newton-creeek-exxon-mobil-brooklyn-nyc-untapped-cities-shervinImage via Wikimedia Commons by GK tramrunner

While most New Yorkers are familiar with the Gowanus Canal – the pollution, and the ongoing discussions concerning its cleanup efforts – less are aware of the equally (if not more) polluted Newtown Creek. Located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this three-and-a-half-mile-long estuary used to be one of the most heavily used waterways in the country, making it one of the most polluted as well. In fact, the creek is the site of one of the largest oil spills in U.S history – the culmination of decades of oil leakage. The creek is currently undergoing cleanup efforts after it received a Superfund from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010. As the clean up efforts continue, EPA contractors are sure to dig up some interesting, and potentially disturbing, facts from the creek’s past.

In the meantime, here’s our own list of secrets about Newtown Creek:



Next week’s events include a German concert at Carnegie Hall, a talk about Penn Station at the New York Transit Museum and historical walking tours of Eldridge Street and Astoria/Long Island City.

Monday, October 24th

Start your week off with a German concert, featuring the award-winning KlangVerwaltung orchestra with the Chorgemeinschaft Neubeuern Chorus performing Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Magnificat. The event will take place at Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $12.50.

From October 24th to the 29th, the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) will screen creative shows, and host a variety of other scheduled events including educational panels, premieres and seminars for artists. Reserve tickets for select events here


Aerial view of Rikers Island. Image via Wikimedia Commons: U.S. Geological Survey

Rikers IslandNew York City’s main jail complex (and the island it sits on), is situated on the East River, between Queens and the Bronx. As one of the largest correctional institutions in the world, the facility is comprised of 10 jails which have a total capacity of nearly 17,000 people – although daily numbers are between 7000 and 9000 .In fact, it has been referred to as the “World’s Largest Penal Colony.” As a jail however, stays are one year or shorter, with a large portion of detainees who can’t afford bail simply awaiting hearings and trials. 60,000 people men and women return home from Rikers Island each year.

For some time, Rikers Island has peaked our interests; so, in 2010, when someone on the Untapped Cities team officially received access inside, we made sure to document the experience as we learned about its secrets hidden beyond the ID checkpoints and X-ray scanners of the facility.



Halloween is just two weeks away and there are plenty of unique ways to celebrate in New York City. Instead of wasting your night indoors, peeking through the blinds and fending off hungry trick-or-treaters, head to an extravagant masquerade, solve a murder mystery game or participate in an immersive film experience in Brooklyn. Here’s our list of Untapped Halloween events for this year.


alley-pond-park-queens-nyc-untapped-citiesPhoto via NYC Parks

As a consequence of city-living, locals become accustomed to crowded subway cars and the constant lack of personal space. The congested nature of New York City is enough to turn any person into a grumpy urbanite, but spacious green space does exist if you know where to look.

Alley Pond Park, spanning over 655 acres, is one such refuge. As the second largest park in Queens, it provides enough breathing room for city-folk to freely stretch their arms without accidentally ramming their fists into adjacent bystanders. What more could someone ask for?


throgs-neck-bridge-secrets-queens-bronx-peregrine-falcons-nycThe Throgs Neck Bridge with a Peregrine falcon overhead. Photo via Flickr by MTA.

Since it first opened to traffic in 1961, the Throgs Neck Bridge has served as a vital link between the Bronx and Queens. Today, amidst all the congestion so characteristic to New York City, the span helps carry over 100,000 vehicles to and from their destinations every day. It might not be the most aesthetic bridge, like the Bronx-Whitestone, located two miles to the west, but it’s still has a place in the hearts of many New Yorkers who would otherwise be twiddling their thumbs on the Triborough or the Whitestone.