In February 1881, Thomas Alva Edison left his workbench in Menlo Park, New Jersey behind for New York City with the challenge of not only bringing electric light to lower Manhattan, but also to prove that his light could be applied to practical use. This was a business strategem more than a scientific one, as explained by the new PBS American Experience documentary “Edison” that premieres next Tuesday, January 27th. We’ve got an exclusive clip from the episode, which shows the spots Edison while pushing the lightbulb “to its full realization.”
Here are three spots in New York City that Edison worked in and left his mark:
Underwest Donuts, a boutique donut shop which opened in December 2014 inside the 24-hour West Side Highway Car Wash, embodies in one swoop the evolving demographics and urban landscape of the far West Side in Hell’s Kitchen. New condos are springing up designed by the world’s starchitects, Hell’s Kitchen is expanding its reputation as a foodie destination by attracting high-end, local purveyors to places like Gotham West Market, and tourists are wandering over from the Intrepid, the cruise terminal and the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.
Yet, there’s nothing fancy about the entrance to Underwest Donuts, where the cars first get sudsed up just after the drivers drop them off. To pay for their car wash, drivers have to first walk a long hallway–on one side they can see their car getting washed through, first up on the other side is the counter for Underwest Donuts, named after the nickname of the West Side Highway when it was ran elevated above the car wash.
When was the last time you had a home cooked Togolese dinner inside a bodega after hours with a group of strangers and a DJ? Probably never. The “WOÉZÕ Comfort” meal is one of the offerings on Feastly, an online platform that aims to reintroduce the home cooked meal, connecting adventurous eaters with local cooks. The WOÉZÕ dinner (pronounced “way-zoh,” cooked by Peace Corps alum Mitch Bloom, takes place monthly in Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local, a grocery store run by neighborhood couple Dylan Ricards and Sheila Akbar. The produce gets pushed to the side and a long communal table is set up just in front of the door.
The Smith-9th Street Bridge as “Spectrum II” from George Del Barrio, Vanderbilt Republic
From tonight until January 23rd, the Smith-9th Street bridge transforms from its typical concrete structure to a background of colorful pattern. A half-mile wide and 90-feet tall “photographic monument” drenches the bridge as George Del Barrio, of creative agency Vanderbilt Republic, and San Francisco-based Colin Bowring, “Spectrum II” project a beam of lights on the concrete bridge.
2015 Idiotarod will take place on Saturday
Starting this week, thanks to Untapped Cities reader feedback, the weekly events column will now publish on Fridays for the upcoming week to help you pick out some of the most exciting events for the next week. This week, check out events celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., the return of the Idiotarod, and many great NYC-oriented events.
Monday, January 19th
At the Apollo Theater with WNYC at 3pm, “Hear Our Voices, Count Our Votes: MLK’s March Continues,” Brian Lehrer of WNYC and Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC co-host this event with Congressman Charles Rangel, Dante Berry, the deputy director of Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, urban revitalization strategist Majora Carter, author Daryl Pinckney. RSVP closed but there will be a standby line in person.
Winter has finally arrived in full force, bringing with it great photo opportunities! Hashtag #UntappedCities on Instagram and Twitter if you would like to have one of your photos entered in the running for our weekly “Best Of”column. Also, you can keep an eye on what contributors and readers are checking out by browsing the live feed.