Columbia_University_Butler_Library_from_front-NYC Oldest Schools-Untapped Cities-Stephanie GeierThe Butler Library at Columbia University, which is one of New York City’s oldest operating schools. Image via Wikimedia Commons

When you think of New York City’s rich cultural history, educational institutions may not be among the first words that come to mind. But many of New York City schools have roots from hundreds of years ago and were an important part of the city’s development. In fact, quite a few of these New York City schools were important milestones in the nation’s educational history, with some even earning superlative spots among America’s finest institutions.


Owl Statue Over Jefferson Hall at Queens College. Via Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Nkabouris

With fall and the back to school season in full swing, Untapped Cites is uncovering the hidden and little known past uses of some of New York City’s colleges. Today we look at the Queens College campus, which has had several past uses including the Parental School for “incorrigible boys and truants,” which closed after a scandal. Queens College continues to use several Mission Revival style buildings from the earlier institution.


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Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Photo by Bobby Das via Flickr

It’s day one of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. For urban explorers, the park has long held a special lore, with its layered history and abandoned structures. As you’ll see in this collection of secrets, its past and proposed future continue to reflect the push and pull of New York City development and most spectacularly its hidden spots may reveal themselves in centuries to come, or never again.


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The 1964 World’s Fair pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park by Philip Johnson is viewed by some as a symbol of past glory. To others, it’s just an old, decaying building that has been in the park for decades, prominently featured in the 90s science-fiction action-comedy Men in Black. To the “history nerds and World’s Fair geeks” that filled the Queens Theatre to witness the world premiere of director Matthew Silva’s fantastic new documentary Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, the structure means so much more.


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The crumbling World’s Fair Pavilion is not the only concern for the future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Numerous organizations, including NYC Parks, the Queens Museum, and the Design Trust for Public Space are seeking ways to better connect the park, traditionally cut off by highways and large-scale infrastructure, to neighboring communities. A new exhibit at Queens Museum displays concepts developed by the community in this latest civic-led approach to improvements in the park. Entitled You Are Here: Creating a New Approach to Civic Participation in the World’s Parkthe exhibition is the culmination of the first phase of The World’s Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with Its Neighbors, a community engagement partnership.

Below are four design concepts put forth in the presentation yesterday and on view at the Queens Museum through May 3rd.


We’re pretty sure in New York City you can get any food you can dream up, and we credit that to the melting pot that the city is and its population that likes to push the boundaries. Here are 10 of the weirdest and most bizarre foods available here that will probably make you pucker up (or for some, make your taste buds water).

1. Live Octopus at Sik Gaek

Live Octopus-Sik Gaek-Flushing-Woodside-Bizarre Weird Foods-NYCPhoto via Yelp by Wing L.

Korean restaurant Sik Gaek has two locations, one in Woodside and one in Flushing. The real delicacy is the live octopus. Yes, it’s served to you squirming. People describe it as “chewy,” “slimy,” but also for some, their “favorite dish.” Make sure to call in advance if you want to order it, as it’s not always available.