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We’re bringing our international (read: non-New York City) coverage back into the mix. Our off-the-beaten path guides have included Rome and San Diego. Next up: Prague.

When you first land in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, you may be momentarily disconcerted by the flurry of above ground trams or the beer being the same price as water, but there are amazing secret places just waiting to be found all throughout the city.

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Whitlock's Folly, also known as the Casanova MansionWhitlock’s Folly, also known as the Casanova Mansion. Photo via Museum of the City of New York. 

Hunts Point, a well known neighborhood on the Southeastern tip of the Bronx, has become known as a major hub for food distribution, housing one of the largest wholesale food markets in the world. However, many forget that the neighborhood housed what was regarded as one of the finest private residences in America, a lost mansion now known as Whitlock’s Folly.

Formerly located at Oak Point on the Long Island Sound, the mansion was constructed in 1859 by a wealthy southerner named Benjamin Morris Whitlock. A sprawling fifty acre estate complete with one hundred rooms, the mansion was said to have cost around $350,000, equivalent to roughly $10 million dollars in 2012 money. Thanks to a tip and slideshow by Untapped reader Paul DeRienzo, we’re able to share with you some great information about this mansion, once called haunted by local kids in the Bronx.

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10004337005_6452cfbc04_zA vintage double decker bus of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. Image Source: Flickr.com by the MTA

Fifth Avenue has it all: opulent retail, national embassies, corporate headquarters–but no Subway line. Why is this? Not only is there no line now (and no plans for one in the future), but no elevated trains or trolleys have ever operated on one of the world’s grandest thoroughfares. In fact, the avenue’s transit history is one of the most complex of any street in New York City. (more…)

New York City Map 1800s 1831 lower manhattan old map untapped citiesMelville’s streets.
“A new map of the City of New York,” 1831
 via New York Public Library Map Division

Though most people’s association with legendary writer Herman Melville may be of sailing the high seas in search of the “White Whale”, the Moby Dick author was actually quite the urbanite, spending the majority of his life living in what he refers to as “the insular city of the Manhattoes” (an extinct term referring to Manhattan’s native American inhabitants). Melville’s connection with New York City is so strong in fact that we’ve compiled a list to show how the inspiration of some of his greatest works can be found right here on the streets we walk today.  Remarkably though, almost every landmark on this list has completely vanished and has since been replaced by a commercial retail space of some sort. With that, read on to learn more about the vanished locations that inspired some of the finest works of literature in the American canon. This list was also aided in no small part by Poets.org‘s brilliant Herman Melville walking tour, which can be seen here. (more…)

The Arsenal building in Central Park, New York City Vintage NYC Photography Untapped Cities Sabrina RomanoArsenal Building, 1914. Image via The Library of Congress

The Central Park Arsenal, at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, is one of the two buildings (the other being the Blockhouse) left in the park that predate the park’s formation. Although its medieval architecture doesn’t quite match the park’s aesthetic, the 167-year-old Arsenal has survived multiple demolition attempts by providing a diverse array of functions, from its original usage as a state munitions facility, to the site of the Museum of Natural History, to its current role as home to the Department of Parks and Recreation and headquarters of the Central Park Zoo.

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New York City in 3D-Esther Crain-NY Historical Society-Book-Ephemeral NY-001

In the book New York City in the Gilded Age, Esther Crain, founder of the website Ephemeral New York, supported by the New York Historical Society, explores how New Yorkers’ lifestyle and the architecture of the time influenced each other. From the late 1860s up until the beginning of  the 1900s, Crain delves into the expansion of the city, the construction of monuments, and common street scenes. Her details range from the popularity of brownstone houses in the 1860s and 1870s to the creation of the Broadway theater district that New Yorkers are familiar with. (more…)