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Bhushan Mondkar_Red Light House

12 hours, 32 miles, 1,235 people and an unforgettable experience of hiking the entire perimeter of Manhattan. It’s called The Great Saunter–an annual urban walk that meanders through some twenty waterfront parks and promenades, several historic communities and innumerable moments of surprise and wonder. 2015 marks the thirtieth year of this extreme city walking adventure and Untapped Cities jumped right in, to explore the shores of Manhattan with several other enthusiasts amidst the blossom of Spring earlier this month.

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This winter, with New York City’s Hudson and East Rivers particularly frozen (and sometimes trapping the ferries), New Yorkers are getting a first-hand glimpse at, well, nature. In-the-know New Yorkers like to point out that the East River is not actually a river, but is an estuary, meaning that waters come in from multiple sources, including salt water from the sea. On February 17th, the East River Ferry published an explanation, sharing how the tidal patterns cause unpredictable ice flows writing, “the tide changes multiple times per day, enabling ice to enter from different major bodies of water, making it nearly impossible to predict what it’s going to do, or where it’s going to be.” But what about the Hudson River?

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Photograph of the metal lined section of the tunnel.

Photograph of the metal lined section of the tunnel.

When was the last time you traveled through a tunnel into Manhattan? Perhaps it was during your subway ride to work, on a train from Penn Station, or even in a taxi coming back from a night out on the town. We take tunnels for granted these days, but prior to the 20th century, only one tunnel existed; a small tube built in 1892 by the East River Gas Company to supply gas to Manhattan, which is still in use today.

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We all love our iconic, innovative, and picturesque bridges (insert photos of the Brookly, Manhattan, and Queensboro Bridges here), but New York City is home to far more bridges, each with its own unique story to tell. Below, we round up some of the city’s “other” bridges, who have made the cut either for their obscurity, their interesting history, or their other distinguished features. (more…)

AIA_Boat Tour_New York_Untapped Cities_bhushan mondkar-002

As we sailed north, along Manhattan’s iconic skyline, the tall, taller and tallest of its architecture, soon blurred into a forested landscape and rocky terrain, reminiscent of the Mannahatta that Henry Hudson discovered four hundred years ago. The transition was quite evident as the Untapped Cities crew took to the waters aboard the classic harbor line yacht ‘Manhattan ‘ inspired by the famous (and infamous) commuter yachts of the roaring twenties. The three hour spectacle- called the Around Manhattan Architectural tour sponsored by the New York chapter of American Institute of Architects, offers some stunning insights into the past, present and future of the ever evolving city and its waterfront.

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Yesterday, the 2014 Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance Conference fittingly took place aboard a Hornblower Cruise boat which took attendees on a tour around the New York City harbor while speeches and panels about rebuilding New York City’s waterfront took place.

As the boat passed South Street Seaport, a small group congregated at the prow of the boat staring as plumes of dust seems to rise up from the river. The mall at Pier 17 was midway into demolition. Those working nearby said they had been documenting the demolition from their offices above, but the view from the river really brought a new perspective.

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