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horse-carriage-nyc-untappedImage via Library of Congress

After noticing how many “fake” mews there are around New York, we decided to look into actual mews that have been preserved from the 19th century. Before the automobile, when the only way to get around was on a horse or being draw by one in a carriage, horses inhabited the city and actually played a huge role in its functioning. These valuable horses needed stables where they could rest and be cared for, so owners bought land and built rows of stables and carriage houses–also known as mews.

When the automobile took over and the mews were no longer needed many of these rows were destroyed, but thankfully some were converted for residential or commercial purposes. Converted mews and carriage houses that have been carefully preserved give us a glimpse into the past; a New York lost to the modern age. Here we share 9 of NYC’s remaining mews.

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See the City-NYC & Company-NYCGo-Tourism Board-Harlem-Long Island City-St.George-Dumbo-Van Cortlandt

New York City’s tourism agency is hoping that these vintage-inspired, stylized new posters will encourage New Yorkers to go explore their own city. Here at Untapped Cities, we certainly support that message. After all, our long-standing tagline has been “Rediscover your city.” As The New York Times describes, the “See Your City” campaign from NYC & Company “spotlight sections of all five boroughs that might appeal to adventurous local residents.”

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This year’s Open House New York is coming up the weekend of October 11th and 12th–and we’re not the only ones getting excited for this year’s events at some of our favorite New York City locations. Every year, the country’s largest architecture and design event puts on an impressive number of great events to educate the public about architecture and design culture in NYC. Our favorite OHNY events are the tours of locations that are usually closed to the public and although not all have been announced quite yet, we’ve highlighted 16 locations so far that you should check out:

We know that some of our favorite locations are being reopened for OHNY tours this year. These include:

1. TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport

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Tours of architect Eero Saarinen’s rarely open TWA Flight Center will be given on Saturday, October 11th. Check it out before it gets converted into a hotel. See our interior photographs here.

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The UWS has restaurant rows on Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus.

The UWS has restaurant rows on Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus.

The food desert that characterized the Upper West Side restaurant scene for much of its history has been replanted over the last few years with with an amazing array of options. These days you can find most any cuisine and at almost any price level. One result is that restaurants are often packed—on a beautiful evening it’s possible to walk the length of Amsterdam Avenue, for example, coming back up Broadway or Columbus Avenue while spotting nary a single empty table.

We lay out a few of our favorites here, even as we mourn the many that have closed since the last time we did this, with our guide to Eating Well on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: 10 Moderately Priced Restaurants. But know that there are many more. If you get turned away from one, just head next door. We start at the northern fringe at Manhattanville, head through Morningside Heights and down to Columbus Circle, taking an expansive definition of the Upper West Side.

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The Strivers Row townhomes designed by architects Price & Luce

The Striverss Row townhomes designed by architects Price & Luce

If you’ve ever walked the area on 138th and 139th streets between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Frederick Douglass Boulevards, you might have noticed three rows of beautiful townhouses. Perhaps you’ve seen the odd marker, “Private Road, Walk Your Horses,” painted onto the concrete columns that support intricate curled rod-iron gates leading into private parking for said townhouses. 

Strivers’ Row got its name from the notable Harlemites who called these stately buildings home. Names like Vertner Tandy, W. C. Handy, Fletcher Henderson, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Eubie BlakeAdam Clayton Powell Jr. and a host of successful African-American doctors, lawyers and other professionals. They were considered to be the up-and-coming in the African-American community–the Strivers.

On Sunday, October 5th, you’ll have a chance to see the inside and outside of the homes on Strivers Row during their second annual House Tour, “Strivers’ Row and Beyond”.  There are several ways to do the tour from self-guided to a walking tour with Harlem author and historian, Michael Henry Adams.

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Currently abandoned interior of the "Rennie" Source:  AbandonedNYC

Currently abandoned interior of the Ballroom inside the  “Rennie”
Source: AbandonedNYC

If you were to transport yourself back in time to Harlem in the 1920s, and in particular, to the corner of Seventh Avenue between 137th and 138th Streets, you would find yourself in front of the The Renaissance Theater and Casino.  The popularity of jazz joints made Harlem a destination during the 1920’s.  Leading the way were the big three–The Cotton Club, located on the corner of 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue, the stunning Savoy Ballroom, which covered an entire city block on Lenox Avenue between 140th-141st Streets, and Connie’s Inn located on Seventh Avenue at 131st Street.  But the only club open to African-Americans was The Renaissance Theater and Casino.

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