neighborhoodxconstantine-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via medium.com

Neighborhood names evoke a specific sense of place.

The best names connect places to their geography and history, and emphasize the qualities that make a place unique. This is especially important now, when bland, placeless design is making many cities feel homogenous.

In most cities, neighborhood boundaries are generally not well-defined, and neighborhood names change over the years as people try to change the associations around places. Just looking at New York City: native place names gave way to Dutch names, which in turn became English names. And historic names gave way to names created and promoted by real estate developers and urban planners.

There are three reasons why neighborhood names change. To distance themselves from a troubled past, to be associated with a more desirable area, or to establish a grandiose vision for an area.


fun maps music jukebox touchtunes-NYC-Untapped Cities5The results are in: Beyonce claims most of Midtown while Jay-Z takes Brooklyn. All images via wsj.com

The Wall Street Journal calls it “A Musical Map of New York,” and the science is simple. Most bars have ditched the retro look of the stand-alone jukebox and gone digital. The new e-jukebox vendor TouchTunes caters to nearly 700,000 businesses and operates around 500 publicly accessible jukeboxes across the city. It recently collected the data from these machines and compiled them all into a map that displays what the city is listening to by borough and neighborhood. The results just might be the most concrete evidence we’ve recently seen attesting to New York City’s veritable smorgasbord of cultures, demographics, and now musical tastes.


You might assume that the cul-de-sac is an invention of post-World War II suburban sprawl, but the neighborhoods of Brooklyn’s Flatbush include several of these charming courts. It’s a reminder that decades before the war, Flatbush was a destination for families looking to move beyond the City’s urban core.


image via Wikimedia by (WT-de)_MistoffelesThe Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux. Image via Wikimedia by (WT-de)_Mistoffeles

The year was 1925. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was three years from his media empire’s peak. He commanded nearly 30 different papers in cities around the country and enjoyed a fortune valued today at $35 billion dollars. Naturally, the next step was to buy a High Medieval Spanish monastery, disassemble it stone by stone, pack it into 11,000 wooden crates, and ship it all from Sacramenia in Northern Spain to Brooklyn, New York.


Radio Free Brooklyn-Untapped Cities-NYC-Bushwick-BrooklynImage via Radio Free Brooklyn

Video supposedly killed the radio star back in the 80s’, but radio not only survived — it has thrived. In no place has that statement run truer than in Brooklyn. The Heritage Radio Network records and releases dozens of programs from inside recycled shipping containers, and now two guys in Brooklyn are starting their own radio network, to provide the artists that live in Brooklyn a place to express themselves and bring themselves, and the communities on which they reside closer together. (more…)

Untapped Cities-NYC-Bushwick-Heritage Radio NetworkImage via Drive The District

The Heritage Radio Network, a non-profit organization that focuses entirely on food cultue, records and has its offices inside recycled shipping containers in the backyard of Roberta’s pizza in Bushwick. According to Forbes, we learned that the network releases “40 shows a week” and has “a log of 7,000 episodes.” The network is live Monday through Thursday, and features founder Patrick Martins  conversating with both professionals and enthusiasts about “archiving, protecting, and advancing” the conversation of food in America. (more…)