On December 5th 1876, at least 300 play-goers died due to a monster fire in the Brooklyn Theater, which was located in Cadman Plaza near today’s Borough Hall. The theater was very popular at the time. In fact, all 900 seats were filled that night. The Two Orphans starring Harry Murdoch and Kate Claxton was playing.
According to the Bowery Boys, a gas light ignited some extra scenery at the beginning of the performance. The fire went unnoticed until the middle of the show when stagehands saw the spreading flames backstage. Then, the entire backstage wall crumbled and fell, and the famous ceiling fresco was burned. (more…)
With the advent of Netflix (and the interim stage, Redbox), the neighborhood video store has been rapidly disappearing. But right at the beginning of Bedford Avenue in Greenpoint is the Film Noir Video Store, a small one-room shop that’s been in business for nine years. Owner Will Malitek says that Film Noir is “dedicated to classic and obscure music and movies” and on our recent visit, it was abundantly clear he is equally versed in both. The narrator of this short video on Film Noir describes the shop as a “Definite destination. You can come in and have a conversation about good film and music,” which is exactly what we experienced.
Our favorite quirky library dedicated to the arcane, the bizarre and the morbid is outgrowing its space in Gowanus and hoping to expand. The Morbid Anatomy Library may be known for its collection of antique medical models and pickled baby animals in jars, but it has the potential to be much more.
The library’s organizers want to expand it into a full-fledged museum, complete with a café, gift shop, rotating exhibition space and residencies for artists and scholars from all over the world who will come here to study obscure topics. The library’s blog explains, “The Morbid Anatomy Museum will be full-fledged non-profit institutions dedicated to the arcane, the uncanny, and that which falls between the cracks of discussion and display. It will take as its inspiration 19th century anatomical museums, eccentric private collections, dime museums and the studies of gentleman collectors.” (more…)
We previously compiled a list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Manhattan for design buffs and now we’re tackling Brooklyn. The following is by no means a complete list of coffee shops in Brooklyn, but after checking out many, many coffee shops, we decided to highlight some of our favorites.
Naturally, we were intrigued when we heard about this flower shop/coffee shop that opened recently in Greenpoint. Spina, which means “thorn” in Italian, started as a floral design company. Owners Vanessa Chinga-Haven and Paul Diaz hope to lure people in the door with Blue Bottle coffee and donuts by Dough, then keep them hanging around for floral arrangements and gift items. There’s not a lot of space to sit, but the pint-sized shop is a nice place to stop for a coffee and flower bouquet to go. (more…)
For a show based in Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire sure spends a lot of time in New York City. This might be due to the prevalence of mob life on the show, or perhaps the 15% tax breaks offered by the state. Whatever the reason may be, we at Untapped Cities were glad to make this list of some of our favorite locations in Brooklyn, where much of the series was filmed. See also our piece on Boardwalk Empire‘s film locations in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island!
The Empire State Building sometimes gets in the shot and must be digitally erased. Image source: Bryn Alexandra.
The boardwalk featured in the show is actually an enormous set constructed on an empty lot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that has been the backdrop for everything from daily greetings to explosions. It is modeled after the 1920s version of the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Every single storefront (including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel) has been recreated and there is a large blue CGI screen covering one side of the parking lot that is used to simulate the ocean. Initially placed here because of the greater tax breaks offered in the state of New York, the set on the corner of Commercial and Clay Streets has been abandoned for this season. According to Greenpointers, the lot will be turned into a condominium complex in the coming years.
The actual boardwalk in Atlantic City was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last year. (more…)
Court Street and Montague Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Image via Google Street View
Any New Yorker who has braved a winter here has experienced those quintessential gusts of wind that spiral down our broad avenues and streets. A few years ago, The Daily Intelligencer ran a poll asking New Yorkers for the windiest spot in the city, the response varied from Claremont Avenue and 116th Street near Columbia, to the block by Chelsea Market, to the area around Tudor City.
However, in January of this year, The New York Times set out with a team of ”self-proclaimed weather enthusiasts” to collect wind data from what they thought was the windiest intersection in all the boroughs: Court Street and Montague Street in Downtown Brooklyn.