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It looks like an abandoned building today, but at the corner of Surf Avenue and Jones Walk, a boarded up wooden clapboard house is all that remains of the oldest building on Coney Island. Built sometime in the early to mid 1880s by Henry Grashorn, the Grashorn Building is a Victorian style building with a mansard roof that was allegedly built originally as a hotel. Grashorn quickly transformed it into a hardware store around 1898 and was responsible for furnishing the nuts and bolts for the major amusement parks on Coney Island–Luna Park, Steeplechase and Dreamland. There was once a porch that wrapped around the building and its neighbors, under which household wares and candy were sold.


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1970s-era street signs, storefronts and cars suddenly appeared in Crown Heights, Brooklyn this weekend for the upcoming film Wonderstruck, by director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce). The movie stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams and is based on the Brian Selznick novel of the same name.


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No matter how far we’ve progressed in terms of urban planning, there will always be those that believe that building massive infrastructure will solve all of the city’s traffic problems. In a proposal that harkens back to Robert MosesLower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX), a Delaware traffic consultant has proposed twin suspension bridges that would stretch from New Jersey, over Manhattan, into Queens, crossing along both 38th and 39th Streets. Scott R. Spencer, who has termed his project the Empire State Gateway, sees this proposal as a faster fix than the Gateway Tunnel.


Patti Smith Robert Mapplethorpe-Untapped CitiesSource: Dangerous Minds.

A little over forty years ago, in a nightclub called Max’s Kansas City, Robert Mapplethorpe made his way through a crowd of artists, drag queens, and cocaine fiends, hoping to charm his way into Andy Warhol’s inner circle. His friend and ex-lover Patti Smith, then an unknown like him, watched his efforts warily. A few years later, Mapplethorpe would be shocking the art world with his provocative homoerotic photography and portraits of Warhol. Smith would be performing at Max’s. But before they achieved fame, they were vagrants moving through the world of artists, socialites, and provocateurs in downtown Manhattan. After Mapplethorpe lost his battle with AIDS in 1989, Patti Smith captured their experiences in her award-winning memoir Just Kids.

In this article, we’ll trace Patti Smith’s trail through New York City. Max’s, once a focal point of Warhol’s Factory, is gone now. There is a CVS at the address it once had north of Union Square. But other places are still here or remembered in film.


Peggy Gavan-Hatching Cat-Untapped Cities Contributor-NYC

Today we profile Untapped Cities contributor Peggy Gavanaka, The Hatching Cat NYC who specializes in New York City history with an animal twist. She has written pieces on a cow that designed a $250,000 driveway, New York City’s Lost Cat Alley, and more about forgotten New York.


Alvar Aalto-Maison Louis Carre-Paris-Architecture

Continuing on our exploration of the must-visit Modernist architectural masterpieces to visit in and around Paris, today we’ll look at the Maison Louis Carré about forty minutes south west of Paris. Louis Carré was an art collector with a gallery in Paris. In 1956 he commissioned the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto to build a villa for him, and what you can visit today is an incredible combination of architecture and design, Aalto’s only remaining work in France.