Isamu Noguchi Red Cube Untapped Cities AFineLyne

Downtown Manhattan is not only filled with history, but it is also filled with numerous permanent art installations – many of which are part of the history we so lovingly preserve. Beginning at Bowling Green in The Battery, view artifacts of the oldest man-made structure still in place in Manhattan, look down into a cistern from the 18th-century, and view remnants of a tavern from the 1800s. Ponder artists’ portrayals symbolizing hope, optimism and whimsy. Many survived the attacks of September 11, proudly showing their dents and holes.

Our list of twenty permanent installations will take you from The Battery, past Brookfield Place to Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, along the lower Manhattan shoreline.


World Trade Center Transportation Hub-Oculus-Opening-NYC-003

Last Thursday, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (also known as the Oculus) soft opened to the public. Most of the media’s coverage has focused on the controversy over the station, but today, we’re sharing fun facts about its construction and the things to look out for on a visit.


Oculus Soft Opening, Match 2016

There’s already a lot that has been said about the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, designed by Santiago Calatrava (too much, we think). New York Times architectural critic Michael Kimmelman, most recently called it a “soaring symbol of a boondoggle,” and also even less flattering, a “Pokémon.” The grossly over-budget and perennially delayed station did not even get a formal ribbon cutting ceremony, due to the ongoing controversy over its price tag.


Original World Trade Center Keys-Brass Keys-eBay-NYC-1

The World Trade Center may be gone, but ephemera continues to appear on sites like eBay. Currently listed are two brass keys that sellers say are from the Twin Towers. One has raised letters reading “WORLD TRADE CENTER DO NOT DUPLICATE,” which the seller global-foto-archive says means it was cast in brass and not printed in the locksmith department of the Twin Towers. The back of the key has the numbers 281256871 engraved. The seller’s father was a collector of New York City skyscraper items, and the seller listed this brass key with a visitor pass saved by his father from a visit to the offices of Raymond James, a financial firm. Together they are listed for $489, and the listing expires in 26 days.


Burial Vault-Washington Square Park-Chryalis Archaeology-NYC-3Photo via Chrysalis Architecture

On a regular basis, sites of an older New York City are exposed by heavy construction, allowing archaeologists to give New Yorkers a more detailed history of their city’s roots. Here are a few notable archaeological sites found in Manhattan.


1 WTC-Paris Terrorist Attacks-Lights-France-NYC-World Trade Center-20151 World Trade Center via EarthCam

Here at Untapped Cities, we have strong ties to both New York City and Paris. As the founder of Untapped Cities, I was born in New York but lived in Paris in 2010, and my husband Augustin Pasquet, who manages partnerships and advertising for Untapped Cities, moved to New York City from Paris in 2012. Many of our contributors live in Paris and for many years we ran a subsite, Untapped Paris as well. This year, part of our team spent all of April and May living and working in Paris, and a large portion of August.

There is a kinship between New York City and Paris – so different physically, even culturally, but similar in spirit. When I was married, I thought long and hard about whether to change my last name. In the end, I kept both, and I’m glad because today I also feel French. It is with sadness that I see what people are willing to do to the places that so many call home, places that have such rich history and culture, whether New York City or Paris, or elsewhere. But we cannot succumb to fear. Cities like New York City and Paris must continue to be melting pots, to welcome the world to its doorsteps and to invite them in – porte ouverte.