PiratesCave_SheridanSquare_Untapped CitiesDon Dickerman in his Pirate’s Cave at 133 Washington Place in Sheridan Square, 1916. Photo by Jessie Tarbox Beals, via the Library of Congress

In 1916, Don Dickerman opened a tearoom called the Pirate’s Cave at 133 Washington Place in Greenwich Village. Tearooms were all the rage in Greenwich Village at this time, particularly around Sheridan Square, where one could find such quaint dining establishments as the Mad Hatter, The Mouse Trap, and Will O’ the Wisp in the tiny, dark basements of old brick and timber buildings. Although he called it a tearoom, the Washington Place eatery primarily served as a place to display the hand-painted pirate-themed wooden toys that Don Dickerman made in his nearby Sheridan Square art studio.


Jane Jacobs House-555 Hudson Street-Vitage Photograph-NYCJane Jacobs, husband and son in front of their home at 555 Hudson Street. Photo from Becoming Jane Jacobs

Here at Untapped Cities, the legacy of Jane Jacobs impacts our daily life – what we write, how we see the streets, how we hope our city will become. We were part of the small group that participated in the Rockefeller Foundation conference, Jane Jacobs Revisited at the Bellagio Center in Italy in in 2012. We’ve written about the impact of Robert Moses, often pitted as Jacobs’ nemesis, and we recently attended the premiere of the rock musical BLDZR about the two. We also took in a preview of the opera about Moses last fall.

On her 100th birthday, we look at the apartments Jane Jacobs herself lived in while she was a resident of New York City


becky howland-1979-123 Delancey-nyc-untapped citiesImage via Places Journal

Since the city began undergoing intense gentrification in the late 1970s, many artists have stepped up and to occupy and sometimes even reclaim places to both preserve the city’s history, but also to highlight the negative implications of gentrification, and showcase their unique artistry. The city is known for its heralded art museums, but to be showcased is a difficult feat in itself.

Take a look at 10 places in New York City that artists and musicians have occupied to showcase their skills, and preserve ideals of community building by fighting gentrification. (more…)

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Memorial-Brown Buidling-NYU-Outer Architecture-founded by Uri Wegman and Richard Joon Yoo

Today is the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in Greenwich Village. The 1911 fire would be the most deadly workplace disaster in the history of New York City until 9/11, with 146 dead. The building, which still stands, is now NYU’s Brown Building, but in 1911 this was the thick of the city’s garment district. A fire broke out on the top floors, and the workers were trapped because the doors had been locked to prevent them from stealing or taking breaks. The fire department ladder only went up six floors, too low to reach the floors consumed by fire. The elevators could only bring down a dozen at a time, and about 40 women threw themselves out the building.


washington square park-greenwich village-nyc-Untapped Cities

We previously brought you the hidden history of Washington Square Park, but now get a closer look at one of the park’s and city’s most famous monuments: the Washington Square Arch. Standing at the north side of the park, it was dedicated on May 4, 1895, to George Washington as the first president of the United States. The arch has stood in this spot for over 100 years presiding over the park’s colorful and ever evolving culture and history. Here are the top 10 secrets of the Washington Arch.  (more…)

night-41-w-57th-street-untappedcities-nyc-001-640x474-3Rendering by Mark Foster Gage

The perpetual rivalry of New York City’s skyline has always most obviously been about height, as evidence by the earliest World Building in 1890 to the latest One World Trade Center. With all the talk about Donald Trump, we’re focusing this compilation about the city’s most over the top buildings – be it in decoration, materials, or other factors – that beat out Trump Tower, in our opinion.