Every year, Open House New York weekend is one of our readers’ favorite events, allowing them access into hard-to-visit sites and to take in unique programming in others. While the full list of sites won’t be released until early October, we’ve partnered up with OHNY to curate this feature of special locations you shouldn’t miss in this year’s lineup, selected especially for Untapped Cities readers.
This year’s Open House New York, which will take place on October 17th and 18th, will be more “open” than ever, with many locations (and all the ones featured below) now accessible through Open Access, meaning no need to battle for those advance reservations. Stay tuned for an additional guide we will publish, also in partnership with OHNY, on the special programs this year, “Engineering New York” and “Final Mile: Food Systems of New York.”
In 1976, cartoonist Saul Steinberg gave us “A View of the World from 9th Avenue,” a humorous take on the way New Yorkers can sometimes be thought to see the rest of the world across the Hudson River. His drawing became one of The New Yorker‘s best known covers, eliciting chuckles and eye rolls alike.
Earlier this week, CityLab shared a similar map via Reddit, larger in scale and about a thousand times more detailed. The David Rumsey Map Collection lists the author as unknown, and dates it to somewhere around the 1970s, but other than that, the story of how this particular map came to be is shrouded in mystery. The map itself, however, packs every New York City neighborhood, building, attraction, and landmark into an intricate “New Yorker’s Map of the World,” pushing the rest of America, even the rest of the world (which includes just a few countries in Europe and Asia), off to the very edges. The result is nothing short of hilarious.
Just days after the New York Daily News proclaimed that “Staten Island wants to be the new Brooklyn,” 20 intrepid Untapped Cities readers met at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island at 10 am on a Saturday for a Behind the Scenes NYC Tour of the borough’s north shore developments with the NYCEDC. It’s not lost on residents, community leaders and small businesses on this traditionally forgotten boroughthat Staten Island could be the new frontier. Combine rising rents in other boroughs with substantial city investment and redevelopments plans for Staten Island (plus space), and you’ve got the makings of a new destination, those involved hope.
Slide the City will arrive to Summer Streets this month. Photo via Slide City website
This Summer we’ve had a plethora of exciting art installations in all five boroughs. Playful, colorful, interactive, life-like, thoughtful and thought-provoking. We’ve been treated to art in public spaces and parks that have never had art before. Here’s what’s new in August, along with other installations in the city that are still up this month:
South Ferry, Liberty Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, and Jersey City on a Soviet-era map dating back to 1982. Image via Wired
With its final days almost 25 years passed (though historians disagree on the exact date), the Cold War-era tension between the United States and the former Soviet Union has passed into faded memory for those who were alive to witness it, and remain completely alien to everyone else. Never before had two superpowers capable of destroying the world with their masses of weapons been so close to pulling the trigger. Students as young as kindergarteners in school were trained to hide under their desks at the hint of attack. Nowadays, we fear lone gunmen instead of nuclear bombs, but the shape of the world during the Cold War was always hard to see, even now.
The Soviet mapmakers who created upwards of 1.1 million maps of the world, sometimes in street-level detail, held a different view. Wired recently published a collection of the found maps dating back to the 1980s. Apart from the unsettling detail with which some of these maps depict civilian areas of New York, Washington, D.C., and many more areas of military interest, they portray world power seeking the Google Maps-level perspective on the entire world almost 30 years early. What they intended to use this information for, one need only guess at.
Photo via National Lighthouse Museum
The National Lighthouse Museum, just a few minutes walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island will have its grand opening on August 7th, as recently reported by The New York Times. But what may be most fascinating to our readers, beyond the new museum, which had a soft launch last year and is already open to visitors is the history behind the site, a former quarantine station, and the abandoned buildings that can still be seen. In fact, the National Lighthouse Museum is the smallest building in the complex, in a foundry that once was part of the U.S. Light-House Establishment.