Every time we go through Columbus Circle subway station, we wonder about those big patches of black tar-like substance that just keep growing on the subway platforms. Last year, when there wasn’t quite as much, and we thought in passing it might be just a really popular place to throw gum. But this time, the more we poked around the more we saw that the stuff was just all over the place. And, some of it was fresh! Looking up, we could see it dripping from the beams.
Digging into it, lo and behold, Slate dug into this bizarre issue back in May. Turns out it is indeed tar or rather, mastic, as Branko Kleva, assistant chief of the Division of Stations explains. The MTA uses mastic to seal up and waterproof subway infrastructure but when it gets hot, the stuff starts dripping down. Incidentally, tar was also used to black out the beautiful skylights of the now-decommissioned City Hall Subway Station during WWII.
Brooklyn’s Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish spiritual center. Photo: Andrea Robbins and Max Beacher
The New York Observer has a remarkable story about a particular building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, home to the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish spiritual center that has doubles in more than a dozen places around the world. Located at 770 Eastern Parkway, it’s an example of a building that holds such a strong symbolic hold that the followers of this religious group have replicated it as they’ve spread. The original building is the de facto headquarters for the Lubavitch and was once the workplace of Grand Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Bowery, photo by Nathan Kensinger
Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today:
Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the TV show Friends premiered? We still think that some people who visit New York City wander around looking for Central Perk, the iconic corner coffee shop hangout. They might even have dinner at Little Owl, at the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street where the fictional cafe was located.
In honor of the 20th anniversary, Warner Bros. and Eight O’Clock Coffee are installing a pop-up Central Perk in SoHo for two days. Gothamist has pointed out the noticeable lack of rugs in the recreation, while we think the rather dreary Second-Life looking renderings mostly indicate a cafe full of stuff to buy, which isn’t surprising given that Warner Bros. Consumer Products is a partner in the event.
Image by Peter Dougherty via NYCSubway.org
We’ve mentioned the abandoned level below Times Square before in our piece about abandoned subway levels and platforms in New York City. But this is the first time we’re featuring some images of what it looked like when it was operating and after some years of abandonment.
Image via Place Matters. Photo by Ariel Rosenblum
Hidden on the second floor of an East Harlem sanitation garage lies one of New York City’s most fascinating art galleries. This carefully curated assortment of oddities is not the work of any acclaimed art collector though. Instead, this breath-taking collection of odds and ends, named “The Treasures in the Trash Museum,” was compiled by a sanitation worker over the course of 33 years on the job. In other words, this is a museum full of trash.