Janos Marton and Bill de Blasio Untapped Cities by Janos MartonJanos with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, bonding over a favorite music album

Today, we profile longtime Untapped Cities contributor Janos Marton, who also heads up the Today in NYC history series.

What’s your “day job”?

I am the curator of Janos.nyc. I also keep myself busy meddling in local politics.

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped?

My 2012 piece on the Ellis Island South Side hospitals, for Untapped Cities’ campaign with Partners in Preservation. Touring those decaying buildings, it was hard to imagine that it was once the most cutting edge mass health-care facility in the world.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city? 

Sam’s Soul Food in the Bronx.

What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you’ve learned while at Untapped Cities?

How many crazy, audacious plans for this city never came to fruition. New York could use more people thinking big and imaginatively.

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

Good secrets are hard to keep in this world. My favorite spots in Nepal and Costa Rica aren’t untapped anymore! I’d love to see Mongolia soon.

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

In the 1950s shipping and manufacturing were the city’s two biggest economic engines. Now both are pretty much dead, but the city is still thriving. That’s pretty rare among cities, and a testament to New York’s constant reinvention.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Would have to think back to my early 20s. Either driving through a Kansas tornado or fighting in a minor league professional wrestling match.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

I was with Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young when we bumped into Clash guitarist Mick Jones backstage at a concert she was performing in. The Clash are my favorite band, so that was pretty awesome.

What are some of your favorite websites?

I have a pretty addictive personality, so I try not to get addicted to too many sites. My surfing will generally take me through sports, local politics, Twitter recommendations, Reddit and whatever friends are writing.

Find out how to join the Untapped Cities team.