Schermerhorn Row on Fulton Street

New York City has one spot on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list: South Street Seaport. This morning’s announcement was done through Google Hangout on Air and the session was introduced by Germonique R. Ulmer, Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Trust. As Ulmer states, the list includes places that are “special and historic places facing a serious threat of demolition or extinction.” In the 28 years of publishing this list, only 3% of featured sites have been lost–a significant accomplishment for the National Trust, who views the 11 Most Endangered as their signature tool to galvanize support.


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:


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New York City has its hidden alleys, Paris its passages, and Sydney its laneways. But Lyon, France has something even more astonishing perhaps–the traboules. These medieval/Renaissance architectural gems hidden behind closed doors are part passageway, part tower, part courtyard. Predominantly located in Vieux Lyon (old Lyon), the Croix-Rousse, a hillside area that dates back to the Roman period, and the Presqu’île neighborhoods, traboules are examples of urban architecture that are both functional and symbolic. The official number of traboules in Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, vary from 230, as specified on Lyon Traboules to 500.


The row of seven Victorian townhouses facing the east side of San Francisco’s Alamo Square, variously known as Postcard Row and The Painted Ladies, draws thousands of visitors each year to snap iconic photos, but rather than engaging in hit and run tourism, the area’s other architectural treasures and the park itself are also deserving of a look.

Alamo Square, a City park which lies at the summit of a hill west of downtown San Francisco, provides sweeping views of the beautifully ornate houses of Postcard Row with the City’s skyline in the background.


Bogardus Building-Edward Laing Stores-Washington Market-Murray-Washington Street-Urban Renewal-Demolition-Stolen-NYCThe Edward Laing Stores/Bogardus Building. Image via Library of Congress

In researching about the many wonderful architectural remnants on display at Saving Place: 50 Years of NYC Landmarks, we came across the Edward Laing Stores, also known as the Bogardus Building. A single metal spandrel panel is on display in the exhibition, but the story behind what happened to this long-demolished building is one of the craziest we’ve heard here at Untapped Cities, including the fact that it was stolen, not once, but twice.


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One of the highlights of the comprehensive exhibition, Saving Place: 50 Years of NYC Landmarks at the Museum of the City of New York, is the collection of architectural remnants from New York City’s buildings, both lost and still standing. From a marble eagle head from the original Pennsylvania Station to original lime moldings from Grand Central Terminal and cast iron medallions from the Battery Maritime Terminal, there is plenty for architecture and preservation buffs to revel in.