04/18/14 1:00pm
The current gutted space at 288 Lenox Avenue

The current gutted space at 288 Lenox Avenue

It was with great sadness that Harlem watched as its famed Lenox Lounge got shuttered on December 31, 2012.  The property located at 288 Lenox Avenue has been closed since then, stripped of its iconic interior and art deco doors and padlocked. It has been waiting to undergo a transformation by a new tenant hoping to breath life back into a space where Miles Davis and John Coltrane played, Billie Holiday sang, and the likes of James Baldwin and Langston Hughes graced those tables during the Harlem Renaissance. This week we finally saw some activity and we were fortunate enough to be able to take a peek.

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04/07/14 2:00pm
The new entrance to The Urban Garden Center as they reopen

The Urban Garden Center opening weekend of April 5th after the explosion in East Harlem

New Yorkers love their markets. They pop up in every borough in every form, from the greenmarkets to the flea markets, and they are a large part of our history. Last June, Untapped Cities wrote of a market that celebrated East Harlem’s past.  Located under the overhead tracks and running from 111th Street to 117th Street along Park Avenue, La Marqueta, Flea Marqueta and The Urban Garden Center have brought back the spirit of Fiorello LaGuardia’s original 1936 plan conceived as an informal gathering place–a place for pushcart vendors and other merchants to sell their produce.  Unfortunately the market slowly declined in the 1970′s and several attempts to bring it back failed.  (more…)

03/19/14 10:00am

Throughout his career, Wes Anderson has set each of his films in an idiosyncratic and highly stylized world. Yet, only one of his eight films is set in NYC: The Royal Tenebaums, widely considered his masterpiece. In celebration of Wes Anderson’s latest film The Grand Budapest Hotel, we present eight NYC film locations featured in The Royal Tenenbaums.

1. The Tenenbaum House

The Royal Tenenbaums-House-Harlem-NYC-Untapped Cities-Wes Anderson

The house that Royal Tenenbaum bought “on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year” is on 144th Street and Covenant Avenue in Harlem, just north of City College. Anderson and his location scout found this house before he began working on the script. After a few unsuccessful trips in Brooklyn, the director—who at first wanted to shoot his fictional take on NYC—on a soundstage, begin to conjure up the concept of the film as soon as he walked in. The house was unoccupied at the time of production, so Anderson rented it for six months and shot multiple exterior and interior shots there, transforming it into what we see in the film. The house is now a private residence. (more…)

02/06/14 1:00pm
Colorful entrance to the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem

Colorful entrance to the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem

On a recent Monday night when most of this City was preparing for a snow storm, the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem was preparing for Open Mic.  Founded in 1904, NAMA is the oldest African-American musical organization in the country.  One of the founders was James Reese Europe,  a Harlem Hellfighter – which was the name given to the famous 369th Infantry Regimen, and it was founded at a time when the musicians union didn’t admit minority musicians.

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02/05/14 2:00pm
Street entrance of The National Black Theatre painted by AFineLyne

Street entrance of The National Black Theatre painted by AFineLyne

The National Black Theatre was founded in 1968 by the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer who was an African-American writer, producer, teacher and actress. Located at 2031 Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets, The National Black Theatre’s exterior was designed by the Haitian-American architect Gerard Paul. Within these walls, the Theatre houses the largest collection of Nigerian New Sacred Art in the Western Hemisphere, which includes hand carved wood totems and copper, aluminum and brass relief art done by traditional Nigerian artisans.  The 64,000 square feet of space is divided between two buildings, each three stories high.  The interior was designed by five new Sacred Nigerian Artists from Oshogbo, Nigeria.

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01/30/14 2:00pm

The impressive 2nd Floor Gallery of The Hispanic Society of America The impressive 2nd Floor Gallery includes several paintings by Sorolla, Murillo, de Ribera and de Silva y Velazquez

The Hispanic Society of America was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) and opened its doors at their current location on Audubon Terrace in 1908.  The Society is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal and Latin America and contains the largest collection of 19th century Spanish art and manuscripts outside of Spain.  This includes works by El Greco, Goya, and Velazquez.  (more…)