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Lost Diner Exterior_Untapped Cities_New York_Will Ellis

The “Lost Diner” at 357 West Street

New York City isn’t known for its roadside attractions or its motor inns, but along the West Side Highway, you can still find shades of the open road.  What could be more emblematic of the highway state of mind than the diner, whose very contours suggest forward motion, gleaming like hubcaps across the American landscape?  Abandoned between auto repair shops and a gentlemen’s club, the lost diner at 357 West Street fully commits to the mystery and isolation only hinted at in Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, (which happens to be based on a nearby diner in Greenwich Village.)  Untapped Cities previously covered the history of the diner, but today we can’t resist taking a peek inside…  (more…)

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Some of the most exciting cities are those that have their own unique aesthetic, adopting a feel at odds with the rest of their country. Barcelona for us is such a place, wildly individual and almost visually overwhelming. Famously inspired by Antoni Gaudí’s creations as well as influenced by its Catalan history, it walks its own pioneering path.

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At Untapped Cities, we love finding people that have quirky urban hobbies. Like these guys trying to break the Guinness World Record for subway riding. Or Matt Green’s project to walk all the streets of New York City. The urban nerd in us were intrigued by Moses Gates’ quest to visit every Census tract in New York City. In a piece for Narratively, he revealed some wonderfully “Untapped” locations and mentioned he had never been to Bronx Census Tract 001, Rikers Island. Oddly enough, we’ve been there, so we reached out.

For our exploration day together, Moses recommended that we  explore New York City’s largest census tract, Co-Op City in the Bronx, which is home to approximately 26,000 people. It’s also a growing tract that increased 7.6% in population between 2000 and 2010. But for many, it’s just an odd urban patch you pass on I-95 on the way back from Boston and New England. The towers in the park model has a sort of sci-fi quality, mostly because it’s so out of character with what surrounds it. It also has the look of being a self-sufficient organism, with everything you might need from big box stores to restaurants to mass transit.

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Co-Op City in the Bronx

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Orchid Show NY Botanical Gardens

Our curated events picks for this week: Underground Eats’ Mexican Passover Fiesta, urban exploration talk with Moses Gates, Game of Thrones exhibit.

MONDAY, MARCH 25:  Chef Patricia Clark + The Equus projects Dinner. The Equus Projects combine dance, horsemanship and public performance in exhibitions that will astound and impress even the very jaded NYC art aficionado. Meet the dancers, watch video of past performances, meet the owners of the horses and learn how collaboration breeds inspiration and public education. All of their performances are free – so this is the one night to actually support a group of incredible artists and give back to all they do for artistic expression in NYC. 7-10pm at Cucina di Pesce, 87 East 4th Street. $100. RSVP jmsnyc@aol.com. (more…)

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The cavernous interior of the Domino Sugar Refinery’s Raw Sugar Warehouse.

Situated on an eleven-acre parcel of waterfront in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge, the derelict Domino Sugar Refinery remains one of the most recognized monuments of Brooklyn’s rapidly disappearing industrial past. Now, after a decade of false starts, new plans for a modern, mixed-use megacomplex may put an end to the decaying colossus that was once the largest refinery in the world, marking the final passage of a working-class Williamsburg.

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Sherbrooke street, Golden Square Mile, Montreal

Sherbrooke Street West, where many mansions are located within Golden Square Mile in Montreal

Montreal is known for it’s eclectic architectural style and nowhere is that more true than in the downtown area.  Like in most large cities, the Centre-Ville is where people come to work and shop. Generally, the buildings reflect that fact, with skyscrapers and concrete structures dominating the urban landscape. What makes Montreal’s own downtown area interesting is that it used to be an affluent residential neighborhood. Nicknamed Golden Square Mile, it earned this moniker because it was here, at the foot of Mount Royal, that some of North America’s wealthiest families lived during the era between 1850 and 1940. This means that the streets were lined with mansions, each larger and more opulent than the other. The residents, mostly businessmen of Scottish descent, formed a tight community that ruled over Canada. (more…)