cassandra-contributor profile-intern-untapped cities

This week we profile Untapped intern Cassandra Munoz, a Columbia University student who has contributed to our film locations column, written about yarnbombing, and the oldest surviving bars in NYC.

What’s your “day job”?

I am a full-time student.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?

Las Vegas has a lot of interesting places to visit on the Strip (by visit I mostly mean sneak into), but after living there for almost two decades things start to get old. One place I don’t think I will never get sick of is a restaurant called La Mexicana. I love the delicious food, the relaxed atmosphere, and how just by looking at the walls—which are covered with pictures of celebrities meeting the owner—I feel like I know everyone there. 

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

I really enjoyed doing a roundup of the ten oldest surviving bars in Manhattan. Their history also seemed to encourage a deeper attachment from patrons. That plus drinks made for a lovely combination. It also got me down to the Financial District for the first time and I was able to see how devastated the community had been left after hurricane Sandy. It was almost a year after the fact and most structures were still undergoing major repairs.

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

I remember this mostly because it happened recently, but I saw a brawl break out in the doorway of an Urban Outfitters on my way to take a photograph. There was a lot of screaming and pulling of their own hair. After about a second of a cop trying to intervene, the people ran away. It all happened so fast.

Another time I ran into HOTTEA in Little Italy, not long after I had written an article about him. It was really exciting to see how quickly the artist works.

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

Most surprising: There have been so many what?! moments during my internship that it is difficult to choose just one… I was floored when I found out about the website that collects pictures of urinals.

Most valuable: Seeing something created and sustained by someone following their interests has affected my mindset much more than I can say. I was also a terrible photographer when I came to Untapped. Not that I am the next Salgado now, but being taught to give the buildings some space to breathe and not overwhelm the shot really made a difference in my pictures.

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

My family goes to Durango, Mexico every summer. On the way from the main city to one of the many mountain towns there is a sizable Mennonite community that has a restaurant with some of the most delicious cheese I have every tasted. We stop there every single time. Another of my favorite places has been the Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium. I don’t think it is very Untapped, but it is so ridiculously beautiful.

I would really love to experience Marrakech or Carlsbad!

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

In the early 19th century, the street sanitation system consisted of pigs walking around cleaning up what they felt like consuming.

Best Celebrity Sighting: 
I once shared a flight with Jean Dujardin to Las Vegas. I had no idea who he was at the time, but I assumed he was famous because my friend’s mom started sobbing.

What are some of your favorite websites?

For street art I really like The Dusty Rebel, for random interesting news I go to Gizmodo every now and again, and for getting to know the city I rely on Untapped Cities!

Get in touch with Cassandra @cassmm.