walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York City’s most popular past times for tourists and residents alike. It’s hard not to be amazed by the granite and limestone structure, now 131 years old. But beyond its stately exterior lie many secrets. So the next time you find yourself at the bridge, remember back to these secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Thanksgiving Parade NYC-Vintage Photo-Hot Dog

At Untapped Cities, we are getting excited for the holiday season. Check out some unique Christmas tree displays, your favorite anime movie on the big screen, or an autumn wander with an artist through the Lower East Side.

Monday, November 24th

Visit the Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History featuring 800 hand-folded paper models created by local, national, and international origami artists. The tree will be on display from November 24th to January 11th, 2015. Check out more Christmas trees in our 7 Alternatives to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

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horse-carriage-nyc-untappedImage via Library of Congress

After noticing how many “fake” mews there are around New York, we decided to look into actual mews that have been preserved from the 19th century. Before the automobile, when the only way to get around was on a horse or being draw by one in a carriage, horses inhabited the city and actually played a huge role in its functioning. These valuable horses needed stables where they could rest and be cared for, so owners bought land and built rows of stables and carriage houses–also known as mews.

When the automobile took over and the mews were no longer needed many of these rows were destroyed, but thankfully some were converted for residential or commercial purposes. Converted mews and carriage houses that have been carefully preserved give us a glimpse into the past; a New York lost to the modern age. Here we share 9 of NYC’s remaining mews.

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