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In honor of Memorial Day, today we’re looking back at the history of the white marble Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, located at 89th Street and Riverside Drive, a majestic memorial to those who fought in the Civil War. Unfortunately, few have had the chance to marvel at its serene mosaic interior. The monument has been open to the public sporadically throughout the years, most recently as part of Open House New York (though one year the key was unable to open the rusted lock and access was canceled).

The New York Times was recently given rare access to what lies hidden behind the monument’s locked door.
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Imagine if New Yorkers could commute by high speed monorail? A monorail, which would have had the capability of whizzing across the country at 150 miles an hour, was proposed on a smaller scale first in New York City. Officials considered building a 200 horsepower monorail line “which would run at forty-five miles an hour, in an outlying borough.” This plan detailed in Popular Science in October 1930 would have completed the patchwork system of subways and elevated railroads that dot the outer boroughs.

 

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Many architects have yearned to leave a lasting mark on New York City. While the lucky few are able to realize their dream, an untold number never get that chance. Some of their plans never saw reality due to red tape or funding issues, while others remained on the drawing board because the city was not ready for their grandiosity. Presented below are 10 ideas for New York City that never left the drawing board.

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In July 1927, Popular Science profiled a proposal for a sixteen mile elevated highway that would span the rooftops of a Manhattan avenue. This futuristic plan came from the mind of John K. Hencken, a New York based engineer, and was allegedly “approved by a number of eminent engineers and city planners.” The plan called for a series of uniform twelve-story buildings extending from the Battery Park to Yonkers.

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One of our favorite fun facts about the Metropolitan Museum of Art is that it’s still unfinished (and that it grew over time, so you can still see earlier versions inside). Here are tidbits about where to see these incomplete portions today and how they came to be.

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A note from Untapped Cities founder, Michelle Young: 

9/11 happened on the first day of registration my sophomore year in college. I was sleeping and I remember hearing bounding footsteps in the hallway of our thinly-walled dorms at Harvard and someone saying that the World Trade Center had fallen. It seemed like something out of a crazy dream, so I kept on sleeping. I woke up to instant messages (remember those on AOL?) from New York, where I’m from. Friends at Columbia University had seen the whole thing happen from their skyscraper dorms in Morningside Heights. 

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