Amar Stewart-Untapped Cities-Sweet Science-Art-Painting-Ex Post Facto-Williamsburg-NYCThe Watchers by Amar Stewart

Amar Stewart, the British artist now residing in Brooklyn, whom we profiled last April, has a new solo exhibit, “Ex Post Facto.” In the United States, “ex post facto” laws, which change the legal status of any kind of action, are prohibited. In the United Kingdom, though, these kinds of laws are common, as parliament (unlike, say, Congress) can change laws as they will. Stewart, who has lived in both countries, perhaps knows of this contradiction between these two governments. It fits along with his style of mixing 21st century urban artists from the West, with the style of 17th century British royalty.


Heatonist-Untapped Cities-Williamsburg-Brooklyn-NYC

There is a new shop in Williamsburg devoted completely to selling hot sauce. Heatonist is for all of us who need our food as spicy as possible and revel in the collection of hot sauces (more than a row of the Untapped Cities HQ fridge is just hot sauce). This past weekend, we went to the opening party of Heatonist, where hot sauce enthusiasts can come and taste a very wide variety of sauces, ranging from mild to hottest.


JR Flatiron Pasting-Giant Man Walking-NYCCover of The New York Times Magazine (photo via Jake Silverstein)

French street artist JR, whose work has previously been shown in Times Square, Fordham University and inside abandoned hospitals on Ellis Island, always seems to outdo himself when he comes to New York City. Last week, The New York Times Magazine released the April issue, titled “Walking New York.” The cover is an aerial photo of the very large and very real piece by JR at Flatiron Plaza, with information that there were many more placed throughout the five boroughs. There could be no better cue for us at Untapped Cities to go traipsing around the city this weekend.

All 14 of the other pieces were also photographs of recent immigrants, taken by JR on the streets of Nolita earlier this month. The goal is to encourage people to walk all over the city to find the pieces. Below are all 14 pieces of JR’s “Walking New York” project:


Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan-Brooklyn-THNK-1994 Museum-Untapped Cities-NYC

There comes a time where we must all pick a side: Knicks or Nets, Marvel or DC, Jacob or Edward. A unique exhibit inside a Williamsburg apartment is asking us a similar question, one that hasn’t been asked in over 20 years: are you a Tonya or a Nancy?

The Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum is the brainchild of two Brooklyn comedians, Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen. The duo came up with the idea of transforming their long entrance hallway into a museum exhibit after viewing the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary The Price of Gold. The documentary tells the history of one of the most bizarre rivalries in sports history. The two rivals were Olympic pro skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, arguably the worlds best figure skaters at the time. The two shared a common passion, but little else. Tonya came from a broken home and grew up in poverty; Nancy seemed to have the perfect life and was seemingly everyone’s ideal of an Olympic athlete. The two competed head to head in numerous tournaments around the country, however, their rivalry would take a dark turn on On January 4th, 1994.  (more…)

Williamsburg Kings County Map-Brooklyn-NYCEarly map of village of Williamsburg. Note that the avenues are still numbered, which was changed after the 1855 consolidation with Brooklyn. (Image via Wikimedia commons.)

Before Williamsburg was a hipster paradise, before it was a Puerto-Rican/Italian enclave, before it was a Jewish refuge from Lower East Side tenements, before it was a booming industrial hub of sugar and beer, before it was a local center for Whig Party politics, Williamsburgh (The “h” was shed in 1855) was the headquarters for Hessian mercenaries hired by the British during the Revolutionary War. During the occupation, the heavily wooded region of northern Brooklyn was largely cleared, paving the way for the large farm plots that characterized the area after the war.

Enter the real estate speculators. Several landowners and ferry operators took one look at the budding community across the East River from Manhattan, which was ever inching northwards, and thought, “This might be a great place to live. This might be a great place to make some cash.” By the 1820s, the area now known as Williamsburgh had a church, a tavern, a ferry landing, and was beginning to develop housing.


BBQ Films-Untapped Cities-Rough Trade-NYC-Brooklyn-Williamsburg-Empire Records

April 8th, 1995, is a day that should be remembered by all who love music and overly tanned men. Because it was “Rex Manning Day,”the day that the man himself (your favorite singer in high school) arrived at the Empire Records store to promote his latest hit Say No More (Mon Amour). The chants of “Rexy, your’e so sexy” by his mostly female fans were heard for miles, and is the source of the store’s record number of noise complaints. Thankfully, this special day was recorded in the 1995 cult hit Empire Records and BBQ Films, the group who has taken us Back to The Future and hosted a Weekend at Bernie Jr’s (R.I.P BJ), help celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Rex Manning Day” inside Rough Trade, one of the most popular record stores in NYC. (more…)