David Byrne Bike Rack “The Old Times Square” on 44th Street and 7th Aveue
This awesome bike rack wasn’t actually inspired by Betty Boop, but we like the alliteration of Betty Boop Bike Rack. It’s actually part of a series by artist David Byrne (from the Talking Heads) in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation and Pace Gallery. As an avid cyclist, David was invited to join a city design competition for bike racks and later submitted his own designs which the city agreed to install.
It’s always exciting for us at Untapped to see the passionate work of residents get the spotlight. Michael Perlman, chair of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, is one of those New Yorkers who has taken his fascination for urban quirks and history towards a greater mission–in his case, preservation. Last week, Michael’s work saving the diners of New York City was featured a piece by Eric Jaffe in The Atlantic Cities, chronicling his (often successful) quest to find buyers for iconic diners like the Moondance and Cheyenne diners. He’s also been trying to save the Empire Diner in Chelsea and the abandoned Lost Diner/Lunchbox Diner on West Street.
Ellis Island Southside Hospital
We love hearing from readers in our Untapped Mailbag, especially when they have questions like, “Where can I film a TV show with an apocalypse v. man story line?” In our answer, here’s a sampling of the spots we suggested:
Ellis Island Southside Hospitals: There isn’t much creepier than an abandoned hospital. This one has old incinerators, medicinal bottles, surgical wards and more.
Fort Totten: This Civil War fort is particularly apocalyptic for the inscriptions soldiers carved into the walls while stationed here.
In 1858, the City of New York held a design competition for Central Park. The winning plan, by Frederic Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, was named ‘the Greensward Plan’ and featured an English style landscape with meadows, lakes, hills, winding pedestrian paths, and many trees to block the view of city buildings.
Over the years, the park has evolved from the original plan due to changing administrations and in response to the changing needs of New Yorkers. In this post, we look at some quirky and surprising details in the park that were not a part of the original Greensward Plan, yet have become a part of its history and character.
Pictured above is Belvedere Castle which was built to overlook the rectangular Croton Reservoir. In 1931, the reservoir was drained and the site developed into today’s Great Lawn.
Where to find it: Mid-Park from 79th to 85th Street. (more…)
Image via New York Insolite Secréte
We previously covered Fraunces Tavern on Pearl Street, where George Washington gave his farewell address in 1783, in our roundup of Presidential Haunts in New York City. But did you know Fraunces Tavern is also home to one of George Washington’s teeth and a lock of his hair? Washington had one tooth left when he was sworn in as the first President of the United States, and this solitary tooth was holding together a set of dentures made of cow’s tooth, gold, Washington’s teeth and ivory of a hippopotamus. (Contrary to a popular misconception that he had wooden dentures).
Yesterday The Atlantic Cities and Curbed broke the news of a Watertower Speakeasy in Chelsea–that’s right, a speakeasy IN a watertower. For urban buffs, this is probably the ultimate New York experience, up close and personal inside those ubiquitous characters of the city skyline. The six-week event was produced by N.D. Austin under the organization The Night Heron. Austin is also involved with Wanderlust Projects, an urban exploration group partnered with our friends at Atlas Obscura.
In true speakeasy style, invitations were only had through a previous attendee (similar to another favorite event of ours, The Dîner en Blanc), passed on to new attendees through the gift of a pocket watch. Guests entered into the space via a trap door cut into the watertower and a stage was built inside. The series was deliberately not held in Brooklyn, to keep the “hipster quotient” low, aiming for attendees of a variety of backgrounds and economic levels, mixing high-profile celebs with “struggling artists in threadbare jackets.”
Sadly, the watertower is now closed but you can sign up for the lists of both The Night Heron and Wanderlust Projects to stay in the loop for future events.
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.