With the possible demolition of the Tappan Zee Bridge, architecture and urban planning students at Cooper Union and Columbia University have been looking into a possible adaptive reuse. Just 20 miles north of New York City, the bridge connects Rockland and Westchester Counties, and some believe it has the potential to be made into a Hudson River destination hot spot, attracting local and regional visitors.


The Untapped Web Bites are editor picks of the best online reads of the week from each of our cities and the most Untapped places across the globe.

Leveling up on the New York City gaming scene. [MetroFocus]

Reviewing the new Taxi of Tomorrow [NYC GOV]

A floating tetrahedral city on the SF Bay. [Mission Mission]

An ancient Parisian village has retained its cultural identity while neighboring towns have undergone gentrification. [Invisible Paris]

The dynamics and history of centuries-old cultural tension in the Southwest’s San Luis Valley. [The Bygone Bureau]

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The Untapped Web Bites are editor picks of the best online reads of the week from each of our cities and the most Untapped places across the globe.

What New York is made of. [Vimeo]

Why Silicon Alley can be the next Silicon Valley. [Infographics Archive]

A comprehensive database of art in transit: an app for the permanent artwork installed throughout the transit system. [Mashable] [Untapped]

SF Flash mob honors Whitney Houston. [Huffington Post]

How a city can change while still holding true to its past. [Ottawa Citizen]

The world in photography. [LA Times]

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The second annual MAS (Municipal Art Society) After Dark Party will take place on April 19. As a member of the planning committee, I can tell you that there is pretty much nothing cooler than spending an evening in one of New York’s most incredible buildings.  The After Dark party is aimed at the 20s to 30s age group, the core of which form  the MAS Urbanists,  interested in urban issues (or just partying). Last year an impromptu coordinated dance broke out in the middle of the dance floor.

The Municipal Art Society is a non-profit was founded out of the City Beautiful movement and seeks to make New York a most (or most) liveable city. They’re responsible for visible projects, like the 9/11 Tribute to Light ceremony (which they desperately need funding support to continue) and the Jane’s Walks, to their involvement in the DOT bike share program,  Moynihan Station/Penn Station plan and NYU redevelopment. They’re not just interested in urban planning and preservation, however. “We believe MAS can make a contribution to the future of public housing in NYC,” said President Vin Cipolla in a press meeting last night at MAS.

But the important facts: $50 (early rate) gets you open bar and  possible raising of the NYPL roof. It’s cocktail attire, of course.  Buy tickets on the MAS Urbanist website  and follow our coverage on Untapped on Twitter and Facebook.

Untapped also previously spent overnight in the New York Public Library for the 100th Anniversary. Read more.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.

By the time I was born, Cuba for my family had evolved into an elaborate fairytale, replete with its castles, heroes and monsters. I suppose that with its chief antagonist perpetually clad in green, the mythical land even had its dragon. With only 27 years having passed since their departure and my birth, the grudges were still very much alive and the scars fresh – these things tend to persist longer than normal according to Cuban tradition.


The 11th Arrondisement is one of my favorite neighborhoods to wander. Vintage signs from the manufacturing era still grace the facades of many stores and every turn yields a new architectural gem. I previously covered a hidden artisan enclave rue de Charonne, also in the 11th. On that same trip, I followed where my whim took me and came across this hidden factory inside a courtyard on rue de Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Rue de Faubourg is one of the oldest street of Paris, once the main thoroughfare of the suburb of the Saint-Antoine abbey.

The neighborhood is under a preservation plan called the Plan de protection et de mise en valeur, which includes the planning of public spaces, protection of historic buildings and regulations for new buildings–they must be contextual to the existing built environment in terms of height, color and other factors. Furthermore, the particular mix of residential housing and craft-oriented businesses around courtyards and passages must be maintained.

What caught my eye at 74 rue de Faubourg was the enormous chimney and beautiful glass canopy, which I glimpsed after emerging from the store  Aigle, where I succumbed to a pair of rain boots. (Yes, French design even extends to rain boots.)

In the dense fabric of Paris and the architectural typology of courtyards concealed by doors, you can peer into whole other worlds.  At the entrance, large marble plaques stand as testament to a once glorious hive of craftsmanship, a furniture factory founded in 1826 that appears to have won many awards in the Grand Prix and produced varied items from copper beds to pianos.

The neighborhood was always been a hotbed of rebellion and was filled with barricades in the 1830 uprising. The many small passages in the neighborhood architecturally fueled the revolutionary fire.  The walls of 74 rue de Faubourg, known as the court of Burgundy (cour de Bourgogne), were damaged by canon fire.

Today the building is used by Cap Digital, a non-profit business cluster for digital content. Cap Digital supports R&D, business development, international development, and a think tank.The non-profit is also involved in various city initiatives, including the EU’s OpenCities program that looks to leverage crowdsourcing and open data and the European Digital Think Tank. The organization also publishes e-books, compilations on a digital festival in Paris entitled the Futur en Seine – The Future of the Digital City (this year’s festival will take place June 14-24).

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.