Restoration now complete on the Harlem Corn Exchange Bank BuildingThe Corn Exchange Building Renovation in Harlem

We’re very excited to announce our next Behind the Scenes NYC tour in partnership with the NYCEDC where we’ll bring Untapped Cities readers into Harlem’s exciting development projects and incubators, including a special visit into the Corn Exchange Building redevelopment and its rooftop.

On this walking tour of East and West Harlem on October 1st at 6pm, guests will learn about the history of the neighborhood and observe first-hand the role of new incubator spaces and urban redevelopment projects on the present and future of Harlem.

Stop will include La Marqueta and the Hot Bread Kitchen Incubator, led by Nadia Munoz, NYCEDC’s project lead for the Marqueta and the Head of Operations at Hot Bread Kitchen, a tour of the Corn Exchange Building with Artimus Developers, and a tour of Harlem Biospace with Matthew Owens (Harlem Biospace Executive Director) and Christine Kovich (Harlem Biospace Co-Founder and head of HypotheKIDS).

Provident Loan Society-19th Ward Bank-180 E 72nd Street-NYCThe Provident Loan Society, in former location of 19th Ward Bank at 180 East 72nd Street. Original photo via Library of Congress.

Pawn shops have long been known to take advantage of a community’s poor and desperate, even with an attempt to rebrand the businesses as upscale “loan offices” to the more well-off in the early 20th century. On the opposite end of the spectrum was the Provident Loan Society, a non-profit pawn shop founded in 1894 with money from the city’s most influential, including Cornelius Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, and August Belmont. The architecture of the Provident Loan Society that remains today, deemed by Christopher Gray in his New York Times Streetscapes column “the best-looking pawnshops ever,” reflects a concerted operational strategy to provide access to all New Yorkers in need.


Sketchfab 3D Rendering-Street Art NYC Shepard Fairey LISA Project

Today, we’re excited to announce a new series with the 3D platform Sketchfab, showcasing 5 new pieces of New York City street art you can explore digitally in three-dimensions. While there is no substitute for going in person to take in these ephemeral pieces, to understand the scale, and the artistry involved, these 3D embeds also provide annotations for  more information.


1 West 123rd Street

One of the homes on the Mount Morris Park Historic House Tour, built for founder of Arm and Hammer baking soda

The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) will cast a spotlight on the distinctive way area residents have taken design into their homes and businesses, with the theme of this year’s historic house tour, “Old Places, New Spaces.”  This annual tour, located in the Mount Morris Historic District, will take place next Sunday, June 14th.  The starting point will be at the Pelham Fritz Recreation Center in Marcus Garvey Park–home to the historic Harlem Fire Watchtower, and will include ten homes including a mansion in mid-restoration, brownstone homes in a range of styles with period details, live-work spaces, and more. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see:


Spirit of East HarlemSpirit of East Harlem on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 104th Street.

This past weekend, the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) hosted Jane’s Walk weekend with more than 100 free walking tours.  We decided to take the tour given by MAS and East Harlem Preservation, aptly named “Lost and Found Murals of East Harlem – Buildings on Canvas”.

While the East Harlem of the 1930’s was predominantly Italian, after the first World War, East Harlem welcomed a vibrant Latino and Puerto Rican community that brought with them a wealth of culture in their art, food and music.   (more…)

What stands out about the Lafayette Theater Townhouses, middle-income affordable housing in Central Harlem, is that they, quite frankly, don’t stand out.

Constructed on vacant City-owned properties in the early 2000s, they are infill buildings interspersed among older structures, mostly nineteenth century brownstones and other rowhouses. The project consisted of nine separate groupings, located mostly between W. 134th Street, Lenox Avenue (aka Malcolm X Boulevard), W. 129th Street, and Seventh Avenue (aka Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard). (more…)