Nina Stoller-Lindsey-Untapped Cities-Diner en Blanc

This week we profile Untapped Cities’ Director of Events, Nina Stoller-Lindsey

What’s your “day job”?

I’m a freelance communications and content strategist. I also write for Time Out New York, mostly about public art, architecture, and design, in addition to a few other publications.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city? 

The Engelhard Court in the Metropolitan Museum’s American Wing. I just finished planning an Untapped Cities tour of the room for November 9th, so I’ve been reminded of how much I love it. It’s my go-to spot when I reach my saturation point for art-intake and need an intermission. The vast open space and exquisite natural lighting are somewhat of a rarity in a museum that has 15 mind-bafflingly brilliant works packed into every corner.

I also love the decorative and architectural elements—designs by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Comfort Tiffany, which we’ll be examining on November 9th. One of my favorite sculptures, “The Vine,” is also in that room. The nymph-like subject drapes a vine around herself, spiraling her back and torso in a way that reminds me of Paul Taylor’s choreography. (I used to be a dancer and his vocabulary was my favorite way of moving).

What’s the most memorable thing that happened while at Untapped Cities?

I attended this year’s Dîner en Blanc with a table of Untapped Contributors. It was in Bryant Park and the back of the New York Public Library was gorgeous at night; we had spectacular views of the reading room’s ornate ceilings. It was weirdly thrilling not knowing where we were going and to end up in this space most of us had been to a million times but had never encountered in this way; covered in white, Bryant Park felt completely new. Even with 4,000 people, the evening had this wonderful, welcoming, if temporary, feeling of community. It’s not hyperbole when I say that it was completely magical.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned while at Untapped Cities?

I’m in the process of planning tours of parks, waterfront spaces, and buildings affected by Sandy (They’ll take place this winter in conjunction with an exhibit opening in downtown Brooklyn.) I’ve been really struck by the amount of work that goes into making our public spaces resilient and sustainable, work that goes unnoticed by most of us. Bioswales, comprehensive systems for stormwater management, photovoltaic cells—these are easily lost on the untrained eyes of anyone who isn’t an architect, landscape architect, or urban planner. But as climate change and extreme weather become more and more our reality, these elements will be increasingly necessary. I think it’s important for the general public, and not just those in urban design professions, to understand the work that goes into making our cities safe and livable in the face of these threats.

What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?

London’s Westminster Abbey. I was an English major in college, so I loved Poets’ Corner, a section of the church where the authors of about half the works I’ve written papers about were buried. The building is majestic and imbued with so much history—it practically vibrates with stories. It feels mythic and mystical. I’d love to go to Buenos Aires and spend a lot of time watching (and learning!) tango

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

Willem de Kooning used to live in the building I grew up in. Rudy Burkhardt and Edwin Denby lived in the building next door. There’s a fairly famous Burkhardt photograph of Denby sitting on their rooftop and you can see our building in it.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

My college roommate and I turned down an invitation to a hotel-room party from LMFAO because we didn’t know who they were at the time. We had gone to Acapulco with some friends on our one and only spring break trip and the two of us were standing in the hotel lobby when two guys with crazy hair and zebra-print pants came over and started chatting with us. When the rest of our crew realized the opportunity we had allowed to elude them, I thought they were going to kill us.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

I saw Woody Allen at a performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company at City Center. Woody and Martha seem like a funny pair but one they certainly do share is a penchant for Greek tragedy. I think that moment was as thoroughly New York as it gets.

What are some of your favorite websites?

Grubstreet. Food52. The Sunday Routine series in the Metro section of the The New York Times—there are so many things I want to do in this city and I’m always trying to fit in more, so I have this weird fascination with how other people organize their time, particularly prominent New Yorkers.

Find out how to join the Untapped Cities team!