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Perpetual complaints about New York City’s transportation system are a significant part of New Yorkers’ love-hate relationship with the city. With Mayor de Blasio’s endorsement of the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar plan yesterday, here are five more transportation system plans that may become part of New Yorkers’ daily commute in the near future, and hopefully not part of their daily rant. (more…)

US Capitol Hill Subway System-Underground-Senate-Russell Senate Office Building-Wicker Seat Car-5

On a recent visit to Washington D.C., we had the opportunity to extensively check out the United States Capitol Subway System, one of the most unique in the world. The exclusive transit system is not exactly open to the public unless you’re a member of Congress or a staffer on Capitol Hill. It’s also one of the world’s shortest – the portion between the Senate to the Russell Senate Office Building is about 1000 feet and takes less than a minute. Riding US Capitol Subway system is mundane operating procedure for Capitol Hill employees, but a fascinating find for the lay people. 

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R211-MTA-Open Gangway-Subway Car-Rendering-NYC-4Via MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting, January 2016. Renderings are from 2013.

There’s been a lot of excitement in the transit world about New York City’s open gangway subway cars, though the MTA is only purchasing 10 prototypes, at a cost of $52 million, according to its Capital Plan. The aim, as can be expected, is to increase capacity of the entire subway train allowing passengers to ride in the gangway between cars, like the articulated buses already on the road. As international travelers and transit buffs know, open gangway cars are already in active use in many transit systems around the world like certain lines in Paris, Toronto and London. And as Ben Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas reports, not only does it increase capacity by 8-10% per car, its also a safer design. How many times have you seen people open the doors between cars? It would also limit isolation of cars.

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A few years ago, we were given the chance to roam and photograph the TWA Flight Center with nobody in it (except our guide from the Port Authority and a security guard), in a push from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to convert the former terminal into a hotel. We’ve been excited to be part of that conversation, and the plans for the 505-room hotel by MCR Developments (the team behind the High Line Hotel) are now in public review stage. Great Big Story (h/t Curbed NY) also recently visited the TWA Flight Center to get a video of the interior.

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World Wide Subway Map-Art Code-Data-NYC-4

Inspired by architect Constant Nieuwenhuys‘ 1959 “New Babylon” collage that imagined a globe of interconnected, borderless cities, New York City-based collective ArtCodeData has created one about transit – combining all 214 subway systems into a single map. The root of the idea is conceptual, as ArtCodeData writes in a successful Kickstarter campaign, “The inner life of cities is made of their subways. What would happened if all the lines in the world would be reunited in a single system. Since the tube is the veins and circulatory system of the ‘animal-city’ if we gather all those possibilities, we could achieve a total circulatory entity?”

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In 2015, we hosted over 10 sold-out experiences of the original Untapped Cities-developed tour, The Remnants of Penn Station in partnership with The Eternal Space, a play about an untold story of the destruction of New York City’s famous transportation hub. Led by Justin Rivers, playwright of The Eternal Space, the tour covers the past, present and future plans for Penn Station, accompanying a hunt for the numerous remaining pieces of the grand McKim, Mead & White station that are hidden in plain sight. Our 2016 tour comes with new remnant discoveries and a special reproduction ticket for each guest of the first commuter ride into Penn Station on September 2nd, 1910, months before the public opening.

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