becky howland-1979-123 Delancey-nyc-untapped citiesImage via Places Journal

Since the city began undergoing intense gentrification in the late 1970s, many artists have stepped up and to occupy and sometimes even reclaim places to both preserve the city’s history, but also to highlight the negative implications of gentrification, and showcase their unique artistry. The city is known for its heralded art museums, but to be showcased is a difficult feat in itself.

Take a look at 10 places in New York City that artists and musicians have occupied to showcase their skills, and preserve ideals of community building by fighting gentrification. (more…)

williamsburg bridge-nyc-untapped citiesImage via Wikimedia Commons

The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City over the East River, connecting Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area to the Lower East Side in Manhattan at Delancey Street, and was the second one built across the East River. Built in 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time at over 1000 feet long (a title previously held by the Brooklyn Bridge). Today it is one of the busiest carrying vehicles between the city’s two boroughs. Previously, we brought you 10 fun facts about the creation of the bridge, but there’s plenty of interesting history surrounding the structure upon its completion. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 secrets of the Williamsburg Bridge. (more…)

Historian Discusses the Local History of Flavor at NYC's Museum of Food and Drink_Mofad_Nadia Berenstein_Williamsburg_Brooklyn_inside 17_Stephanie Geier_Untapped Cities

Did you know that European immigration helped the flavor manufacturing industry flourish in New York City? Or that Chelsea Market used to be the factory complex for the National Biscuit Company, where the Oreo was created? Historian Nadia Berenstein discussed all of this during her lecture at Making It Here: A Local History of Flavor, hosted by the new Museum of Food and Drink‘s Mofad Lab yesterday evening.


Robert Moses Jane Jacobs-NYC-A Marvelous Order-Opera

Robert Moses is all the rage these days, for better or worse starting with the new exhibit “In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses’ Expressway and the Battle for Downtown” at the NYC Municipal Archives and now with A Marvelous Order, an upcoming opera about Moses and Jane Jacobs. Last night at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, we caught a preview of the opera which is still in the works.

Urbanists will be familiar with the debate over whether Moses and Jacobs were as adversarial as commonly or conveniently played out in city narratives, but The Marvelous Order sidesteps that by placing the two protagonists in a love triangle, vying “for the affections of the City.” The multi-dimensional work features not only opera, but also dance, animation, and poetry.


Like Greenwich Village, Soho, and the East Village before it, Williamsburg is in that apocalyptic stage where New Yorkers begin to lament its loss of artsiness, grittiness, and awesomeness. As one of the most expensive neighborhood for rent in New York City, Williamsburg saw the inklings of this transformation already in the late 2000s, later highlighted by the closings of iconic DIY music venues like Monster Island, Glasslands, and Death by Audio in the post-2010 era. The neighborhood’s “lameness” was highlighted in pop culture last year in Broad City, in a scene where three preppy lookalike dudes on a yacht simultaneously exclaimed about their move from Murray Hill to Williamsburg.

But not all is lost, and one particular place is fighting back valiantly. The Spectacle Theater on South 3rd, located in a former bodega, came to life as the neighborhood was in full transition. They play $5 movies and the organization is a non-profit, collective run endeavor. If you’re looking for cutting edge, offbeat, unique films, this is the place to hang out at. Spectacle Theatre believes so much in remaining in Williamsburg that they just signed a 10-year, more pricey lease, and are now asking for help via Kickstarter.


When people think of the New York City underground, they usually think of the vast subway system, or maybe the sewers, and water tunnels buried deep in the bedrock. Far lesser known are the obscure tunnels – often running from building to building, or through lesser documented parts of the city. Here’s a very unique look at 7 such locations that will make you question where else there might be hidden in subterranean passageways.