If you were to stroll down 4th Avenue between Union Square and Astor Place back when the area was called “Book Row,” the sights and sounds would differ greatly from those of today. While these six blocks are now lined with a variety of restaurants and stores, from the 1890s to 1960s, they were dominated by just one kind of business: secondhand bookstores.

In fact, 48 bookstores once spanned this segment of Fourth Avenue, earning it the title “Book Row.” However, these bookstores either relocated or closed entirely by the 1960s. The only vestige of Book Row is the renowned Strand Bookstore on Broadway and East 12th Street, and its survival is quite a story in itself.


Pearlfisher Soho JumpIn! Untapped Cities AFineLyneJumpIn! at Pearlfisher’s Soho offices

JumpIn!, located in the creative agency Pearlfisher in Soho, has taken New York by storm. Opened last Friday to the public, the ball pit for adults contains 80,000 snow-white balls, the brainchild of the company’s Senior Creative Strategist, Jack Hart.

Inspired by playful days in the snow, JumpIn! was originally a chance for employees at the Pearlfischer Gallery in Hammersmith, United Kingdom to engage in their inner child and take a break from their stress. It was so successful, the firm opened up the installation to the public for free, with a suggested minimal donation to the charity Right to Play. Now, Pearlfisher New York is hosting JumpIn! in their Soho offices, located in a converted textile warehouse and spread over two big open floors with three roof terraces.


Faith 47-Os Gemenos-JR-FAILE-Danielle Mastrion-Street Art-Art-Untapped Cities                                         Faith 47, Os Gemeos, JR, FAILE & Danielle Mastrion

In our monthly showcase, Untapped Cities Street Art Columnist Christopher Inoa highlights the top five New York City graffiti and street art pieces found on the city’s walls, rooftops and tunnels.

The summer is getting ready to draw its final hot, humid breath. The Untapped Cities team have been making every last summer minute count, and the same could be said of the artists featured this month coming from around the world to leave their mark on the walls of New York City. So if you are looking for one last adventure before Labor Day, we have some pieces here that are worth applying that sunblock for, one last time. Here are our top five favorite street art pieces for August 2015. 

1983-Reimagining Statue of Liberty-Storefront for Art and Architecture Competition-PosterCall for Submission, 1983. Image Courtesy of Storefront for Art and Architecture.

In 1983, as the centennial of the Statue of Liberty dedication approached in 1986, the Storefront for Art and Architecture launched an open call competition to reimagine the New York City landmark for the contemporary era. This type of provocative competition is part of the DNA of Storefront, founded in 1982 to present innovative work at the intersection of art and architecture. More than 30 years later, with a distinctive location at 97 Kenmare Street in Nolita, and the opening of an archive at Industry City tomorrow, Storefront continues to present cutting-edge exhibitions and serve as a resource to architects, academics, and journalists alike.


Hunts Point South-Waterfront-Wild-Abandoned-Park-Long Island City-Queens-NYC-021

This past weekend, on a predominantly unguided but fully sensory tour, 20 intrepid explorers headed out with Daniel Campo, author of The Accidental Playground  and artists Ellis Irons and Chris Kennedy, to take in Hunters Point South, one of the the city’s last accidental waterfront wild spaces. This post-industrial edge condition is a last holdout before encroaching development overtakes the Queens border with the East River. For many, even those that may live in Long Island City, this little patch of wilderness, with its stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, may come as a surprise. And as the leaders of this expedition showed, its presence is an important reminder of our relationship with the city’s natural environment as well as its long, complex history of development. 


NYC Gov Dog Poop Complaints-MapMap via The Economist

As reported in a recent article in The Economist, Ron Gonen, New York City’s former Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability (commonly referred to as the “Recycling Czar”) is hoping to launch a program called Sparky Power, to turn dog poop into energy for the city’s dog parks. Some (less than fun) facts about dog poop in NYC: