Manhattan Aerial

Since 2009, Untapped Cities has ventured into the unexplored and forgotten realm of New York City. From boat graveyards to abandoned hospitals, we have charted the uncharted voids of the city. Our curiosity led us underground to explore abandoned stations and tunnels in the making. From the depths of the Second Avenue Subway we ascended to the top of 1 World Trade Center, Google glasses included! We even ventured off the grid and took to New York’s celebrated waterways for a 360 degree view of Manhattan.

But to explore the ever changing city, now rising to new heights, Untapped Cities ascended even higher up, taking our thirst for urban exploration to a new level, viewing the Big Apple from the sky with New York on Air- the aerial content company that rocked Instagram as one of the top brands in 2014!


Source Vera Lutter

Chrysler Building, 2014.  Unique gelatin silver print.  95 1/4″ x 56″ Source Vera Lutter

Born in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Vera Lutter moved to New York after receiving her diploma in 1991 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.  She went on to study at the School of Visual Arts, where she received an MFA in 1995.  Her love of New York and its ever changing cityscapes gave way to a most unique experiment.  She turned her loft into a pinhole camera and captured huge images on the interior walls.  Using large sheets of photographic paper, she was able to capture these inverted images in black and white and retained the negative images, which is what we are seeing in this self-titled exhibit currently at The Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side.


Weegee-Lovers-at-the-movies-International Center of Photography-NYCLovers at the movies, New York, ca. 1943. © Weegee/ International Center of Photography

Legendary New York photographer Weegee liked to be ‘invisible’ when taking his noir-infused images–and a new exhibition “Weegee: At the Movies” at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas, shows just how close he got to his subjects without them even noticing. Stills show film-goers in the ’40s oblivious to his lens in the gloom of the cinema–kissing couples, popcorn eaters, laughing children and men sleeping–a far cry from his more well-known crime scene photographs.


Abandoned NYC_Will Ellis-Staten Island Farm Colony

On February 4th, longtime Untapped Cities columnist Will Ellis will be giving a talk for our events series about his new book Abandoned NYC at the East Village speakeasy The Red Room. There are just few tickets (free) left to this talk and in preparation we’ve asked Will to share with us his multi-year experience putting together this book.

Untapped: How did you first get into abandoned photography?


Ken Schles-East Village-Lower East Side-Night Walks-Photography-1980s-NYC.27 AMView from 224 Avenue B. Photo by Ken Schles.

Ken Schles lived in an abandoned building in the East Village in the 1980s, photographing and witnessing drugs and AIDS destroy the people he knew. While the nature of vintage photography often lends itself towards nostalgia for an earlier era, Schles actively fights such characterization of the East Village. As the New York Times writes:


Jean-Pierre Laffont-Photojournalism-Photograpy-1970s-Bronx-Plymouth Savoy-Vintage Car-NYC

Legendary photojournalist Jean-Pierre Laffont captured the changing times of New York City, covering everything from free love to the grim and gritty ’70s. His photographs always seem to tell more than one story. In one, the Twin Towers soar optimistically over two homeless men sitting next to a freeway pocked-marked with trash. But it was shot in the 70s, when The World Trade Center lay virtually empty, as the city was nearly bankrupt. Another shows a prostitute–her breasts exposed–posing flirtatiously with a police car, at a time when the cops barely had a grip on the huge surge in crime around Times Square.