What a year it has been! The Untapped Cities team has done a lot of urban exploration this year, gained many new contributors, passed a million+ page views monthly starting in October and produced many behind-the-scenes tours for our community. We have a lot in store for you next year too – brand new tours, a podcast, and more fresh content.
As a look back, we’ve compiled this year’s most popular reads split into two categories: lists and non-list content because it’s always good to have the balance. We started Untapped Cities to produce original, inquisitive and fun content that would unveil another side to the cities we live in, and we hope in all that we produce, this remains the constant.
Without further ado, our top articles of 2015:
Our compilation of more than 10 of New York City’s indoor public spaces is really about New York City’s zoning code, which gave developer bonuses for the construction of privately owned public spaces managed by the developer rather than the city. But if you’re not an urbanism nerd, you can still appreciate these indoor civic spaces which range from a tropical getaway to a made-up avenue called 6 ½ Avenue, a series of privately owned public arcades through Midtown.
This article on unique coffee shops for design buffs in Manhattan was published in 2013, but is still one of the year’s most popular reads. As the story of New York City goes, a few of these places have either relocated or closed so we updated it for 2015.
Who doesn’t love the New York City subway system? Built over time, just like the city it serves, its underground is ripe with fun secrets, abandoned stations, and quirks. Discover the top 12 secrets of the New York Subway system. If you want even more about the subway, we have many fun facts about opening day of the subway in 1904 (like how 15 diamonds were lost!).
This year, Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young and contributing editor Laura Itzkowitz released the book, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants published by JonGlez which built upon this initial list. For hidden bars and restaurant enthusiasts, the book has nearly 90 locations. This first list of New York’s hidden restaurants, rated by Redditors as “solid” continues to be a crowd pleaser. For more, check out our first list of hidden bars in New York City, the 2015 update, and The Top 10 Hidden Restaurants in NYC: 2015 Edition.
Photograph via Wikipedia by
We know you just can’t get enough of abandoned subway stuff, so this year we expanded this original compilation from 7 subway stations to 20, which include stations with abandoned levels and platforms. This is one of the most comprehensive guides you’ll find out there, with most of the stations traversed by our own explorers.
Macarons have a staying power beyond what we even anticipated ourselves. Luckily, we tried out all the macarons on this list and can attest that they’re tasty. Some you can even get in a cat cafe.
Sometimes people write us about this article, saying we forgot some hidden bars off this list. But when we say underground bars and lounges, we mean literally underground because sometimes its fun to be both hidden and below the city’s streets.
3. Art Installations Not to Miss in NYC Each Month
This year, we started compiling the outdoor art exhibits that we thought readers shouldn’t miss in New York City each month. Then as the weather got cooler (kind of) we started including great urbanism exhibits in the mix too. Here’s the latest list of 15 installations and urban exhibits not to miss in December 2015.
View of Grand Central Terminal from atop the glass walkways in the windows
Our Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central Terminal is written by Tamara Agins, a project manager with the New York City Department of City Planning who has an obsession with Grand Central. Every year, we find out more secrets and access new spots to photograph (like the view from the glass walkways (above) and the famous M42 basement. So even if you’ve read this piece before, there are more photographs now to revel in.
There are fewer and fewer places in New York City that are abandoned and easily explored, but this list still has a good number (though some are mid-conversion). Some locations we’re happy to have reported on good news this year: the partial rehabilitation of the Neww York State Pavilion in Flushing-Meadows, progress on the the Queensway, the Lowline, and a possible re-opening of North Brother Island to the public.