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Untapped Cities-Fort Totten-Anna BrownImage of Fort Totten Park Battery via Flickr by skingld

Every New Yorker should experience the standard Halloween parades in Greenwich Village and Central Park at least once (we supposed), but for those looking for something a little different this October, here are our top picks. And while we’re still awaiting news on whether our favorite event, the Cobble Hill pumpkin impalement by artist Jane Greengold is happening this year, there’s still a lot of alternative, off-the-beaten path activities to choose from.

1. Blackout Haunted House

Blackout_HauntedHouse_NYC_People1

Untapped Cities contributor Luke Kingma passed through the Blackout Haunted House in 2012, and came out completely petrified. At the beginning of the tour , he was asked to sign a waiver allowing “the actors to do (almost) everything short of killing, maiming or abusing you.” He was separated from his friends and went through the house alone, placed in a variety of “traumatizing” scenarios that he states will “make you question why it is you came, and what it is you have (or haven’t) actually done during your stay.” Read his full article here, and get tickets for this year’s house located on 442 East Houston Street.

2. 2014 HallowMEME Costume Party

hallowmeme-anna brown-untapped citiesImage via Brooklyn Based by Kelly Reeves

On Thursday, October 30th at 8:30 pm, the HallowMEME Costume Party will kick off at the Brooklyn Bell House venue. Those attending will dress as their favorite internet memes, with last year’s participants showing up in their interpretations of “Hot Dogs or Legs?,” “Texts from Hillary,” and “Shiba Confessions.” RSVP your spot here.

3. Halloween in the Crypt

bhushan mondkar_Trinity cemetery

The historic crypt underneath the Church of the Intercession has hosted everything from movie shoots to jazz nights, including an exclusive fan concert for the 2012 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. The New York Adventure Club will be returning to the space with a Halloween costume dance party featuring a Roaring ’20s live brass band, unlimited beer and wine, and a costume competition hosted by Reverend Jen of the Troll Museum. Win 2 tickets through our giveaway and buy tickets here.

4. Tompkins Square Park Village Dog Parade

Untapped Cities-Dog Parade-Anna BrownImage via Flickr by Sara Bogush

Hundreds of dogs and their owners came to this event last year to see and be seen in the largest dog costume parade in the world. This year, the fun begins on October 25th at 12:00 pm in Tompkins Square Park. Dress Fido up to compete with other dogs for thousands of dollars in prizes!

5. Fort Totten Park Haunted Lantern Tours

Fort Totten_Matt Lambros_Urban Exploration_Untapped Cities_NYC-5Image by Matt Lambros/After the Final Curtain

Located in Bayside, Queens, the Fort Totten Park is the site of a Civil War era fortress constructed in 1862 for a wide variety of military purposes. By 1974 the military no longer used the space, and beginning in 2005 it opened as a park for the public.  On Friday, October 24th at 6:30 pm, Urban Park Rangers will give lantern-lit tours of the water battery located along the park’s edge. Civil War Captain Robert E. Lee proposed the battery’s construction in 1957 to defend the New York Harbor, and visitors can still see inscriptions soldiers carved in the walls while stationed there. For more historic buildings, check out our articles on The Forts of NYC and 20 Abandoned Places in NYC.

6. Crest Arts 5th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest

Crest Pumpkin-anna brown-untapped citiesImage via Crest Hardware

On Saturday, October 18th, Crest Hardware on 558 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn is hosting a pumpkin carving contest to raise money for its annual art show. Participants enter their best works of pumpkin art between 6:30 and 7 pm for a chance at the prestigious winning title.

7. Dark Disco at 88 Palace

Tiki Disco-Dark Disco-88 Palace-Chinatown-Forsyth-Halloween-NYCPhotograph: Grace Chu

An electro party in a dim sum place in Chinatown? We can assure you that this is where you’ll find us this Halloween. Enter after-hours through the bizarro mini mall under the Manhattan Bridge. In “Tiki Disco, a special Halloween edition, the usual eclectic, top-notch set of dance tunes are promised from DJs Eli Escobar, Andy Pry and Lloydski, with a few spooky jams thrown in for good measure. Tickets here.

8. Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Critical Halloween Costume Contest

Each year the non-profit Storefront for Art and Architecture hosts a costume contest that addresses critical concepts, or
“the most feared ghosts,” in art and architectural production today. This year’s theme will be “I-Relevance,” which according to the Storefront’s website, will ask “artists, architects, writers, and citizens to address the concept of Irrelevance within contemporary culture and contemporary digital platforms.Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young wrote about last year’s competition here. Get your tickets for this year’s competition on the Storefront’s website.

9. Boroughs of the Dead Tours

Image via Boroughs of the Dead

Boroughs of the Dead is a tour company that specializes in New York City’s most occult spaces. For the month of October, tours offered will include Edgar Allen Poe’s West Village, haunted Brooklyn Heights, Ghosts of Broadway and Hells Kitchen, and the secrets of Central Park. Visit the website for the full calendar, and check out our Top 7 Most Haunted Spots of Lower Manhattan. Following our successful joint tours with Boroughs of the Dead this year, we’ll be hosting more events together in 2014. Stay tuned!

10. A Spirited Stroll Through Green-Wood Cemetery

On Sunday, October 26th at 1 pm, historian Jeff Richmond will be giving a “spirited stroll” of the Green-Wood Cemetery in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which serves as the resting place of 560,000 deceased who include Civil War veterans, Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Samuel Morse. The walk will include a tour of the Catacombs, which are normally closed to the public. More photos of the beautiful grounds can be seen here, and check out our article on a map of the cemetery’s vast 478 acres.

Any events that we missed? Contact Anna Brown via her Twitter handle @brooklynbonanza.

Hunters Point South, Long Island City

Today’s most popular articles: 12 Crazy Facts About NYC’s Iconic Ansonia Hotel on the Upper West Side10 Unique and Quirky NYC Subway EntrancesA Look Inside Manhattan’s Masonic Hall: Grand Lodge of New York [Photos]


There are many, many secrets to Grand Central Terminal as you may have read in our ever popular article on the Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central. One we haven’t mentioned before is the access to the famous Tiffany Clock, which is the largest Tiffany clock in the world at 13 feet in diameter. Our Instagram friend, darkcyanide, has been exploring some incredible spaces around New York City and recently shared his visit inside and atop the clock.
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THE KNICKThe Lower East Side was transformed into 1900 NYC. Photo by Mary Cybulski/Cinemax

When Steven Soderbergh retired from directing movies last year he announced that “movies don’t matter anymore.” Fans of the director’s work were stunned. Since 1989 with his first independent feature Sex, Lies and Videotape; Soderbergh has been one of the few directors in cinema who has truly kept audiences guessing his next move. Almost two years into his “retirement” there is no word of Soderbergh returning to the cinema. To some, that might be viewed as a bad sign; Soderbergh, however, has not been laying dormant. On the contrary, since “retiring” he has been working constantly. He became very active on Twitter, in the most Soderbergh-y way possible, making a novella titled GLUE; he has spliced together both versions of Psycho, and, even more bizarrely awesome, he re-edited Spielberg’s Raiders of The Lost Ark, transforming it into a black and white silent film.

He has done all of this, including directing an off-Broadway play, getting into the liquor business and once again finding himself in the director’s chair. Soderbergh’s return to the set was not for a feature, or even for a TV film. Perhaps inspired by the work of Cary Fukunaga on True DetectiveSoderbergh decided to do something similar and direct every episode of a project he come across called The Knick. Soderbergh directs (as well as edits under his pseudonym Mary Anne Bernard ) every episode of the series first season, which follows the life and exploits of Dr. John Tackery, head surgeon of The Knickerbocker Hospital and its staff in 1900 New York City.

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Masonic-hall-grand-lodge-room-nyc-untappedThe Grand Lodge Room

We’ve always been curious about the Freemasons, and even more so about the Grand Lodge of New York situated on a bustling 23rd street in Chelsea. So that we could learn about the the ancient and mysterious fraternal order without joining, we toured their Masonic Hall, home to the Grand Lodge of New York (more formally the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons). Often thought of as a secret society, they actually boast a large flag in the middle of Manhattan and insist “Our big secret is that we have no secrets.” Nevertheless, no one is really sure of what goes on in this grand Masonic Hall unless they’re “in.”

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JR-Untapped Cities-Anna Brown12

Walking the hallways of an abandoned hospital would give anyone shivers. But what if throughout the tour, apparitions from times past unexpectedly appeared in the adjoining rooms, windows, and staircases? We visited the South Side hospital complex on Ellis Island, the site of Unframed, an installation by Parisian street artist JR that opened on October 1st.

Artist JR is known for his large scale photographs in places accessible to the public view, like New York City’s Times Squarethe Pantheon in Paris, and the favelas of Brazil. The hospital site has been off-limits to the public, apart from special visits like our coverage for the 2012 Partners in Preservation campaign. For a short time, it will only be accessible through a  guided “hard-hat” tour.  The tours are capped at 10 people and tickets are sold out thorough November, but tickets are still available into April 2015. So why would JR choose such an exclusive site that requires a hard-won reservation to visit?

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