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Mayor Gaynor Plan for New Avenue-NYC-5th Avenue-6th Avenue.-2

In May of 1910, the ill-fated New York City mayor, William Jay Gaynor, proposed a new avenue to be added to Manhattan’s street grid that would go between Fifth and Sixth Avenue between 8th Street and 59th Street. While this might seem like a wild idea today, several new avenues were added to the original grid plotted by the Commissioners of New York City, like Lexington Avenue, Madison Avenue, and several thoroughfares uptown, like St. Nicholas Avenue. As a New York Times article reported on May 29th, 1910, the Gaynor’s avenue would be the same width as Fifth Avenue, then at 100 feet.

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Bailystoker Synagogue-Lower East Side-Willett Street-Interior-NYC-003The Bialystoker Synagogue, Lower East Side

On this new encompassing tour on March 27th, being offered by Untapped Cities in partnership with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, guests will visit the stunning Bialystoker Synagogue, normally off-limits to the public and only accessible via our organizations. The landmarked synagogue was built in 1826, originally as the Willett Street Methodist Episcopal Church and is an example of architectural reuse in New York City from church to place of worship for the Jewish community. It is one of only four early-19th century fieldstone religious buildings surviving from the late Federal period in Lower ManhattanIn addition to its architecture, the building has its fair share of secrets, which will be shared on this tour.

On this tour, you will also walk the streets of Historic East Broadway, viewing historical sites like the Henry Street Settlement, The Forward Building, Seward Park, Straus Square and more. We will stop at the exterior of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol – once home to the first and largest Russian Jewish Orthodox congregation in the United States – and tour a shteibl, a one room house of prayer. You will see where immigrants went to shul, pray, and how a new generation is carrying on these traditions.

The tour is on March 27th, starting at 1:45pm, and will last until 4:15pm. Tickets are limited:

Next, discover more Behind the Scenes Untapped Cities tours.

1-Looking Up 1-28-16 - Version 2Thomas Friedman’s ‘Looking Up’ on Park Avenue

In New York City, the month of February will usher in thoughtful exhibits and installations, both indoor and outdoor, highlighting the way we live and work. Technology and the digital arts have arrived with a full-force of exhibits, translating our inner hard-drives into colorful patterns of our everyday web-lives. They are joined by a view of the spaces we live and work in, from our urban boxes to our loft-like live/work spaces.

The Guggenheim Museum will walk hand-in-hand with Times Square Arts and The Public Art Fund to show us How To Work Better.  Life as seen through our artistic endeavors can shine a light on global issues that touch us all and it can present in images conditions in other parts of our world, both past and present. In the end, we are all Looking Up at the same sky, even if not from Park Avenue.

Without further ado, 18 exhibits to check out in February: (more…)

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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From the creative minds of Mark and Jay Duplass is a new animated show, Animals, on HBO premiering on February 5th, showing “unexpected tales of urban life” from the perspective of city animals. It seems hilarious already, but we’re particularly excited because the show is clearly set in New York City. Opening with a cat on a classic fire escape landing, the show goes into the life of the Central Park Horse carriages, the cockroaches in the subway, socializing in a dog park, and more. City shots in the trailer include an aerial of Central Park (albeit much squashed), the third section of the High Line pre conversion, the Queensboro Bridge and tramway, and the elevated train in what looks to be Long Island City.

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Last week, New Yorkers were sad to hear that New York City’s famous Ziegfeld Theater is finally closing over the next few weeks for financial reasons. Rumors of its closing have circulated for years in recent times, and last week, news that the theater would officially close and be replaced by one of the largest ballrooms in New York City came out. With its plush red walls, luxurious gold curtains and huge screen, the Ziegfeld Theater, located on West 54th street, hosted many important events and has had countless celebrities pass through its doors. Thus, before this opulent, iconic venue finally closes, here are ten secrets you should know about the Ziegfeld Theater.

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