detail-rko-keiths-theater-queens-nyc-untapped citiesImage via After The Final Curtain

Once upon a time, opulent theaters built for the masses and the elite alike were the main destinations for entertainment. The theaters showed more than movies – it would be an all-day entertainment extravaganza from live music, dance performances, vaudeville, comedy to films. As we wrote in a previous exploration of the Loews Wonder Theatres, the most grand of them all in the New York City area, “in an era before television and with radio just a novelty, Americans could spend upwards of five hours or more in these theaters.”

Many theaters in New York City and New Jersey began as live performance theaters, and when vaudeville was on the decline, conversion into movie theaters became a more profitable option. But maintaining these grand film palaces was expensive and proved difficult to keep operational.

We bring you now 10 movie theaters in the New York City area that have stood abandoned for decades, falling into disarray as they became nothing more than warehouse spaces and retail store fronts.


NYC Jails ViolenceImage via The Atlantic

Here’s what the Untapped Staff is reading in the HQ today:

Today’s Popular Articles

Nevins Street-Abandoned Platform-Art Gallery-Show-Exhibit-Phil America-Subway Station-Brooklyn-NYCPhoto by Phil America

“Getting into this exclusive art gallery could literally kill you,” proclaims the headline of the New York Post article on a guerrilla art exhibit by Phil America located in the abandoned level of the Nevins Street subway station in Brooklyn. Curbed New York got the scoop first with an interview with Phil America, who says the police are already investigating the installation. For us, this is particularly exciting because photographs of the lower level of Nevins Street have been difficult to come by, until now.


Rooftop Reds-Brooklyn Navy Yard-Rooftop-First Commercially Viable Rooftop Vineyard-Urban Vitaculture-Agriculture-NYCCome visit the world’s first rooftop vineyard with us!

The warm weather is giving us lots of ideas here at Untapped Cities, especially for new tours and explorations. Whether you’ve joined us in the past or are new to our exploration community and looking for activities in New York City, we hope to see you in the coming months. All of our tours are also available as private tours, which you can request here.

Here’s what we have in store for May:


SpokenNewspapers-DailyForward-LowerEastSide-UntappedCities-MabelRosenheckThe original home of the Forverts, now the Jewish Daily Forward, on the Lower East Side

Does newspaper have a sound? Is it the rustling of paper? The pop-up ads of the digital world? The short films on the New York Times website? Or might it also be articles and editorials read aloud to old-country parents or to grandmothers and grandfathers that can’t read?

At the turn of the twentieth century, Yiddish newspapers were material documents of life on the Lower East Side. They were guidebooks to old-world communities and to new-world assimilation. They taught immigrants how to be American, but they did so in foreign languages. They tied people together, tied people who didn’t know one another together in the common experience of reading about the day’s affairs. You didn’t have to be face-to-face with your neighbors to feel connected to them.


West-Side-Story-movie-musical-nyc-untapped citiesWest Side Story, members of The Sharks.

Musicals are intimately connected with New York City. Though many Broadway shows are set in far off places or fantastic lands, many have been set here, in our own backyard. Beginning with On the Town, some of these New York set musicals have used the City to provide a realistic backdrop to their filmed versions. (more…)