Nancy-Li_Untapped Cities

What’s your “day job”?

I’m a full-time student majoring in East Asian Studies at Barnard.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?

This is a tough one! I’m not sure if this qualifies as “untapped,” but Riverside Park’s Cherry Walk has a great view of the sunset if you’re interested in “being one with nature” without leaving the city. There’s also the Hungarian Pastry Shop, which I love frequenting when I have spare time.

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

I really enjoyed working on the vintage photos post of Horn & Hardart’s 57th Street Automat. I’ve thought on more than one occasion that life would be so much more convenient if freshly prepared foods could be purchased through vending machines. Imagine my surprise when I discovered such a thing already existed!

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

About two months ago, I had to take photos for my Puns of Penn Station piece. Besides blocking the way for many riders and just generally feeling like a tourist with a huge camera, the experience was memorable because it was where I thought up the pun, “Pun Station.” I consider this pun among the best things I’ve come up with to date.

What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you learned during your internship?

Interning at Untapped gave me the opportunity to explore the off-beaten paths of the city and to hone my observation and research skills. I probably know more about New York now than I know about my hometown, Philadelphia.

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

While I was visiting Syracuse, my friend brought me to an enormous hill in Thornden Park to take in the view. I also loved its rose garden and amphitheatre, but I later discovered that, unfortunately, locals avoid the park because of its notoriously bad reputation.

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

That New York used to have traffic towers. It’s easy to take modern-day stoplights for granted because they’re everywhere, but finding out about their predecessors reminded me that even the most mundane things have an interesting history.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I’m a huge fan of all things spicy (yes– I’m one of those people who drown everything in Sriracha sauce). I’m not sure if this counts as crazy, but a few weeks ago I ate a small batch of chicken curry with three full habanero peppers in it. They may look harmless, but they’re actually the hottest peppers that you can find at your local supermarket. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

I met David Choi a few years ago. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I resembled Community’s Troy when he first met Levar Burton.