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The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in New York City, a tourist stop for 3 to 4+ million visitors a year. But as we’ve shown here at Untapped Cities, even tourist destinations like Grand Central Terminal and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have their secrets. Here, we recount 10 secrets (and fun facts) of the Empire State Building.

1. There’s a Decommissioned 103rd Floor Observation Deck

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capitale-bowery-nyc-untapped
Image via Before Last Call

New Year’s Eve in New York City is one of those polarizing events for residents. Many will proclaim to hate it, which is why we’ve rounded up a list of alternative New Year’s Eve plans to ring in 2015 that are a step above the house party (which we also love, don’t get us wrong).

Manhattan

1. Capitale on the Bowery. In Stanford White’s 1893 Beaux Arts 40,000 square foot party wonderland, you’ll find two ballrooms, three VIP rooms, six hours of open bar, a full buffet, and a live DJ. Celebrate a glamorous New Year from 8 pm-3 am. 130 Bowery. $99.

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Oh you thought it was over? That after our list of the Top 10 NYC Street Art Graffiti Pieces of 2014, we had nothing more to say about art this year? Well this is the season of giving and we have one more heavily researched and debated list for you. Not since the early days of graffiti has art in New York City been more mobile. These traveling masterpieces move around the streets and highways of the city, popping up in every borough, making those in the know appreciate seeing a work of art minus the travel time. From pieces from some of the best NYC artists to pieces that will take you back in time, these are the top 10 Graffiti trucks of 2014.

10. Nerds – Turtle Power

Nerds-Untapped Cities-Art-Graffiti Trucks-Trucks-TMNT-Art-NYCNerds (LFader via Instagram)

The Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie SUCKED! Like we wouldn’t wish this on our worst enemy kind of suck. Honestly, there has never really been a good Ninja Turtles movie (sorry), but for us who remember the awesome early 90s cartoon and classic video games (Turtles in Time!), we always have hope that the “world’s most fearsome fighting team” will be in something that is watchable. Until that time, let us all appreciate this awesome truck by graff artist Nerds. (more…)

Saks-Holiday-Window-Display-Department-Store-Google-Business-View-Google-Maps-Street-View-NYCOnce Upon a Time at Saks Fifth Avenue

Just a couple weeks ago, we reported that you could now get inside Gramercy Park via Google Maps. Now, you can the holiday department store window displays in New York City from your own home too, or wherever you may be on holiday this week. As reported by the New York Observer, Google Business View has images of Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Bloomingdales. We’ve got all the windows here for you to look at quickly. First up, “Once Upon a Time” at Saks combining New York City scenes with fairy tale:

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William Shakespeare is not only one of the most widely read English authors, but also one of the most easily recognizable, with his beard, mustache, and oblong shaped head. As a result, he has been commemorated and memorialized throughout New York City. Below, we explore some of those many places where you can find references to the Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

1. Shakespeare Garden, Central Park

Shakespeare's Garden Central Park-NYCImage via Wikimedia by Ingfbruno

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New York City’s prison population is the lowest it has been in 10 years–10,923 inmates as of September 2014. But still, an ongoing question for the NYC Department of Corrections is where to house the inmates in a city as dense as New York. It might be surprising to some that the city’s prisons are generally, right among us–some look just like the apartment buildings next door except for some barbed wire windows. Prisons used to be organized along district lines, particularly before the 1898 consolidation of the five boroughs. They were attached to or near the courts and were little more than holding cells.

Here below are 15 of NYC’s former prisons, many which are still standing:

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