07/31/14 9:00am

IMG_1308Mike’s Coffee Shop. Image via Flickr: JSsocal

There are few things as characteristic of New York City as the luncheonette. These small, informal dining spaces used to dot the urban landscape as much as Starbucks does today.  Although their cheap meals and neighborhood-friendly atmosphere are now far and few between, we’ve compiled this list of the best luncheonettes still in operation. So, in no particular order, here are our picks of the eight best luncheonettes in NYC that are still serving up great grub at good prices.

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07/25/14 9:00am

japanese house prospect park south brooklyn new york city untapped cities museum of the city of new yorkA Postcard of the Japanese house ca. 1915. The house has since been re-painted red-orange with teal beams. Image via Museum of the City of New York, via Old Images of New York

Urban legend tells that this Japanese house was built special for the Japanese Ambassador, and it was shipped over piece by piece from Japan. Neither of those stories are true. What is true, however, is that somebody actually lives in this Japanese style house south of Prospect Park in Flatbush-Ditmas Park. It was built in 1903, and currently, the house has landmark status and it is valued at over $1 million. (more…)

07/23/14 10:00am

Death by Audio-Brooklyn-DIY Music Venue-NYCTenement performing at Death by Audio. Image by the band.

In spite of rent increases, robberies, and patterns of escalating police intervention, NYC’s DIY music scene continues to thrive. Whenever a much-loved performance space closes down, another one seems to pop up to take its place (which is definitely not the case in every major city). This may make it hard to keep up, which is why we’ve conveniently assembled this list of New York City’s top ten DIY venues. Each venue listed is still in operation and are not listed in any order of importance. Enjoy!

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07/18/14 10:00am

art of mourning-morbid anatomy museum-gowanus-oddities 1

We here at Untapped Cities are always interested in uncovering the unseen, unnoticed, or misunderstood aspects of urban life. As such, we were super excited to speak with Morbid Anatomy Museum founder Joanna Ebenstein who, along with a community of “rogue scholars”, is dedicated to harboring some of the weirdest and most obscure artifacts in the world. We chatted with her about the roots of her unorthodox museum, which just opened two weeks ago in Gowanus, and its newest exhibit, The Art of Mourning.

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07/04/14 2:00pm

Bill-Brand-masstransiscope-sketchImage via LoveNycStyle

Originally created by Bill Brand in 1980 as a way to utilize an unused subway station at Myrtle Avenue, Masstransiscope is arguably one of the most one-of-a-kind pieces of street art in the city today. Recently restored in 2008, the piece combines traditional street art with the design of  a Zoetrope, or primitive motion picture device. The way it works is that from the window of the northbound express train coming from the DeKalb Avenue station, commuters can see 228 hand-painted panels passing by  from behind a series of slits positioned in front of them. As the the series of images become slightly altered, coupled with the high speed of the train car and the pillars, the changing stream of images begin to take on the illusion of a 20 second moving picture. (more…)

07/01/14 2:00pm

Nicole Baum, Marketing & Partnerships Manager at Gotham Greens Nicole Baum, Marketing & Partnerships Manager at Gotham Greens.

We’ve often thought that if you love food you should just move to Brooklyn—the way a lover of Thoroughbreds should move to Kentucky or a lover of surf to California. Brooklyn Eats, the annual food and beverage trade show hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, showed on June 27 just how sound that impulse would be by offering the borough’s full range of food possibilities, from serious farming to frivolous (but fabulous) ice cream and cupcakes.

Brooklyn Eats

“We are farmers that live in apartments. We see green fields where others see rooftops,” announces Gotham Greens’ website, baldly appealing to local patriotism—and so they should. Brooklyn’s rooftop farms and greenhouses are becoming one of the wonders of the urban world. Did anyone predict urban agriculture could be profitable before 2010, when the Brooklyn Grange opened its soil farm on the roof of a 43,000-square-foot building in Queens, and Gotham Greens built its commercial-scale greenhouse on the roof of a warehouse in North Brooklyn? Using hydroponic technology—nutrient-rich, reusable water instead of soil—Gotham Greens has since opened a greenhouse on the roof of the Whole Foods in Gowanus, and will soon operate a third in Jamaica, Queens.

“We concentrate on perishable crops,” says Nicole Baum, Marketing & Partnerships Manager at Gotham Greens, especially the lettuces that must be shipped long distances, from Latin America and California, and the herbs that are so treasured by today’s cooks. In place of long-distance transport, they simply carry the products down from the roof, converting “food miles to food footsteps,” says Gotham Greens co-founder Viraj Puri.

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