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We previously covered the history of the Level Club, a former masonic clubhouse and hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan–but recently Scouting New York got some great photographs of the lobby. The cornerstone was laid in 1925, but by 1930, saddled with a mortgage of $2.2 million, the opulent 16-story hotel went into foreclosure. But the lofty goals of the Level Club seemed justified in the decade leading up to the Great Depression. Founded with just 22 members in 1920, in less than five years it had a membership of over 5,000 masons including then-United States President Warren G. Harding.


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The 103-year old Oreo cookie is America’s favorite, but like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woody Allen, and Billy Joel, just to name a few, it was also born in New York. Chelsea, to be exact, at Nabisco‘s former New York factory and headquarters. The building is now a popular high-end eatery and artisanal cheese mecca known as the Chelsea Market, but in the early 20th century, served a very different purpose.


Bishop Falls-Lost Town-Ashokan Reservoir-Catskill Aqueduct-NYC Drinking Water-Drowned TownsBishop Falls, one of the lost towns in the Ashkoan Reservoir. Image via Lost Towns of the Hudson Valley

New York City has some of the best drinking water in the country, but it didn’t come without a price. Most are familiar with the Croton Aqueduct, the first to bring fresh water to the city in 1842–updated in 1890. The Catskill Aqueduct was next (a push after Brooklyn was incorporated into the City of New York), built between 1917 and 1924, bringing 40% of New York City’s water from a series of reservoirs 163 miles from upstate New York. What New Yorkers may not know is that the six reservoirs of the Catskill Aqueduct, including Ashokan Reservoir which is New York City’s largest, were formed by flooding a dozen towns.


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

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Stick to Youtube for music videos and funny cats. This Vimeo project is fairly old, but never fails to amaze us with its simplicity. This is ‘Conductor,’ by artist and videographer Alexander Chen.


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Last night, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Greenwich Village’s Christopher Street hosted one of the last events for the 2015 Chelsea Music Festival, a celebration of Finnish and Hungarian art, culture, music, and food, now in its 6th season. The event, titled ‘Sibelius and Ida’ was a musical retelling of the relationship between famed Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and one of the classical singers he composed a number of pieces for, Ida Eckman.