Via Verde in the Bronx

We’re excited to not only serve as co-sponsor for the December 1st event “Designing Better Affordable Housing” at the Museum of the City of New York, but to also announce that the panelists will be taking crowdsourced questions right from Untapped Cities community that you can submit online in the next week. The panel will discuss how best to renovate and repurpose the existing buildings in New York City while bringing new sustainable development into the affordable housing market.


Affordable New York A Housing Legacy Exhibit-Thomas Mellon-MCNY-Museum of the City of New York-NYC-Header

Affordable Housing: A New York Legacy is an impressive, comprehensive exhibit that showcases New York City’s leading role in the affordable housing movement since the 19th century. While we shared with you a walkthrough with the curator, Thomas Mellins recently, here are 10 surprising things you should not miss in this compelling exhibit:


Eastern Parkway Chris Daze Ellis Untapped Cities AFineLyne

Chris “Daze Ellis: The City is My Muse opens today at the Museum of the City of New York, an exhibit that takes you on a visual journey as Daze moves from painting trains to painting the New York City of his youth on canvas. Readers may remember Mr. Ellis from his group exhibit last year – “City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection” also curated by Sean Corcoran, the Museum’s Curator of Prints and Photographs. Here you will find a familiar and colorful display of paintings, photographs, etchings and ephemera, both recent and earlier work

"I Scrubs," Little Katie from the W. 52nd Street Industrial SchoPhoto by Jacob A. Riis. Image via Museum of the City of New York, Gift of Roger William Riis

Today, most people probably know of journalist and social reformer Jacob A. Riis through the photographic collection he left behind. But perhaps the most surprising thing you’ll learn about the Danish-born, New York transplant in the new Museum of City of New York exhibit Jacob Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half is that photography was merely a supporting part of Riis’ larger journalistic legacy. In fact, while Riis kept careful documentation of his written work – manuscripts, correspondence, clippings, annotated notebooks – he left the photographs in the attic of his house in Queens.

By deconstructing the prevailing myth and narrative that surround Riis, curator Bonnie Yochelson reveals not only the other half of New York City during the late 19th century and early 20th century, but also the other sides of Riis himself. While Riis’ photographic collection belongs to the Museum of the City of New York, this is the first ever exhibition of Riis’ archive, which belongs primarily to the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library.


street-numbering-grid-manhattan-untappedcities-mcny-nyc.50 AMScreenshot of “Interactive 1811 Plan,” looking at the history of street numbering 

“The Grid defines a new balance between control and de-control in which the city can be at the same time ordered and fluid, a metropolis of rigid chaos,” said architect Rem Koolhaas about New York City’s urban planning. The Museum of the City of New York, after its celebrated 2011-2012 exhibit, Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, has launched an interactive, online version of the exhibition that has just been released. If you’re a lover of maps, vintage photos, history, urban planning or New York, you must check out this website.

Also, be sure not to miss our co-sponsored event with the Museum of the City of New York, City on a Grid: How New York Became New York tonight at 6:30pm. Untapped Cities readers get a special discount using code MCBC1 for $10 tickets (regularly $16). Now, since we’ve already compiled a list of fun facts to learn about the original 1811 Commissioner’s plan and discussed the history of the grid planning, take a look below to discover how you can interact with the Museum’s new website to find out even more about this revolutionary period in Manhattan history.


Affordable New York A Housing Legacy-Museum of the City of New York-Exhibition-Untapped Cities-NYC-HeaderHabitat for Humanity Rowhouse Project, Bronx, NY, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects Photograph: © Kevin Chu + Jessica Paul

There may be no topic hotter than affordable housing in New York City right now, with it being the centerpiece of Mayor DeBlasio’s OneNYC strategic plan. But the battles that will be waged to create and preserve the 200,000 units of affordable housing promised in the next decade – debates over design, inclusivity, exclusivity, displacement, and more – are hardly new. This is precisely the story that a new exhibit at the Museum of City of New York aims to tell in Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy, curated by architectural historian and author Thomas Mellins. As a wider goal, it aims to situate New York City as a pioneering force behind the affordable housing movement, in its various manifestations since the 19th century. In fact, New York City was the first city to pass comprehensive tenement house laws in 1877.